Cadence Design Systems is to acquire privately held OpenEye Scientific Software.

The company is a provider of computational molecular modelling and simulation software that is widely used by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for drug discovery.

The addition of OpenEye’s technologies and experience accelerates Cadence’s Intelligent System Design strategy and expands its total addressable market (TAM), bringing Cadence’s computational software expertise to apply proven algorithmic, simulation and solver advances to life sciences.

Technological advancements, coupled with the rising demand for new drugs across a range of diseases, are driving increased demand for computational drug design. The growing utilisation of computational techniques in drug discovery for pharmacology, chemical synthesis and drug screening to study the 3D structure of molecules is a major factor fostering the growth of the global biosimulation market, which has an estimated TAM of $2bn and is predicted to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 15% over the next five years.

Biosimulations are a critical tool for pharmaceutical research as they provide atomic-level insight into molecular interactions, and there’s a growing demand for high-performance simulation of larger biological systems over longer time scales.

OpenEye has pioneered physics-based approaches and the cloud-native Orion software platform. The acquisition allows pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to benefit from more robust drug discovery solutions that combine OpenEye’s innovative molecular modelling and simulation software solutions for drug discovery with Cadence’s algorithmic and solver expertise, efficient large data management infrastructure, and AI/ML and cloud solutions.

OpenEye’s products are used by 19 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies globally as well as numerous biotechnology companies and academic institutions. Orion, OpenEye’s cloud-native software-as-a service (SaaS) platform, is growing rapidly as users embrace its flexibility and scalability to perform complex molecular calculations on a large scale.

“Drug discovery is an increasingly complex process that requires significant investment in research and development,” said Dr. Anirudh Devgan, president and CEO of Cadence. “The pending acquisition of OpenEye, with its scientifically tested methodologies and expertise, accelerates Cadence’s Intelligent System Design strategy with our entry into a new system domain of life sciences. Cadence’s deep computational software expertise drives further innovation in algorithms that enhance the reliability, efficiency and speed of molecular simulations.”

“We founded OpenEye to stretch the boundaries of what’s possible in computational drug discovery,” said Dr. Anthony Nicholls, CEO of OpenEye Scientific. “Our 3D search technology, programming toolkits, and more recently, our cloud platform, Orion, have led the industry for more than 25 years, and this opportunity to join with Cadence to pursue even greater scale and accuracy is simply amazing. We foresee a time when pharmaceutical design, no matter the modality, is predominantly computational. The realisation of that goal with our skills and Cadence’s resources and expertise is going to have a profound impact on human health.”

Cadence is set to pay approximately $500 million in cash for the company and the deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022.