Nottingham life sciences firm agrees ‘significant’ private equity investment

Discovery building in Nottingham, headquarters of Sygnature Discovery

Sygnature Discovery, the Nottingham life sciences firm, has received a “significant” investment from Five Arrows Principal Investments, the European corporate private equity arm of Rothschild & Co.

Financial details have not been disclosed.

Sygnature operates from two state-of-the-art science facilities, at BioCity in Nottingham and Alderley Park in Cheshire, employing over 450 staff, most of whom are PhD-level scientists. The company has a presence in both the Boston area and South San Francisco in the US.

Sygnature’s CEO Simon Hirst said: “We are delighted to have Five Arrows as our chosen investor. Five Arrows has a strong track record in supporting healthcare companies to grow through organic means as well as through acquisition. They have, through Rothschild & Co, a unique and unrivalled platform for supporting their investee companies. With their support, we remain committed to being at the forefront of scientific innovation in drug discovery and to providing the highest quality of service to our rapidly expanding global client base.”

Sacha Oshry, managing director at Five Arrows, added: “We are thrilled to partner with Sygnature for the next phase of its journey. We greatly like the company’s science-driven ethos and unrelenting focus on customer service which together have established Sygnature as a global research partner of choice. We believe that Sygnature represents an exceptional platform in the drug discovery space and is well primed to capitalise on its position in the most attractive and growing segments of the sector. We look forward to working with Simon and his team to help the business achieve its full potential over the coming years.”

Sygnature’s existing private equity investor, Phoenix Equity Partners, is exiting as a shareholder, having supported the company since September 2017. Since Phoenix invested, Sygnature’s annual revenue has more than doubled and the number of employees has increased from 200 to 450. This growth has been driven both organically and via strategic acquisitions.

Kevin Keck and Barry Robinson, partners at Phoenix, issued a statement saying: “It has been a pleasure to partner with the Sygnature team and to support the company’s strong track record of growth. Sygnature is an exceptional business with a fantastic culture, committed to providing a world-class service to its clients. We have no doubt that Sygnature will continue to prosper, and we wish the management team and Five Arrows every success in the years to come.”

The corporate finance advisory team at Deloitte in the Midlands acted as exclusive lead financial advisors to the vendors, with Deloitte also providing tax advice. Legal advice to the vendors was provided by Eversheds Sutherland in Nottingham. Alantra acted as exclusive financial adviser to Five Arrows and Shoosmiths acted as legal advisor.

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