Dassault Systemes' Biovia Is Poised to Capture PLM Life Science Market


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The unique combination of functions within Dassault Systèmes’ Biovia business unit could shift the competitive dynamics in the segment of the product life cycle management market focused on science-based topics.

News Analysis


On 21 May 2014, Dassault Systèmes announced its new Biovia business unit, which will focus on biological, chemical and material modeling, simulation, and collaborative R&D, laboratory and production solutions. Biovia is based on Dassault's bio-intelligence offerings and platform, and incorporates life sciences and material sciences applications from its Accelrys acquisition.


The newly formed Biovia business unit is the most significant life-sciences-focused investment that a major product life cycle management (PLM) software vendor has ever made. Dassault Systèmes created Biovia by rebranding its recently acquired Accelrys capabilities for R&D-oriented scientific modeling and informatics and combining them with relevant PLM, modeling and simulation tools that it already owns. Arguably, Dassault Systèmes now has the most extensive portfolio of life sciences capabilities serving the R&D and product commercialization needs of both medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Through Biovia, Dassault Systèmes has positioned itself to deliver value further up the value chain into R&D than any other PLM vendor. For example, Dassault Systèmes’ BioIntelligence consortia and “bio PLM” efforts are engaged in the life sciences R&D community beyond what Gartner has seen from any of Dassault Systèmes’ usual competitors.

Biovia should have a strong impact in the R&D space for pharmaceuticals, biotechnology firms and academic research institutions. Eventually, Biovia and its customers will produce virtual models that extend to patient-specific medicines, remedies and therapies for animals and humans.

While Dassault Systèmes’ efforts in this space are unique and extend outside the typical definition of PLM, the company must overcome significant barriers to succeed with Biovia:

  • Most companies face organizational and process challenges to adopt such a novel initiative to close the gap between R&D and product commercialization.

  • Development of high-fidelity biological models and simulating biological behavior are very difficult.

  • The informatics and data analysis functions require large information management investments and technology innovations.

  • The low returns of R&D investments in pharma at expiry of patents will inhibit any early, deep Biovia investment.

  • Biovia will first appeal to niche pockets of scientific R&D, research centers and medical centers of excellence. Most laboratories and scientific organizations will take a long time to assess and adopt a full Biovia offering.


Life sciences R&D and clinical IT leaders:

  • Evaluate Biovia as a strategic partner for developing new disease models and therapeutic approaches along technical, scientific and IT lines. Be prepared to contribute scientific and informatics IT resources to advance the platform.

  • Factor in the time it will take for Dassault Systèmes to integrate in the numerous platforms from the recent Accelrys acquisition. Over the next 18 months, monitor activities and request frequent updates on technical integration progress.

  • Explore the capabilities of PLM-based platforms for R&D, and address gaps in skill sets and process barriers before committing to a platform strategy.

  • Consider the investment in modeling and simulation education to succeed with such efforts. Most organizations will need to hire specialists with advanced degrees in bioengineering.

  • Task staff who handle tactical execution within scientific, laboratory and IT organizations with assessing the step-level process changes and determining how best to support the initiatives.

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