SAN DIEGO—California-based Accelrys Inc. is extending itssoftware portfolio into the downstream pharmaceutical development space withthe acquisition of VelQuest Corp.
Accelrys is purchasing VelQuest for $35 million in a cashdeal that includes the assumption of all of VelQuest's staff. Based in Hopkinton,Mass., VelQuest will also be rebranded under the Accelrys name.
Accelrys President and CEO Max Carnecchia says theacquisition fits nicely with his company's growth strategy. He says Accelryscontinues to execute on its strategy of providing a broad, flexible solutionset for customers that depend on scientific innovation to bring new productsfrom lab to market more quickly and efficiently.
"Historically, Accelrys' portfolio of informatics productshas been focused
on the early phase R&D in the life-science markets," hesays. "VelQuest's products are focused squarely in the QA/QC segments of thecGMP life-science segments."
He adds that the acquisition broadens the company'smarketplace with best-in-breed products and an opportunity to bridge theR&D to manufacturing (QA/QC) technology transfer challenges of theindustry. The VelQuest products are "purpose-built" for the QA/QC lab and plantbatch record segments of the pharma/biotech arena, he adds.
"VelQuest's strong products and proven domain expertise incompliance-intensive laboratory operations expand our ability to meet ourlife-science customers' critical needs in late-stage development, qualitycontrol and production," he says. "So this is truly an additive technology forAccelrys, with a great opportunity to streamline the technology transfer fromproduct development into commercial production operations for the life-scienceindustry."
Moreover, the addition of the VelQuest products extendsAccelrys' reach directly into the cGMP quality space, he says.
"We plan on integration opportunities for the Symyx ELN byAccelrys and VelQuest SmartLab Lab Execution System to improve the technologytransfer challenges the pharma/biotech companies now face," Carnecchia says."In addition, the use of the VelQuest QC-based products in non-life-sciencemarkets now addressed by Accelrys offers significant growth opportunities."
Ken Rapp, VelQuest's president and CEO, will continue tolead Accelrys' new efforts in paperless analytical and quality operations forlife-science companies.
Rapp notes that VelQuest's Procedure Execution Managementproducts include SmartLab, SmartBatch and gmpLIMS. Its systems have beendesigned for analysts, reviewers and supervisors to manage the entire processof executing laboratory test procedures in a paperless environment whilemaintaining cGMP compliance requirements.
In addition to complementing Accelrys Pipeline Pilot andSymyx Notebook by Accelrys, the VelQuest systems reduce resources needed forpaperless analytical and quality operations, including analyst data acquisitionand documentation, data review, supervisor approval, QA investigations, auditsand releases.
Rapp says the synergies between Accelrys and VelQuestproducts and their critical roles in the development to commercializationphases of the pharmaceutical R&D process "offer customers a comprehensive,single-source informatics offering along the entire lab-to-plant value chain."
According to Rapp, some integration has already taken placebetween the VelQuest offerings and existing Accelrys solutions, opening thedoor to further synergies and downstream opportunities as a result of thisacquisition.
He says teaming up with Accelrys is a real win for thelife-science organizations served by VelQuest.
"As part of a company of Accelrys' size and scale, we are ina better position to serve the data management needs of our customers," hesays. "VelQuest will take advantage of an increased investment in productdevelopment and a customer support and deployment organization that iswell-suited to address the needs of large-scale, global organizations. Inaddition, with Accelrys' broad market reach, the utilization of VelQuest'sproducts beyond life sciences offers significant opportunities."
Carnecchia points out that Accelrys and VelQuest enjoycommon customers who have requested an integration of R&D workflows withQA/QC execution.
"We have already demonstrated our combined technologies atseveral of these global companies," he explains. "By combining our efforts,Accelrys will gain access to the cGMP quality operations, while VelQuest'sproducts and technologies will now gain access to research and developmentoperations. Our combined companies now provide a seamless innovative life-cyclemanagement platform to improve product development efficiencies andtech-transfer to manufacturing productivity that is unmatched in the industry."