Sygnature Discovery, the leading provider of integrated drug discovery services, 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 is a world-class provider of outsourced drug discovery services to leading pharma and biotech companies. The business operates from two state-of-the-art science facilities in the UK, at BioCity in Nottingham and Alderley Park in Cheshire, employing over 450 staff, most of whom are PhD-level scientists. Additionally, the company has a presence in both the Boston area and South San Francisco in the US. Sygnature provides integrated drug discovery and preclinical services to clients across eight key therapeutic areas, including oncology, neuroscience and inflammation & immunology.
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 provide the highest quality of service to our rapidly expanding global client base.”
Sacha Oshry, Managing Director at Five Arrows remarked: “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 impressive growth has been driven both organically and via strategic acquisitions.
Kevin Keck and Barry Robinson, Partners at Phoenix, commented: “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.
About Sygnature Discovery
Sygnature Discovery is a leading independent integrated drug discovery and non-clinical services company. Private equity-backed since 2017, the company operates fully enabled research facilities in Nottingham and Alderley Park, UK, housing nearly 400 research scientists (over 80% of whom hold a PhD), and has an office presence in Cambridge, MA, and South San Francisco, CA, in the US.
Their experienced drug-hunters possess all the professional skills and know-how required to undertake the most demanding of research programmes, and drive them from target validation through hit identification, hit-to-lead and lead optimisation to pre-clinical development candidate. Sygnature’s in vivo pharmacology arm was formed by the incorporation of RenaSci, acquired in 2018, into Sygnature’s fully integrated drug discovery platform. In 2020 Sygnature added to this with the acquisitions of in vivo oncology firm Alderley Oncology and DMPK provider XenoGesis.
Since 2011, 34 compounds discovered by Sygnature for customers have entered pre-clinical development and, so far, 17 of these have progressed to clinical trials (Phases I, II and III). In 2017, Sygnature Discovery received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade, and in the last year has won both the Medilink Outstanding Achievement Award and the Bionow Company of the Year Award.
For further information, visit www.sygnaturediscovery.com
About Phoenix Equity Partners
Phoenix Equity Partners is a private equity investor in medium-sized, UK-based companies. Founded in 2001, the firm has successfully invested more than £1.2bn in over 50 companies, across a wide range of sectors, backing entrepreneurs and management teams with bold plans to build great businesses.
Phoenix has a successful track record of supporting healthcare businesses to achieve substantial growth. This includes Rayner Surgical Group, a pioneer in the development and manufacture of intraocular lenses, and Porthaven, an owner and operator of premium quality care homes. Sygnature is the third exit from Phoenix’s 2016 Fund, following the sale of Travel Chapter and Rayner Surgical Group. Other recent investments by Phoenix include Setfords, a legal services platform, and Universally Speaking, a video-game testing and quality assurance provider.
For further information, visit www.phoenix-equity.com
About Five Arrows Principal Investments
Five Arrows Principal Investments (Five Arrows) is part of the European private equity arm of Rothschild & Co’s Merchant Banking business. Merchant Banking manages over €16.2bn globally which includes approximately €4.1 billion dedicated to corporate private equity, as well as a series of funds dedicated to senior and junior credits, primary and secondary fund investing and co-investments, with offices in Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles and Luxembourg.
Five Arrows focuses on investing in middle-market companies with highly defensible market positions; strong management teams; business models with high visibility of organic unit volume growth and strong free cash flow conversion; and multiple operational levers that can be used to unlock latent value. Sectors are limited to data and software, technology-enabled business services and healthcare.
For more information: www.rothschildandco.com/en/merchant-banking/corporate-private-equity
Drug Discovery & Development,
Corporate, Finance & Investor