August 1st, 2023

Sygnature Discovery Accelerates Global Growth with Major North American Acquisition

Leading integrated drug discovery partner, Sygnature Discovery (“Sygnature”) has announced its acquisition of one of North America’s largest discovery Contract Research Organisations, Canada-based NuChem Sciences. This acquisition cements Sygnature as one of the world’s largest players in integrated drug discovery phase solutions and advances their vision to become the global market leader.

The transaction creates a significant competitive advantage for Sygnature as it expands its global footprint and business operations to leverage discovery expertise in the North American market. Together, Sygnature Discovery and NuChem are creating a global force that delivers drug discovery expertise to support customer programmes from target validation through to candidate selection, combining the best of North American and UK operations.

Marc Lebel, Pharm. D., President and Chairman at NuChem Sciences said: “Our company goals and values fit perfectly with those of Sygnature in becoming a global leader in drug discovery services. We are delighted to become an integral part of the Sygnature Group, allowing us to leverage our deep scientific expertise and presence across North America and Europe, to the benefit of customers and employees.”

NuChem Sciences, a leading discovery CRO in the North American market, employs over 300 staff across centres of excellence in Montreal and Quebec City, Canada, where the company will continue to operate and drive further market expansion across North America.

Founded in 2011, NuChem Sciences delivers expert integrated and standalone discovery solutions across medicinal, synthetic, scale-up, process and computational chemistry, as well as DMPK, in vitro biology and in vivo pharmacology. Additionally, the company provides protein chemistry services and offers crucial knowledge-based expertise in structural biology at the initial stages of drug discovery to global biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

Following this acquisition, Sygnature Discovery will have more than 1,000 staff across 53 nationalities, including over 900 scientists who work on standalone and integrated drug discovery programmes for pharma, biotech, VCs, and NFPs. Founded in 2004, the company has successfully delivered over 40 novel drug candidates into pre-clinical development and 22 into clinical trials, with its scientists named on over 170 patent applications.

Dr Simon Hirst, CEO at Sygnature Discovery, commented: “This acquisition represents a pivotal milestone in the Sygnature growth plan, allowing us to deliver better discovery solutions to customers around the world. The addition of NuChem Sciences greatly enhances Sygnature Discovery’s offering, making us a highly differentiated and integrated drug discovery partner with unrivalled scale and range. NuChem is a like-minded business that complements Sygnature’s existing services, towards our joint mission of improving the world’s health.”

In addition, Marc Lebel commented that “this acquisition could not have taken place without the support and partnership of Amorchem, Investissement Québec, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and the Business Development Bank of Canada; I would like to extend my thanks to all involved.”

This is the third in a series of acquisitions over the last sixteen months that have formed part of Sygnature’s global expansion, following the investment by Five Arrows in Summer 2021. Previous acquisitions made were Peak Proteins in April 2022 and SB Drug Discovery in January 2023.


About Sygnature Discovery

Sygnature Discovery is a world-leading integrated drug discovery Contract Research Organisation based in the UK with its headquarters in Nottingham and additional facilities in Alderley Park, Macclesfield and Glasgow. Its staff of over 1,000, which includes 900 scientists, partners with global pharma, biotech and NFP organisations.

Since 2004, Sygnature Discovery has delivered over 40 novel pre-clinical and 22 clinical compounds, with its scientists named on over 170 patents. Therapeutic areas of expertise include oncology, inflammation and immunology, neuroscience, metabolic diseases, infectious diseases, fibrotic diseases and more.


About NuChem Sciences

NuChem Sciences, which employs 300 scientific and support staff, is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec and offers a range of standalone and integrated discovery services in chemistry, biochemistry, in vitro biology, DMPK, structural biology and in vivo pharmacology.


About Five Arrows

Five Arrows is the alternative assets arm of Rothschild & Co and has €23 billion of AuM with offices in Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Luxembourg. With over €9 billion of assets under management, the corporate private equity business of Five Arrows is focused on investing in companies with highly defensible market positions; strong management teams; business models with high visibility of organic unit volume growth and strong unit economics; and multiple operational levers that can be used to unlock latent value. Sectors are limited to healthcare, data and software, and technology-enabled business services.


For further information and all media enquiries, contact:

Paul Overton, PhD
Chief Commercial Officer
Sygnature Discovery

[email protected]