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The Clinical Trials Industry’s Weekly News Update

Syngature expands global network with NuChem buy

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Sygnature Discovery said its decision to acquire NuChem Sciences supports their goal of becoming a global market leader.

The deal, of which financial details have not been disclosed, sees drug discovery firm Sygnature acquire Canada-based NuChem, one of North America’s biggest discovery contract research organizations (CROs).

According to Sygnature, the acquisition acts a competitive advantage for the firm as it grows its global footprint and operations for discovery opportunities in the North American market.

“Following the Five Arrows investment in Sygnature Discovery in August 2021, it has been the medium-term strategy to establish a footprint for Sygnature in North America,” Simon Hirst, CEO and founder of Sygnature, told Clinical Insider.

“The US represents our largest market, and proximity to our clients is an important aspect of this deal, along with access to talent and finding a partner with the right culture. After we identified NuChem as a high-quality team with a strong scientific reputation, both teams came to the view that this was the right time to do a deal. The position of each company was strong despite a challenging market and the growth plans we have put together indicated that we should move together now rather than wait.”

Sygnature said the deal will create a “global force”, which will deliver support to customer programs from target validation through to candidate selection.

“The overall strategy is a ‘best of both’ and we will be spending considerable resources over the next 6-12 months to bring the two companies together. Broadly we will bring to market one of the largest small molecule discovery offerings in the western world and ideally positioned to support pharma globally. The combined group will be able to flexibly resource and support discovery projects in a highly differentiated and focused manner using resources from either side of the Atlantic,” said Hirst.

NuChem has more than 300 employees across its locations in Montreal and Quebec City, Canada. The CRO will continue to operate from these sites to advance market expansion across North America.

This takes Sygnature’s headcount to over 1,000 members of staff but Hirst said there will be “little change” initially for most roles. However, new roles will be created “as we build the transatlantic teams and expand the resourcing model further. This will be an evolution rather than revolution, but new roles will be created within a few months.”


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