Sygnature Discovery, a leading independent integrated drug discovery and pre-clinical contract research organization, is strengthening its high-throughput screening (HTS) and translational oncology service-offerings by investing £3 million in new instrumentation and equipment.

Sygnature’s Translational Oncology department at Alderley Park is currently focused on in vivo services for cancer drug discovery with in-house expertise to design, conduct and interpret pivotal oncology in vivo pharmacology experiments to identify promising pre-clinical candidates. These assessments help define the path to the clinic and identify the anticipated patient populations who might best respond to treatment. Detailed tumour analysis is an important aspect of pre-clinical in vivo research to measure target engagement and impact on tumour biology. A significant component of the £3M investment will be used to establish internal flow cytometry support for ex-vivo tumour analysis to enhance Sygnature’s integrated oncology capabilities and provide a more comprehensive, competitive and integrated service offering to customers.

In November 2019, Sygnature added in-house HTS to its comprehensive range of hit identification solutions, underpinned by a novel compound library of 150,000 lead-like molecules, carefully curated by a team of experienced computational and medicinal chemists. At a cost of £1.3M, this service has proven to be such a phenomenal success with clients that the company is now being asked to store and screen external compound collections. To accommodate this increased customer demand and planned expansion of Sygnature’s compound library, an automated plate and tube storage system with the capacity to hold over 2 million plated compounds and 135,000 in tubes will be installed at BioCity Nottingham from early 2021.

Sygnature Founder and CEO Dr Simon Hirst commented, “Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020, Sygnature Discovery has continued to deliver top quality science to accelerate customers’ drug discovery programmes, combined with stellar growth in revenue and profitability. As a consequence, we have chosen to invest a further £3M in early 2021 in new instrumentation and equipment to boost our HTS and Translational Oncology capabilities.

“This considerable funding injection will enable Sygnature to provide an even more comprehensive integrated service offering from hit identification to pre-clinical candidate selection. We have reached an exciting point in our company’s 16-year history, and 2021 will undoubtedly bring even more exciting developments for our business.”