Our new Chairman: Dr Charles Woler

We’ve appointed the highly experienced pharmaceutical executive Dr Charles Woler as Chairman.

Dr Charles Woler


In a broad career, Charles has held multiple key roles in the sector, including CEO at Roche France, Executive Chairman for Europe at SmithKline Beecham PLC, and CEO at Cadus Pharmaceutical in the US.

He has also worked in numerous biotech-focused venture capital firms, chairing the advisory committee of the public-private Inserm-Transfert Initiative Investment Committee fund and serving as Vice Chairman of the France Biotech trade association for three years.

In addition, Charles set up French biotech company Neuro3d before selling the business, co-founded Swiss biopharmaceutical firm Inflamalps, and was CEO at Biomnis, one of the largest independent laboratories in Europe.

He gained a PhD in Clinical Pharmacology from the University of Lyon and an MD from Université Paris Diderot (Paris VII), and has since spent more than 35 years in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical sectors in Europe and North America.

Charles joins Sygnature Discovery following our significant investment from Five Arrows Principal Investments, the European corporate private equity arm of Rothschild & Co, in 2021.

We’ve also grown from 200 to more than 500 employees in under four years, and opened a second US office in South San Francisco last April.

Dr Charles Woler, Chairman at Sygnature Discovery, said: “I am a long-time admirer of Sygnature Discovery, having previously done due diligence on the company while considering investment possibilities when working in private equity, so I am thrilled to join such a successful, ambitious organisation.

“Sygnature has a reputation for delivering quality scientific work with a culture that enables very effective communication and collaboration, plus a track record of developing compounds into the clinic.

“I believe it is a company that is going places, and I look forward to playing a part in fulfilling its vast potential at such an exciting time in the world of drug discovery.”

Dr Simon Hirst, CEO and founder of Sygnature Discovery, said: “We are very excited to be working with Charles in this new phase of investment. Charles has a wealth of pharmaceutical knowledge and experience in various leadership, R&D, sales and management positions across our industry.

“He will help shape the strategic approach of our thriving drug discovery business as we look to accelerate our growth and continually enhance our service offering to our customers.”

As Chairman, Charles is keen to support our recruitment efforts, broaden our therapeutic areas, grow our presence in North America, and build on the potential of AI and machine learning in drug discovery.

Alongside his new role, Charles also holds a number of positions on the boards of other organisations, including Chairman at French biotech firm DEINOVE and Non-Executive Director at Croatia-based CRO Optimapharm.

If you’d like to discuss how we can accelerate your drug discovery project to the clinic, get in touch via one of our contact forms.

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