Accelrys-Symyx Merger: We Welcome the Churn!

Symyx-Accelrys merger

 

The recent merger between two of the largest players in the narrow preclinical drug discovery informatics space (Symyx and Accelrys) makes it timely to comment on merger and post merger opportunities and impacts:

  • The cost of developing and supporting traditional technologies (especially outside of the cloud where they must be deployed, updated, supported- and then re-deployed, re-updated, and re-supported), naturally creates strain on the limited numbers of buyers and sellers in this niche market. The merger of two “giants” complicates this strain, from legacy technology integration through to license and contractual management.
  • And yet, to maintain leverage, and not be played off each other as commonly happens with savvy buyers, there is some immediate benefit to the merged parties given the negotiating strength that comes with size.
  • Unfortunately, both for big pharma mergers and technology company mergers, the perceived or actual efficiencies carry significant corporate challenges (both for customers and suppliers).
  • This is a potential boon for companies like CDD (and others), both because of the great, experienced talent which may (or already has) become available. Mergers mix up the status quo, opening up new opportunities for those nimble enough to fill in the changing market niche.
  • Post-merger challenges are often greater than the actual merger itself. The “devil is in the details” and only time will tell. The incumbents have mature technologies and many advantages that come with a captive client base.

That said, during the period of integration and uncertainty it is a wonderful opportunity for buyers and sellers to explore and consider new technologies and services. Our hypothesis over the past 6 years is that a technology built in the cloud from day one inherently has a number of advantages. These include a faster rate of innovation, lower cost of delivery and support, and lower total cost of ownership. Also, an inherently collaborative platform is a better way to securely share data between projects and organizations – and comes with a constantly growing community of collaborative researchers rapidly co-evolving with software and data.

In short, it is an exciting and challenging time for the merging partners. But for the marketplace, it opens up opportunities for the open-minded customers and vendors. We welcome the churn!