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April 12, 2010
Volume 88, Number 15
p. 6
Article appeared online April 5, 2010

Accelrys, Symyx Sign Merger Deal

Informatics: Scientific software firms combine to create synergies and growth

Ann M. Thayer

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

Accelrys and Symyx Technologies have agreed to merge and form a scientific software company with a projected $170 million in annual sales. The headquarters of the yet-to-be-named firm will be 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.”

The merger will bring together largely complementary product lines across chemistry, biology, and materials science. Accelrys focuses on computer modeling and simulation products, whereas Symyx’ strengths lie in cheminformatics and electronic lab notebooks. The firms 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, now known as FreeSlate.

Accelrys and Symyx expect to reap $10 million to $15 million in annual cost savings by merging. 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.

The new company will be a leader in the scientific software market, says Lawrence S. Schmid, CEO of Los Angeles-based research firm Strategic Directions International. The market has been soft recently, and the companies needed to respond, he adds. “I think this is a good move that will strengthen their position.”

Prior to the announcement, the two firms had a combined market capitalization of about $335 million. After an exchange of stock, each group of Accelrys and Symyx shareholders will own about half of the new company. Carnecchia will serve as CEO, and Symyx CEO Isy 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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