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Discovery Building, Sygnature Discovery’s HQ, nominated for RICS Awards 2018, East Midlands

26th February 2018 – Nottingham, UK – The Discovery Building, Sygnature Discovery’s HQ, has been nominated for the RICS Awards 2018, East Midlands.

RICS is the global professional body promoting and enforcing the highest international standards in the valuation, management and development of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure.  With eight categories, the RICS Awards are the premier property and construction awards in the country. The RICS Awards recognise the most innovative projects in the region and their impact on local communities.  Hence, Sygnature Discovery is delighted to be housed in a statement building which is a key component in the regeneration of Nottingham Eastside and also the future of our company.

The RICS Awards 2018, East Midlands, ceremony will take place at the Nottingham Belfry hotel on 3rd May 2018.



Sygnature Discovery’s medicinal chemists design improved agents against RSV infection

20th February 2018 – Nottingham, UK – A recent publication in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s MedChemComm (MedChemComm, 2018, DOI: 10.1039/C8MD00033F ), highlights the significant contribution made by some of Sygnature Discovery’s medicinal chemists to the design of improved agents in the fight against infections caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).  The project was undertaken in collaboration with Pulmocide Limited, a company developing a range of first-in-class inhaled anti-infectives for the targeted treatment of life-threatening lung infections.

RSV is an enveloped RNA virus and is in the same family as the human parainfluenza viruses and mumps and measles viruses. RSV is one of the common viruses that cause coughs and colds in winter.  RSV usually causes mild respiratory infection in adults and children, but it can be severe in infants who are at increased risk of acute lower respiratory tract infection. RSV is the most common cause of bronchitis in children aged under 2 years.

Although in most case symptoms resemble the common cold, RSV can cause a severe or life threatening disease, especially in younger infants. Infection does not confer immunity however and continual re-infection throughout life is common. RSV is also increasingly recognised as a major contributor to excess winter mortality in the elderly in temperate climates, such as the UK. RSV outbreaks occur on a yearly basis (in the UK with a striking seasonality at the turn of the year).  Highly contagious, RSV transmission occurs by contact with infectious secretions via hand contamination and self-inoculation of the eyes, nose or mouth or contact with large droplets or aerosols or fomites.  More information on RSV may be found here.

Sygnature Discovery’s Chemistry department is one of the largest and most experienced in the UK pharmaceutical sector. Comprising 120 medicinal chemists, 80% of whom have PhDs, the department works with clients across the world from hit identification, through hit-to-lead and lead optimisation to pre-clinical development candidate.  Since 2011, 11 compounds invented at Sygnature for clients have entered clinical trials in healthy volunteers and patients.  More information on Sygnature Discovery’s Chemistry department may be found here.




Sygnature Discovery to co-host Predictive Toxicology in Discovery DMPK conference

7th February 2018 – Nottingham, UK – Private equity-backed Sygnature Discovery, the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated drug discovery resource and expertise, is to co-host a symposium in Predictive Toxicology in Discovery DMPK at BioCity Nottingham on 22nd March 2018.

This one-day meeting will provide a forum for the exchange of ideas between members of the DMPK and toxicology research communities. Talks from thought leaders in industry and academia will provide global perspectives on how predictive toxicology platforms have evolved and became key to the drug discovery and development process. A range of ‘hot topics’ will be discussed, with a key theme being the central importance of understanding and harnessing underpinning toxicology concepts. The emphasis will be on building dialogue between participants, who will range from experienced project/laboratory leaders to early-career researchers from industry and academic institutions. The meeting will offer a variety of talks complemented by short oral presentations and poster presentations, as well as plenty of opportunities for networking throughout.

To register for this event, just click here.  Registration is free for DMDG members.

Sygnature Discovery team in the final of the 5th National RSC/SCI Retrosynthesis Competition

17th January 2018 – Nottingham, UK – A team of Sygnature Discovery chemists has made it to the final of the 5th National RSC/SCI Retrosynthesis Competition in London on 16th March 2018.

This prestigious event will showcase the calibre of UK chemists from both industry and academia and provide a platform for them to demonstrate their retrosynthetic and forward synthetic prowess.  For many years, the UK has produced high calibre synthetic organic chemists, so the Sygnature team – known as “Mannich Black” – will be fighting it out with the creme de la creme of UK-based chemists.

Sygnature Discovery is the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated drug discovery resource and expertise.  Private equity-backed, Sygnature undertakes integrated drug discovery programmes for pharmaceutical and biotech companies located around the world.  Since 2011, 11 compounds invented at Sygnature for its clients have entered clinical trials (Phases I and II).

