Drugs discovery firm swoops in deal for cancer treatment specialist

Alderley Oncology team Lorraine Mooney, Jane Kendrew, Emily Harris

Sygnature Discovery, an independent integrated drug discovery and pre-clinical services company, has acquired Cheshire-based Alderley Oncology, for an undisclosed sum.

The Nottingham-based drugs discovery venture says the deal is further strengthening its oncology and immuno-oncology capabilities.

Alderley Oncology, a focused in vivo pharmacology service provider which undertakes high quality in vivo services for biotechs, pharmaceutical companies and academics, was run by Bruntwood SciTech, owners of Alderley Park, the UK’s largest single site life science campus.

The Alderley team offers a variety of in vivo services for cancer drug discovery.

The acquisition will add significant in-house expertise at Sygnature in the design, conduct and interpretation of pivotal oncology in vivo pharmacology experiments that help identify promising pre-clinical candidates.

These assessments also help define the path to the clinic and identify the anticipated patient populations who might best respond to treatment.

Alderley Oncology was established by Jane Kendrew in 2017.

Jane and the team have a wealth of experience in the field, much of it gained at AstraZeneca.

“We are delighted to be joining Sygnature Discovery,” she said.

“We look forward to working with them as part of the wider team serving the oncology drug discovery community, and patients living with cancer.”

Dr Stuart Onions, director of research management at Sygnature, said: “We are pleased to welcome Jane and her colleagues.

“The team’s expertise in oncology and immuno-oncology in vivo models will significantly enhance our integrated oncology provision, delivering further value to our integrated projects for clients and, importantly, allow us to more efficiently and effectively deliver potential new therapeutics into pre-clinic development.”

The deal complements the 2018 acquisition of Nottingham-based RenaSci, which added complementary in vivo expertise in abuse and dependence, metabolic diseases, CNS disorders, and liver and kidney disease to Sygnature’s in vitro services.

The company is now able to offer its clients a full suite of in vitro and in vivo laboratory assays and considerable intellectual input in cancer drug discovery, too. It also expands Sygnature’s existing footprint at Alderley Park, where it currently has part of its DMPK department.

Sygnature chief executive, Dr Simon Hirst, added that the new capabilities will help the company build on its track record of success for clients: “The acquisition of Alderley Oncology expands and enhances our drug discovery services portfolio, and further boosts our ongoing investments in oncology.

“We have already delivered five oncology pre-clinical candidates for clients.

“Sygnature has an expanding portfolio of integrated programmes in oncology and immuno-oncology with clients in the USA and Europe. The added expertise gained from Alderley Oncology will greatly assist in advancing these projects into pre-clinical development.”

Dr Kath Mackay, managing director of Bruntwood SciTech-Alderley Park, said: “We’re really proud of the amazing work Jane and her team have delivered over the last three years to create Alderley Oncology and grow it into a successful business.

“Now is the time for it to scale with the support of Sygnature and accelerate its growth, so that it can play an ever more critical role in supporting UK and global oncology development.”