Accelrys, the California-based scientific business software maker that established a foothold in Central Massachusetts late last year when it acquired VelQuest, will move the subsidiary to Milford later this year, according VelQuest's founder, who continues to run its area operation.
Ken Rapp, who is now managing director of analytical development and quality solutions for Accelrys, said the more than 40 employees that work for him at the company's offices in Hopkinton will move seven miles up Interstate 495 to 20,000-square-foot offices in Milford, which are twice as big as the company's Hopkinton offices. The new location will act as a northeast hub for Accelrys.
"The new office has a stellar training facility for customers and a customer center for visitors to come and learn about our technologies," Rapp said.
Greater Boston Commercial Properties, which represented Accelrys in the lease negotiation, said despite a relatively high amount of vacant office space along the 495 corridor, the 9 Industrial Road property in Milford was the only building that could offer the contiguous, first-class office space Accelrys wanted.
Asked if the company considered property in the tech-heavy Boston area during its search, Rapp said he wanted to stay near 495.
"It's really based on our success being here," he said. "There's a hub of laboratory suppliers right in the 495 belt."
As Rapp describes it, Accelrys' $35-million acquisition of VelQuest provided Accelrys with a way to keep customer through the entire product development cycle.
"Accelrys has historically been focused on scientific innovation, where VelQuest was focused on business process management," he said.
Rapp and his team make software that can be installed on commercially available tablet computers to automate data capture processes that are still paper-based in many labs, he said.
Customers include Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly and Astra Zeneca, among others, he said.
Products include The SmartLab gmpELN Electronic Lab Notebook system, SmartLab IDS and SmartBatch EBR.
Rapp compares the products to inventory management systems used in retail stores, which use bar codes and scanners to automate record-keeping.
Going paperless helps labs be more efficient and reduce development cycle times, he said. But perhaps most important in the food and drug industries, which are heavily regulated, is that the software helps reduce compliance problems.
"It reduces risk, adds speed and frees up time for people to do a better job," Rapp said.