France’s Dassault Systèmes to Buy San Diego’s Accelrys for $750M

Xconomy San Diego — 

Dassault Systèmes, a French software developer specializing in 3D product design and product lifecycle management, has agreed to acquire Accelrys (NASDAQ: ACCL), the San Diego scientific software developer, for roughly $750 million in cash.

The acquisition extends Dassault Systèmes’ software lineup in a variety of product lifecycle management industries, including consumer packaged goods and food-and-beverage, with software Accelrys has developed or acquired for managing the lifecycle of scientific products made in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, chemicals, and energy industries.

The deal also is expected to enrich Dassault Systèmes’ molecular simulation capabilities, used in basic scientific research and discovery, manufacturing, and regulatory applications. Dassault Systèmes’ is a subsidiary of France’s Dassault Group conglomerate, and based in the suburbs southwest Paris, near Versailles.

With its offer, Dassault Systèmes also gains access to about 2,000 Accelrys customers, a list that includes many Fortune 500 companies—including Sanofi, Pfizer, GSK, AstraZeneca, Du Pont, Shell, BASF, P&G, Unilever, and L’Oréal.

Last week Accelrys hosted Martin Karplus, a Harvard University emeritus professor of chemistry, at its San Diego headquarters as part of its annual worldwide meeting. Karplus provided substantial expertise to Accelrys through his work in molecular modeling and simulation—including CHARMM, a molecular dynamics and analysis software package that is commercially available through Accelrys.

Martin’s work has enabled scientists to predict important molecular changes using computer models instead of experimentation, which can shorten the time it takes to commercialize new drugs.

In recent years, Accelrys also has been on an acquisition spree of its own. Just last month, Accelrys acquired Qumas, the Irish specialist in compliance and quality management software. Since then, Accelrys says its global workforce is now at 456, with 160 employees in San Diego.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of June, pending regulatory review and legal work.