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Elsevier Buys Aureus Sciences to Tap Into Medicinal Chemistry Market

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With its acquisition of Aureus Sciences, Elsevier is hoping to expand its suite of solutions for the drug discovery and development market into medicinal chemistry, where the company says there is a demand for high-quality data from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Elsevier purchased the privately-held French company this week for an undisclosed amount. Under its new ownership, Aureus Sciences will be part of Elsevier’s science and technology division.

Mark van Mierle, the managing director of Elsevier’s pharmaceutical and biotech group, told BioInform that Aureus’ assets will help Elsevier fill in an existing “gap” in its drug research and development portfolio — the need for a comprehensive repository of high-quality data specifically for medicinal chemists.

He said that Elsevier already services markets that are “adjacent” to the medicinal chemistry field and learned from its customers that there is a “high demand” for a tool that brings together data from disparate sources.

While Elsevier could have developed a resource for the market on its own, by purchasing Aureus, his firm benefits from its data-gathering efforts and will be able to bring a solution specifically for medicinal chemists to market quicker as a result, Van Mierle said.

The companies plan to launch a new medicinal chemistry solution that will combine content from both firms later this year.

Van Mierle said that the new tool will help users do things like create and train quantitative structure-activity relationship models in order to optimize drug compounds, among other activities.

There are also benefits to Aureus and its current customers.

Olivier Barberan, the company’s head of product development, explained that existing clients will have access to Elsevier’s sales and support force to help tackle projects that Aureus previously lacked the resources to handle.

He also told BioInform that these customers will have access to a larger pool of data for their projects; and that the acquisition will expose the company’s offerings to a much larger customer base than it had previously.

Founded in 2002, the company changed its name from Aureus Pharma to Aureus Sciences in 2011 to more accurately reflect its activities (BI 1/21/2011).

Aureus provides quantitative biological activity data for major therapeutic drug targets including G-protein coupled receptors, kinases, ion channels, proteases, and nuclear receptors.

Pharma and biotech researchers use its resources to identify promising compounds, repurpose existing ones, and identify targets with which new compounds might interact.

Under its new owners, Aureus will retain its staff of ten and will continue to operate out of its offices in Paris under its current name, although the new product will be sold under the Elsevier brand.

Meanwhile, Elsevier also plans to launch a new solution this year that will bring the fruits of its integration activities with Ariadne Genomics to market.

Elsevier bought Ariadne Genomics’ assets for an undisclosed sum in 2011 to complement its chemistry, pre-clinical and clinical workflow solutions (BI 12/9/2011).

Van Mierle said that the company will launch a new version of Pathway Studio in the next few weeks that will provide content and tools to help researchers model disease pathways.

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