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Accelrys on a quest
February 2012
by David Hutton  |  Email the author
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SAN DIEGO—California-based Accelrys Inc. is extending its software portfolio into the downstream pharmaceutical development space with the acquisition of VelQuest Corp. Accelrys is purchasing VelQuest for $35 million in a cash deal 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 the acquisition fits nicely with his company's growth strategy. He says Accelrys continues to execute on its strategy of providing a broad, flexible solution set for customers that depend on scientific innovation to bring new products from lab to market more quickly and efficiently.
 
"Historically, Accelrys' portfolio of informatics products has been focused on the early phase R&D in the life-science markets," he says. "VelQuest's products are focused squarely in the QA/QC segments of the cGMP life-science segments."  
 
He adds that the acquisition broadens the company's marketplace with best-in-breed products and an opportunity to bridge the R&D to manufacturing (QA/QC) technology transfer challenges of the industry. The VelQuest products are "purpose-built" for the QA/QC lab and plant batch record segments of the pharma/biotech arena, he adds.
 
"VelQuest's strong products and proven domain expertise in compliance-intensive laboratory operations expand our ability to meet our life-science customers' critical needs in late-stage development, quality control and production," he says. "So this is truly an additive technology for Accelrys, with a great opportunity to streamline the technology transfer from product development into commercial production operations for the life-science industry."  
 
Moreover, the addition of the VelQuest products extends Accelrys' reach directly into the cGMP quality space, he says.
 
"We plan on integration opportunities for the Symyx ELN by Accelrys and VelQuest SmartLab Lab Execution System to improve the technology transfer challenges the pharma/biotech companies now face," Carnecchia says. "In addition, the use of the VelQuest QC-based products in non-life-science markets now addressed by Accelrys offers significant growth opportunities."
 
Ken Rapp, VelQuest's president and CEO, will continue to lead Accelrys' new efforts in paperless analytical and quality operations for life-science companies.  
 
Rapp notes that VelQuest's Procedure Execution Management products include SmartLab, SmartBatch and gmpLIMS. Its systems have been designed for analysts, reviewers and supervisors to manage the entire process of executing laboratory test procedures in a paperless environment while maintaining cGMP compliance requirements.
 
In addition to complementing Accelrys Pipeline Pilot and Symyx Notebook by Accelrys, the VelQuest systems reduce resources needed for paperless analytical and quality operations, including analyst data acquisition and documentation, data review, supervisor approval, QA investigations, audits and releases.
 
Rapp says the synergies between Accelrys and VelQuest products and their critical roles in the development to commercialization phases 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 place between the VelQuest offerings and existing Accelrys solutions, opening the door to further synergies and downstream opportunities as a result of this acquisition.  
 
He says teaming up with Accelrys is a real win for the life-science organizations served by VelQuest.
 
"As part of a company of Accelrys' size and scale, we are in a better position to serve the data management needs of our customers," he says. "VelQuest will take advantage of an increased investment in product development and a customer support and deployment organization that is well-suited to address the needs of large-scale, global organizations. In addition, with Accelrys' broad market reach, the utilization of VelQuest's products beyond life sciences offers significant opportunities."
 
Carnecchia points out that Accelrys and VelQuest enjoy common customers who have requested an integration of R&D workflows with QA/QC execution. 
 
"We have already demonstrated our combined technologies at several of these global companies," he explains. "By combining our efforts, Accelrys will gain access to the cGMP quality operations, while VelQuest's products and technologies will now gain access to research and development operations. Our combined companies now provide a seamless innovative life-cycle management platform to improve product development efficiencies and tech-transfer to manufacturing productivity that is unmatched in the industry."
 
Code: E021210

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