Accelrys bulks up software offerings in $35M VelQuest buyout

With its R&D software facing lots of competition, Accelrys ($ACCL) made a move announced today to expand its menu of applications into the drug-manufacturing arena. The San Diego-based company is paying $35 million cash to scoop up VelQuest, a provider of software that enables drugmakers to manage quality-assurance (QA) and quality-control (QA) tasks in a paperless format.

Accelrys said it plans to keep VelQuest's management team as Accelrys plots its move into providing software to help life sciences companies maintain compliant manufacturing systems. Accelrys wants to aid the application of VelQuest's software, now used in the biopharma sector, in other industries in which it has sold technology. Accelrys sees the QA/QC software as complementary to its existing products for scientists.

Accelrys' latest acquisition shouldn't come as a surprise. The company has been searching for avenues to grow its business and indicated in November that a buyout was in the offing. The company's stock price fell 19% in 2011, and it's faced heated competition in the market for electronic laboratory notebook software from the likes of PerkinElmer ($PKI) and other players in the R&D software market. Accelrys has a track record of building up its business through acquisitions, including to July 2010 buyout of rival Symyx Technologies and the May purchase of Contur Software.

Accelrys CEO Max Carnecchia said in a statement: "With the acquisition of VelQuest, Accelrys continues to execute on its strategy of providing a broad, flexible solution set for customers that depend on scientific innovation to bring new products from lab to market more quickly and efficiently."

- here's the release