UCSF ChimeraX Commercial Licensing

UCSF ChimeraX and UCSF Chimera are two different programs and are licensed separately. Please note that UCSF Chimera is legacy software, meaning that it is no longer being developed or supported (details...). Commercial entities may license UCSF Chimera at their own risk.

Commercial licenses for UCSF ChimeraX and UCSF Chimera are nonexclusive, nontransferable, and last for 3 years from the date of issuance. No free trials are offered.

Please direct all commercial licensing inquiries to chimera@cgl.ucsf.edu. For questions unrelated to commercial licensing, please see the appropriate Contact Us page: [ChimeraX] [Chimera]

ChimeraX vs. Chimera:
ChimeraX and Chimera are different programs, with different interfaces and capabilities that overlap significantly, but not completely. ChimeraX is under active development and includes most Chimera features (with more to come, see the missing features list). It also has several completely new tools and other major advantages, including better performance on large data and modern software frameworks that extend its life far into the future. By contrast, Chimera has reached end-of-life and is no longer being developed or supported. Further, Chimera tools that rely on web services may stop working entirely because the infrastructure they depend on is obsolete (details...). For lists of the tools and commands in each program, see the respective User Guides: [ChimeraX] [Chimera]

Licensing Costs:
These non-refundable fees are assessed per site and do not include a company's affiliates or subsidiaries. Each company site, affiliate, or subsidiary must acquire a separate license. The licenses last for 3 years from the date of issuance. Currently developed software:

Legacy software (deprecated):

Licenses are assigned to specific named individuals, rather than floating among a larger set of people. For a given user based at a given site, however, there are no restrictions on the number of downloads during the 3-year period of the license; the user could have installations on multiple computers and/or different versions of the program on the same computer (production release, different daily builds, etc.). It is possible to reassign the license to a different user if, for example, someone leaves the company, but we require notification (chimera@cgl.ucsf.edu) of changes in the assigned user (1-user) or primary user (6-user or unlimited users). For a 6-user license, the company is responsible for maintaining its own list of the assigned individuals and ensuring that the number does not exceed six, but we do not need notification unless the primary user is changed.

License Agreement Process:

** We apologize that due to circumstances beyond our control (departmental and university-level staffing shortages), responses to queries and processing of commercial license requests may be slow.**
  1. If your company is interested in pursuing a license agreement, please complete this form to begin the process. Please complete all fields. A PDF of the license agreement with this information along with a quote will be sent to the primary point of contact included on the form.


  2. After receiving the quote, the client (you or other company representative) should generate and send a purchase order to chimera@cgl.ucsf.edu.

  3. We will invoice the client under the purchase order.

  4. Client should send payment via ACH or bank wire transfer (checks are not accepted) and notify chimera@cgl.ucsf.edu. Instructions can be found on page 2 of all invoices. Please be sure to include your invoice number on the reference/memo field to help expedite posting of your payment to your order.

  5. After we confirm receipt of payment, the license key and software download instructions will be be emailed to the primary user, who is then responsible for sharing them with the other users (if any) covered by the license. The license key will expire no less than 3 years from the date of issuance, even if that is significantly later than the “effective date” in the license agreement. To avoid gaps in availability, a license can be renewed by contacting us to extend the agreement and submitting payment to obtain a new key before the previous one expires.

System Requirements:
Downloads are available for recent versions of the Windows and macOS operating systems and some Linux distributions; other versions may not be supported. Chimera and ChimeraX are graphics-intensive programs intended for local, interactive use. We do not provide support for using them on compute clusters or virtual machines, or for remote display or remote rendering (details...).

Revised 12-Jan-2023