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We heard some interesting news last week in the Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS) space: QUMAS, a life sciences-focused EQMS solution provider based out of Ireland, was acquired by U.S. scientific software company Accelrys. Reported at $50 million, the buyout was one of several other strategic acquisitions of EQMS solutions providers we’ve seen in recent years.
Since 1994, QUMAS has positioned itself as one of the leading EQMS vendors for life science companies. It offers both on-premise and cloud solutions for compliance, quality management, collaboration, and document management. Accelrys delivers Scientific Innovation Lifecycle Management (SILM) solutions designed for scientists to facilitate product development at all phases of the process from ideation through research, development, manufacturing, and quality assurance, as well as out to the supply chain.
The Accelrys-QUMAS acquisition makes an interesting connection, infusing the benefits of EQMS’s standardized, centralized, and streamlined quality, risk, and compliance processes with many traditionally paper-based and manual laboratory processes that lack a strong connection to compliance and quality.
Last week we had the opportunity to speak with QUMAS on the acquisition. In this post, we’ll dive deeper into the reasoning behind it and also discuss what it means for life sciences companies.
Where’s the Connection Between SILM and EQMS?
The SILM solution from Accelrys offers a variety of laboratory, research, and manufacturing informatics solutions. In addition to investments in its existing solutions, Accelrys has made a number of other acquisitions in the past several years to round out its SILM capabilities. Among others in 2012 and before, the company picked up complementary vendors such as VelQuest, a laboratory informatics company, and ChemSW, an EH&S and chemical inventory management solutions provider.
Along with QUMAS, Accelrys plans to further extend its view of SILM to accelerate scientific innovation and improve productivity and compliance, enabling organizations to bring innovative new products to market more quickly and efficiently. The existing solution set combined with QUMAS capabilities will add a modernized layer of compliance, quality, and collaboration from product ideation through production.
With today’s increasingly global and competitive economic environment, along with the corresponding pressures to improve operating margins and need for getting products to market faster, the SILM-EQMS connection could be a crucial differentiator in the life sciences industry.
In Their Own Words
Earlier this week, Accelrys’ CEO, Max Carnecchia, commented on the QUMAS acquisition, saying “This is a natural complement to the scientific innovation lifecycle management activities that we’ve been laying down for the better part of three years.”
Carnecchia discussed three areas where he thinks QUMAS’ capabilities will make the most impact at Accelrys:
Automating compliance and quality in regulated environments: Many companies still rely on paper-based quality and compliance processes or are at the beginning stages of automating them. EQMS functionality such as document control is important for highly regulated industries where changes to SOPs or training need to be rapidly communicated. Additionally, automating the CAPA process, one of the greatest culprits for citation in life sciences, will mitigate considerable quality risk.
Connecting science to the business: By connecting processes, partners, people, and data across the organization through an integrated digital environment users will benefit from reduced cycle times for bringing new products to market as well as a reduction in the time and capital resources required to do so. The automation of business processes also delivers benefits to both internal and external auditability.
Supporting the extended value chain: As the world becomes more global, reliance on and collaboration with external partners is becoming a business standard. The ease of integration provided by EQMS, coupled with QUMAS’ cloud delivery model will increase the value of relationships with contract researchers and manufacturers, as well as joint venture partners.
From the QUMAS side CEO Kevin O'Leary also shared his thoughts on the acquisition. He said, “Accelrys and QUMAS solutions together connect science and business, enabling our customers to take a major step forward in accelerating innovation, speeding up time-to-market and improving quality, compliance, and competitiveness."
The Impact on Customers and the Broader Life Sciences Market
As previously mentioned, no immediate changes will be made in the QUMAS or Accelrys product lines. Contacts at QUMAS noted that the company will remain independent throughout most of 2014. This soft approach to integrating the two solutions will help to avoid distractions and allow the company to focus on maintaining its customer and financial growth. This is a positive, considering that we’ve seen a number of acquisitions where once successful and growing companies get lost in the larger corporate entity.
At this point the QUMAS solution is being made available to existing Accelrys customers. Over the next year, QUMAS and Accelrys will be working to develop a strategic plan for integrating the two systems. Upon initial analysis, LNS Research sees the Accelrys acquisition of QUMAS being complementary of current capabilities and furthering the vision of integrated processes from scientific discovery through manufacturing. The challenge will likely be in the medium-to-long-run with integrating the now multiple acquisitions and not losing momentum or the vision of how quality and compliance can be a connecting force across the value chain.
Further analysis of QUMAS and the acquisition will be published in the 2014 EQMS Solution Selection Guide, and LNS' most recent in-depth analysis can be found here.
Those are our thoughts on the QUMAS-Accelrys acquisition. If you’re a QUMAS or Accelrys customer or are evaluating either solution, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below or tweet to use @LNSResearch.
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