Glasgow's SB Drug Discovery set to scale after changing hands again

A Glasgow-based drug development company is set to scale further after being acquired for the second time in recent years.

SB Drug Discovery, which operates from West of Scotland Science Park with 55 staff locally, and delivers cell line generation and compound screening solutions in neuroscience and other therapeutic indications, has been snapped up by Nottingham-based Sygnature Discovery. Under the deal, terms of which were not disclosed, both companies will continue to operate out of their respective facilities, with further investment and service expansion planned by the Scottish firm in coming months.

The acquisition of SB Drug Discovery follows investment from Five Arrows Principal Investments, the European corporate private equity arm of Rothschild & Co, in June 2020. The acquisition also marks the fifth in five years for Sygnature Discovery, which is housed at Nottingham’s BioCity and has more than 600 staff, following purchases including RenaSci in 2018 as well as Alderley Oncology and XenoGesis in 2020.

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SG Drug Discovery scientific director Dr Ian McPhee cheered the new deal, saying both firms’ values and goals are a great match, and adding: “Having previously collaborated with Sygnature Discovery to access our ion channel expertise, it became apparent to them that our breadth of capabilities reached far beyond ion channel electrophysiology, to areas including cell line generation, screening and inflammation.”

'This is an exciting step forward, forming a strong partnership with a like-minded company,' says Sygnature Discovery boss Dr Simon Hurst. Picture: contributed.

Sygnature Discovery’s chief executive Dr Simon Hirst said: “The acquisition of SB Drug Discovery is a great addition to the services Sygnature Discovery offers its customers on our journey to become the world’s leading drug discovery partner. This is an exciting step forward, forming a strong partnership with a like-minded company.”

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