Sygnature Discovery’s chemistry department employs 120 medicinal/synthetic chemists (80% with PhDs), making it one of the largest and most experienced chemistry departments in the UK pharmaceutical sector.

Sygnature Discovery at BioJapan 2017 – Participating in UK Department of International Trade Mission

11th October 2017 – Yokohama, Japan – Sygnature Discovery, the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated drug discovery resource and expertise, is participating in BioJapan 2017 from 11th – 13th October 2017 in Yokohama.  Sygnature is part of a UK Department of International Trade (UK DIT) Mission and is located on the UK Pavilion (Booth No. C-48).

The Sygnature Discovery BioJapan team is being led by Dr Steve Young, VP, Business Development.  He is accompanied by Dr Mihiro Sunose, Principal Scientist, Chemistry, and Dr Hiroki Wada, Senior Scientist, Chemistry.

Dr Young commented, “Sygnature Discovery sees a great business opportunity to collaborate with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies located in Japan.  We are already working with a number of Japanese companies and our integrated service-offering co-located in our new, purpose-built facility at BioCity Nottingham has been beneficial to their projects.  In addition, having Mihiro and Hiroki as part of our team enables us to communicate effectively with our clients in Japan.  We are pleased to be part of the UK DIT mission and anticipate a successful time at BioJapan 2017.”

As well as taking part in BioJapan 2017, the Sygnature team will also be meeting with clients and potential clients whilst in Japan.


Phoenix Equity Partners announces investment in Sygnature Discovery

9th October 2017 – London and Nottingham, UK – Phoenix Equity Partners (“Phoenix”), a leading UK middle-market private equity firm, today announces an investment in Sygnature Discovery Limited (“Sygnature” or “the Company”) alongside the current management team, led by Founder and CEO Dr Simon Hirst.  The deal will provide Sygnature with additional investment to support the Company’s continued development and growth.

Sygnature is a leading provider of outsourced drug discovery services to UK and overseas with a global client base of biotech and pharma companies. Sygnature operates from a modern, purpose-built facility in Nottingham and employs 200 staff, many of whom are PhD scientists. Phoenix will work with the Sygnature management team to accelerate the growth of the business.

Kevin Keck, Partner at Phoenix, said: “Sygnature is a very well-respected drug discovery business with a strong reputation in an attractive and growing segment of the pharma services sector.  Simon and his team have built a great company with a fantastic track record of undertaking high quality scientific research. We are delighted to be partnering with them at a time of continuing rapid growth and significant opportunity in the drug discovery market.”

Dr Simon Hirst, CEO of Sygnature, commented: “We are extremely proud of our people and our culture at Sygnature, which is focused on accelerating drug discovery programmes towards the clinic in a range of debilitating and often fatal diseases. We are excited to be working with Phoenix – our partnership will provide us with investment and strategic input to expand our business further and to provide a broader range of expertise for our customers.”

Sygnature is Phoenix’s fourth investment from its 2016 Fund and third this year, following investments in The Travel Chapter, Rayner Surgical and Global Freight Solutions.

About Phoenix Equity Partners

Phoenix Equity Partners is a leading private equity investor in medium-sized, UK-based companies. Founded in 2001, the firm has successfully invested more than £1bn in over 40 companies, across a wide range of sectors, backing entrepreneurs and management teams with bold plans to build great businesses. The firm is independently owned by its executives, managing funds on behalf of leading institutions from around the world.

For more information, visit:

About Sygnature Discovery

Sygnature Discovery operates a fully-enabled research facility in Nottingham, UK, housing over 180 experienced research scientists with the professional skills required to take on board the most demanding of drug discovery programmes and drive them towards a successful outcome.  The company undertakes target validation, hit identification, hit-to-lead and lead optimisation projects.  Sygnature’s capabilities include medicinal chemistry, bioscience, computational chemistry, DMPK and protein crystallography (in collaboration with affiliate company, Peak Proteins).  Since 2011, ten drug candidates have entered the clinic (Phases I and II) which were invented at Sygnature.

For further information, visit:

Sygnature Discovery wins Best Contract Research Organisation Award at OBN Awards 2017

6th October 2017, Nottingham, UK – Sygnature Discovery, the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated drug discovery resource and expertise, has been named as the winner of the Best Contract Research Organisation award at the OBN Awards 2017.

