Founded: August 2004
Location: BioCity, Nottingham
Number of Employees: 60
Number of employees with PhDs: 50
Turnover (FY 2010/11): 3.76 million
Clients: Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and universities in the USA, Europe and UK
Sygnature Discovery is a leading provider of integrated drug discovery services. Founded in 2004 as Sygnature Chemical Services in BioCity Nottingham, Sygnature employs over 50 laboratory-based medicinal chemists and bioscientists in a modern, purpose-built facility. Sygnature helps its clients, located in the USA, UK and Europe, to develop the new medicines of tomorrow for diseases such as cancer, asthma, Alzheimers disease, serious bacterial infections, viruses etc. Most of Sygnatures scientists have PhDs and many have 10-22 years drug discovery experience with leading pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Merck. Hence, they are able to bring their considerable know-how and expertise to bear on a client's drug discovery project. Key areas of expertise include medicinal and synthetic chemistry, computer-based molecular modelling and bioscience. Sygnature Chemical Services was re-named Sygnature Discovery in September 2011.
Sygnature was founded by Dr Simon Hirst, a medicinal chemist by training. Simon gained his degree and PhD at the University of Nottingham, before undertaking post-doctoral research at the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, USA). His professional career was spent at AstraZeneca research and development Charnwood in Loughborough and OSI Pharmaceuticals in Birmingham and Oxford. However, being an ideas person, he felt constrained working for large pharmaceutical companies, so he decided to branch-out on his own and found a top class research services company 'Sygnature' in 2004.
Senior Management Team
Simon Hirst has been Sygnatures CEO for 7 years. The everyday management of the company is shared by Sygnatures Board: Dr Paul Clewlow, SVP, Business Development; Dr Jonathan Williams, Operations Director, and Dr John Slack, Non-executive Director.
Benefits of being based in Nottingham
Sygnature has been based in BioCity Nottingham since its foundation in 2004. BioCity provided a supportive environment to grow and the space for Sygnature to construct high quality laboratories to house its state of the art equipment. This set-up is hard to find outside of Oxford and Cambridge. In addition, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University have provided a pool of scientists to draw upon. Furthermore, Nottingham is a good place to live and offers a wide range of activities to Sygnatures employees.
Sygnature started with 5 staff in 2004. As of November 2011, the company employs over 60 people; many of whom are highly qualified and experienced scientists. Throughout the past seven years, Sygnature has been involved with groundbreaking research in partnership with universities in the UK and Europe, and biotechnology companies and major pharmaceutical companies in the USA, UK and Europe. The company has been a key SME in a European Union FP6-funded research programme focused on cystic fibrosis and three Wellcome Trust-funded projects directed towards neurodegeneration, spinal cord injury and severe pneumococcal infections. Sygnature occupies modern, purpose-built laboratories and offices on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Laurus Building in BioCity, in the centre of Nottingham. As of November 2011, our third laboratory is ready to occupy. It has the capacity to house 25 further scientists.
Plans for the Future
Sygnature has ambitions plans to continue its growth for the foreseeable future. With the addition of a Bioscience group to the company in August 2011, composed of a core of ex-AstraZeneca biologists, Sygnature is now undertaking fully-integrated research and development projects for its clients. This means that Sygnatures chemists design and then synthesise complex molecules, which are rapidly tested by the bioscientists for their effect on disease cell lines or cell signalling pathways. The biological data obtained is rapidly relayed to the chemists in order to help guide their on-going research and development strategy. As a complement to these laboratory-based capabilities, Sygnature also uses powerful computational techniques to design molecules which are able to dock into computer models of biological receptors on the cell surface or within the cell. These integrated projects, undertaken by Sygnature for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies around the world, offer the promise of improved medicines to treat a wide array of diseases where there is still a huge unmet medical need.
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