Sygnature Discovery buys Peak Proteins to bolster drug discovery business

Preclinical contractor Sygnature Discovery has bought Peak Proteins, a chemistry services provider set up by ex-AstraZeneca protein biochemistry and structural biology scientists.

The acquisition—financial terms of which were not disclosed—was prompted by Peak’s protein production capabilities, according to Sygnature CEO Simon Hirst, Ph.D.

“We’ve always recognized that high quality proteins is absolutely essential in drug discovery. Many programs stumble on this point early on," Hirst said. "You need the right protein, structure and folding to get the right activity and this takes a lot of skills both in terms of production and purification."

Peak’s 35-strong staff will be joining Sygnature, including the firm’s leadership team. The company will continue to operate from its research facility in Macclesfield, England, which is near Sygnature’s base in Alderley Edge in Cheshire.

“But this is not just about having more talented scientists together. It’s really about the potential for the future and what we can do together now that they are a part of an integrated drug discovery team," Hirst said. 

Sygnature and Peak have already collaborated on several projects, and the firms’ capabilities are complementary, according to Hirst.

“The client-base, not surprisingly, has some overlap on collaborative projects, but there is also room for cross-over for clients who only work with one of the companies at the current time," he said. 

The deal is in keeping with Sygnature’s growth strategy, which has been evenly split between adding capabilities through acquisition and internal investment.

“Sometimes capability can be built in house but sometimes the best way to do so is by acquisition. Any future acquisitions would have to be of a high enough quality and collaborative culture, like in the case of Peak Proteins, to match that of our own," Hirst said.