The OBN Awards 2017, now in their 9th year, celebrate innovation and outstanding achievement across the UK Life Sciences industry.  Categories are broad-ranging and include Biotech, Medtech, Synthetic Biology, Digital Healthcare and Investment.  This year OBN launched a brand-new category, Best Contract Research Organisation award, which looks to recognise the critical support services provided by CROs across the pharmaceutical, biotech and medtech industries.

The awards ceremony took place on 5th October 2017 in Oxford Town Hall, an elegant and prestigious setting in central Oxford.  The evening began with a networking drinks reception, followed by dinner and the awards presentation.  There was plenty of time afterwards for celebrating and catching-up with friends and colleagues from across the pharmaceutical industry.

The Best Contract Research Organisation award was received by Sygnature Discovery’s Dr Paul Clewlow, Senior VP, Business Development, and Dr Steve Young, VP, Business Development.  The Award was sponsored by Ipsen Bioinnovation.


Sygnature Discovery focuses on US expansion with the Appointment of Dr Bruce Sargent

5th  October 2017 – Nottingham, UK – Sygnature Discovery, the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated drug discovery resource and expertise, has appointed Dr Bruce Sargent as Strategic Business Development Lead for North America to assist with the company’s ambitious growth plans for the USA and Canada.

Sygnature Discovery is expanding its business development presence in the USA and Dr Sargent will play an instrumental part of this expansion.

Dr Sargent is a highly-experienced drug discoverer with more than 35 years in drug discovery and development, including 20 years at Boots plc in Nottingham.  He has a proven track record of leading multiple programmes that have delivered drugs into development and will be leveraging his substantial experience to provide local support for Sygnature’s existing and developing US-located client base.  Sygnature will also be utilising Dr Sargent’s business leadership experience to help them with their US business development strategy.

On his appointment, Dr Sargent commented:

“I am delighted to be working with Sygnature Discovery – particularly at such an exciting time in their business expansion plans. Sygnature afford a breadth of capability supported by substantial experience that is rare amongst drug discovery service providers, positioning them in the top class for executing integrated programs. I am proud to be part of the team”

As part of planned expansion of the company’s business development function, Sygnature Discovery is in the process of recruiting additional US-based business developers, who will work closely with Dr Sargent and the business development and marketing team based in BioCity Nottingham.  These newly-created business development roles will be based on the US East and West Coasts and the selected candidates will be responsible for increasing Sygnature’s client base and sales in North America.

Founder and CEO of Sygnature Discovery, Dr Simon Hirst commented:

“Since its foundation in 2004, Sygnature Discovery has always had clients in the USA.  However, to effectively develop even more business opportunities in North America, we need to expand our business development team so that we have a permanent presence there, situated in areas where cutting-edge drug discovery is taking place.  Adding US-based business developers who are scientists at heart will boost our existing activities to win new clients and ensure that we stay on track with our ambitious expansion plans.”



Sygnature Discovery showcases its Bioscience expertise at ELRIG Drug Discovery 2017

3rd October 2017 – Liverpool, UK – Sygnature Discovery, the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated drug discovery resource and expertise, is showcasing the expertise of its BioScience department at ELRIG Drug Discovery 2017 In Liverpool from 3rd – 4th October 2017.

Drug Discovery 2017 is ELRIG’s flagship event. Now in its 11th year, the conference brings together the leading lights in drug discovery research across pharma, biotech, academia and the vendor community.  Below is a summary of the Sygnature activities at ELRIG Drug Discovery 2017:


Tuesday 3rd October 2017

ESSEN Workshop Presentation:

Dr Bryan Miller

“Use of live cell imaging assays for immuno-oncology in integrated drug discovery programmes”

09:35 – 9:55 – ROOM 11A

Snapshot Presentation:

Dr Marie Fisher

“Adoption of High-Content Imaging Capabilities in Support of Integrated Drug Discovery Programmes”

14.50 – 14.55

“Advances in Imaging” Session

Room – Hall 1B


  • Dr Bryan Miller (Poster #20): “Live cell and high-content imaging approaches to identify apoptosis inducers in cell models of triple negative breast cancer”
  • Ms Juliet Morgan (poster # 53): “Complementary biophysical approaches to assess fragment binding to the epigenetic target bromodomain-containing protein 3 (BRD3)
  • Dr Marie Fisher (poster #43): “Predicting drug-induced phospholipidosis using high resolution imaging in 2D and 3D cultures”
  • Dr Meera Raja (poster #1): “A phenotypic screen to identify novel neuroprotective agents”


Wednesday 4th October Time: 11.50

Poster spotlight presentation:

Dr Meera Raja

Track: Target ID & Validation

Room: Hall 1C

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