Edinburgh uni spin-out teams up with research giant Charles River

University of Edinburgh spin-out Fios Genomics is looking to boost headcount after agreeing a “game-changer” of a strategic partnership with Charles River – a major global player in contract research.

From left: technical director Max Bylesj, CEO Sarah Lynagh, and finance director Martin Ramsay. Picture: Robert Perry.

The bioinformatics firm, which was formed in 2008 and is based at the BioQuarter, helps pharmaceutical and biotech companies to analyse the large amounts of data generated during drug development.

Its investors include Edinburgh-based business angel investment syndicate Archangels; Borders-based syndicate Tricapital; the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB); and Edinburgh University.

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Fios added that the tie-up will enable Massachusetts-based Charles River clients worldwide to access its expertise in bioinformatics, statistics and biology to help with the sourcing and analysis of big data associated with drug development.

Some of the Fios Genomics team at their Edinburgh BioQuarter offices. Picture: Robert Perry.

It also expects that via Charles River’s global footprint, the partnership will open up a whole new client base for Fios, which works with more than 100 clients, mainly in the US and Europe.

Expertise

“The biologically relevant insights revealed by the team at Fios Genomics, combined with Charles River’s streamlined integrated drug discovery and development platform and the scientific expertise of both organisations, will enable Charles River clients to make more data-driven decisions about their programmes, improving both confidence and speed,” Fios said.

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Charles River has also made a strategic investment in Fios, which the latter will use to accelerate company growth and increase its headcount from 30 currently to 50, adding further bioinformaticians, project managers and other support staff.

Sarah Lynagh, chief executive at Fios Genomics, said: “This partnership takes Fios to the next level, opening up opportunities for the business right around the world.

“Our approach to bioinformatics at Fios Genomics is to look beyond algorithms and statistics… we’re in the business of helping patients and clinicians by improving the development of medicines and treatments, supporting the pharma industry to bring to market those that have been proven to work. This deal significantly improves our reach and our ability to do that.”

Sarah Hardy, chief investment officer at lead investor Archangels, said the tie-up “is clear evidence that Fios has developed an enviable level of expertise and the reputation to provide companies large and small, and research institutions, with valuable insights into big data and make a meaningful contribution towards bringing their medicines to market”. SIB director

Kerry Sharp said: “The partnership is testament to the vision and hard work of Dr Lynagh and her team, and we look forward to continuing our support for Fios through the next stage of its growth journey.”