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April 5, 2010
Updated for print April 12, 2009, p. 6

Accelrys And Symyx Sign Merger Deal

Informatics: Scientific software firms combine to find synergies and growth

Ann Thayer

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Symyx
Scientific software needs are expected to grow in R&D

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Accelrys and Symyx Technologies have agreed to merge and form a new scientific software company with about $170 million in annual sales. It will be headquartered at Accelrys' home base in San Diego.

Combining will help the companies better address changing customer needs, according to Accelrys CEO Max Carnecchia. Scientific R&D organizations are being challenged to increase productivity in the face of budgetary pressures, restructurings, and other shifts in their work processes, he explains. "New software solutions are urgently required to address these fundamental changes."

Working as one operation will allow the firms to create "more agile, flexible, and open scientific R&D environments," adds Symyx CEO Isy Goldwasser. The new company will be able to offer scientific data management, decision support, and analytics across chemistry, biology, and materials science, he adds.

The merger will bring together almost entirely complementary product lines. Accelrys focuses on computer modeling and simulation products, whereas Symyx' strengths lie in cheminformatics and electronic laboratory notebooks. The executives expect these areas to experience double-digit annual growth over the next few years.

In pursuit of such growth, Symyx decided last month to become a pure-play scientific software company by spinning off its high-throughput experimentation equipment business to a group of managers and employees. It kept a 20% stake in a new firm, now known as FreeSlate.

Accelrys and Symyx expect to reap $10 million to $15 million in annual cost savings. The new company will have more than 1,350 customers, including 29 of the top 30 biopharmaceutical companies, all five top chemical firms, a number of U.S. government agencies, and many universities.

Prior to the announcement, the two firms had a combined market capitalization of about $335 million. After an exchange of stock, Accelrys and Symyx shareholders will each own about half of the new company. The merger is expected to be completed by the end of June. Carnecchia will serve as CEO, while Goldwasser will have a transitional role in the new company.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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