PE-backed drug discovery firm swoops for Scottish rival

Dr Simon Hirst

Nottingham-based drug discovery company Sygnature Discovery has completed its second swoop since receiving private equity backing.

The deal to acquire Glasgow-based research institute SB Drug Discovery is expected to bolster both firms’ market leading capabilities and follows Sygnature’s acquisition of Peak Proteins in April 2022.

The BioCity-based business received investment from Five Arrows Principal Investments – the European corporate private equity arm of Rothschild & Co – in June 2020.

The acquisition of SB Drug Discovery is Sygnature’s fifth in five years, with previous purchases including RenaSci in 2018, Alderley Oncology in 2020 and XenoGesis the same year.

Sygnature Discovery’s CEO, Dr Simon Hirst, said: “The acquisition of SB Drug Discovery is a great addition to the services Sygnature Discovery offers its customers on our journey to become the world’s leading drug discovery partner.

“This is an exciting step forward, forming a strong partnership with a like-minded company that complements Sygnature’s existing services.”

Dr Ian McPhee, scientific director at SB Drug Discovery, said: “Having previously collaborated with Sygnature Discovery to access our ion channel expertise, it became apparent to them that our breadth of capabilities reached far beyond ion channel electrophysiology, to areas including cell line generation, screening and inflammation.”

He added: “Our company values and goals fit perfectly and we are delighted to become an integral part of the Sygnature Group.”

Sygnature employs over 600 people and has facilities in Alderley Park and Macclesfield.

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