Accelrys CEO on Dassault Acquisition

January 31, 2014

By Allison Proffitt 
January 31, 2014 | Yesterday, Dassault Systèmes, a Paris-based company focused on Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), announced its intention to acquire Accelrys for approximately $750 million. 
Max Carnecchia, CEO of Accelrys, spoke with Bio-IT World this afternoon to give the announcement some context.
On Dassault Systèmes: “They are the second largest software company in Europe behind SAP. For the last 30 years, they have been really inventing and leading in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). They are the largest PLM provider in the world per the analyst community…They’ve got about 11,000 employees, the largest population base is here in the United States even though they are a French organization , revenues just under $3 billion in 2013… Over the last 30 years they’ve been helping organizations manage new product introduction from early concept—product ideation—on through to the delivery into the market, not just commercialization but the follow into the market to ensure sales and marketing success.”
On the shared vision for Accelrys and Dassault: “While they’ve got the overarching product life cycle management system to collaborate securely in a very global and complex supply chain, what they haven’t had historically is the deep scientific knowledge of biology and chemistry, which the life science organizations require. And that, of course, is where we live… The vision that we share is marrying the deep scientific heritage of Accelrys around informatics and in silico modeling and simulation with the overarching management of the end to end process that would come from Dassault that would help organizations such as Sanofi, or Merck, or Johnson & Johnson, or Amgen as they go through a very gut-wrenching and far-reaching transformation of scientific research, development, and commercialization.” 
On the relationship between Accelrys and Dassault: “For the past three or four years we’ve worked together for a number of common customers. An easy example would be Proctor & Gamble… Proctor & Gamble has made a very significant investment in Dassault to [digitize their processes] and along the way, they’ve made a significant investment in Accelrys in terms of automating their labs using our electronic laboratory notebook. They’re using us in silico with our modeling and simulation tools. They use us with Pipeline Pilot and many of the scientific predictive analysis they do when researching new discoveries… We’ve worked with [Dassault] over the past 2-3 years to bring integrations between our two products to organizations such as P&G. So we’ve been able to prove the concept if you will... This started to really heat up over the course of the past 18 months, culminating in what was announced yesterday.” 
On Accelrys’ fit in the Dassault company: “Dassault is a business of a number of different business units focused on different vertical industries. What’s been expressed to us is that they will use Accelrys—and the entire team—as the cornerstone of a group focused on what they’re referring to as the ‘Life Industries’ [including environmental health, sustainability, life sciences, pharma, biotech, CROs, medical devices, etc.].” 
“We all recognize that the life science community—for the better part of almost a decade now—is undergoing some massive transformation as a result of the blockbuster drug model winding down… We’re watching these organizations change their business model and take different approaches to how they want to go forward. Sanofi is doing it differently from how Abbott is approaching it is different from how Novartis is approaching it. But they’re all changing their business models to adapt to the changing market climate. We see our combination with Dassault as a way to bring to them the next generation of scientifically-aware technology capabilities that they’re going to need.”
On existing Accelrys products: “We will continue to use and maintain and develop and expand the products that we’re in the market with today, so there will be no changes there. But we will augment those by being able to use the products, capabilities, and solutions of Dassault to either accelerate our development or expand the capabilities of what we can bring to those customers.”
On location and name: “The intent is for everybody to stay where they are, no moving. The headquarters of the business unit will be here in San Diego, at least for the Americas. In Europe that’s Cambridge, UK and in Asia Pac that’s Tokyo, Japan. The establishment of this business unit, or what they internally refer to as a brand has not been finalized. We anticipate the deal will close about 60-90 days from now. On closing, we will launch and announce the name of the new brand. It’s likely that the name Accelrys will go away, but I can’t tell you at this point what the new name will be.”