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July 2012
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author


SAN DIEGO, Calif.—Accelrys Inc., a scientific enterprise R&D software and services company, has purchased the web-based Hit Explorer Operating System (HEOS) from SCYNEXIS Inc.
The HEOS purchase is the final phase of a relationship that stretches back a half-dozen years and evolved into a strategic agreement that began in 2011, when Accelrys became a HEOS reseller as a key offering within Accelrys' cheminformatics suite of software applications.
Cloud-based HEOS enables more efficient and streamlined drug discovery collaborations, particularly for organizations leveraging academic departments, research institutes and contract research organizations in externalized R&D projects. Enabled by Accelrys applications, HEOS is a proven software as a service (SaaS) workspace that accelerates and streamlines collaborative drug discovery by providing secure, real-time access to chemical registration, biological assay results, computational and visual analytics, safety assessment, pharmacokinetics data and other project information in the cloud with minimal IT overhead and effort.
In addition to being attractive to Big Pharma, which increasingly prefers to outsource elements of the discovery and development process, HEOS can be brought up in extremely challenging environments—Africa, for example—in as little as 24 hours, with minimal training, says Accelrys President and CEO Max Carnecchia.   "With little IT support needed," Carnecchia points out, "rare and neglected diseases can be supported in parts of the world that lack facilities and bandwidth."  
As is true in general of SaaS configurations, sign-up and log-in can happen within 24 hours. To provide a secure, high-throughput hosting facility, Accelrys is partnering with British Telecom, which currently maintains cloud-hosting facilities in 200 countries and has 500 employees dedicated to its life- sciences operation.  
Matt Hahn, Accelrys' senior vice president and chief technology officer, notes that as a cloud-based product, HEOS was of interest to Accelrys following the introduction of its Contur ELN earlier this year. Like HEOS, iLabber Cloud offers a rapidly deployable, zero-install, cloud-based ELN for groups with limited IT resources.  
SCYNEXIS will continue to operate as a contract research organization from its Research Triangle Park, N.C., headquarters. The HEOS product has existed within the company's firewall, Carnecchia notes, but will now be moved to its new host's facility. About a dozen SCYNEXIS personnel will join Accelrys and be responsible for the transition and ongoing operations from a new North Carolina facility. Carnecchia declined to cite a dollar value for the transaction.  
"HEOS supports an important new operating model for collaborating organizations that require secure, flexible information management and collaboration with global reach," says Carnecchia. "As many of our customers move to multisite, multicollaborator projects to accelerate innovation and reduce costs, we look forward to broadening the applicability and reach of HEOS as a secure, easy-to-use, cloud-based information management workspace for the wider scientific community."  
HEOS has already securely captured hundreds of thousands of compounds and millions of assay test results in a broad range of global pharmaceutical and biotechnology programs ranging from early discovery to preclinical projects. A worldwide network of organizations is currently using the system to capture, consolidate and harmonize data used in the study of neglected diseases.  
Accelrys' solutions are used by more than 1,300 customers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, energy, chemicals, aerospace, consumer packaged goods and industrial products industries. Accelrys employs more than 200 full-time doctoral scientists. The company's Accelrys Enterprise Platform provides a broad, flexible scientific solution optimized to integrate the diversity of science, experimental processes and information requirements across the research, development, process scale-up and early manufacturing phases of product development. By incorporating capabilities in applications for modeling and simulation, enterprise lab management, workflow and automation and data management and informatics, Accelrys enables its customers to organize, analyze and share data to enhance innovation, improve productivity and compliance, reduce costs and speed time from lab to market.  

Accelrys inks software-licensing agreement with Gulf Coast Consortia  
SAN DIEGO—Accelrys Inc. announced June 4 that it signed a five-year licensing agreement with the Gulf Coast Consortia (GCC) for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences to provide investigators in the GCC Chemical Genomics (GCC-CG) program with access to scientific software, services and training. The Accelrys software will be used to support multidisciplinary collaborative research and training programs for the treatment and prevention of diseases, including rare and undertreated cancers.  
Offered through the Accelrys Academic Program, the licensed software includes the scientifically enabled, enterprise-scalable Accelrys Enterprise Platform supporting multicenter, collaborative information sharing and scientific innovation across partnering research organizations. The system also includes Accelrys Pipeline Pilot (the platform's scientific authoring solution), the Cloud-based Accelrys HEOS drug discovery information management workspace, the Accelrys Discovery Studio modeling and simulation application and Accelrys Biological Registration software.
"Large, interinstitutional cooperatives focused on collaborative research and interdisciplinary training represent a new operating paradigm in academia today," said Accelrys Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Matt Hahn. "Accelrys' unifying Enterprise Platform defines a new standard in integrated research informatics for multicenter collaborations. The software package tailored for GCC and delivered through Accelrys' Academic Program provides immediate access to shared state-of-the-art solutions, enabling university partners to hit the ground running with project delivery."  
"Plug-and-play deployment and ease of use in a seamless integrated network requiring minimal support by internal resources were the driving factors that led our group to adopt Accelrys technology," said GCC-CG director and co-founder Dr. Peter Davies, professor and director of the Center for Translational Cancer Research's Institute of Biosciences and Technology at Texas A&M Health Center. "With upwards of 30 projects a year, we need to work together efficiently and generate results quickly with minimal time and resources spent on internal software development. The ability to create Pipeline Pilot Web applications that can be freely shared with other academic researchers inside or outside the consortia provides a significant collaboration and innovation benefit."
"For several years, our assay development efforts and screening program have always had a sizable high-throughput microscopy-based emphasis using Pipeline Pilot-based imaging tools. We are extremely pleased to now be able to integrate high-content analysis/screening data and reporting across the entire program using HEOS," said Dr. Michael Mancini, associate professor in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine, and co-founder/co-director of the GCC-CG.  
The mission of the GCC is to build and support interdisciplinary collaborative research teams and training programs in the biological sciences and apply the resulting expertise and knowledge to the treatment and prevention of diseases. The GCC brings together preeminent principal investigators from several world-renowned research institutions including founding members Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, the University of Houston, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.  
In addition to the GCC founding institutions, the GCC-CG includes the Methodist Hospital Research Institute, the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Institute for Drug and Diagnostic Development, Texas A&M Health Science Center's Institute for Biosciences and Technology, Texas Southern University and the University of Texas-El Paso.  
Code: E071210



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