Synteract nabs CRO, pharma veterans to bolster cancer and rare disease offerings

After a mini M&A spree and new hires last year, CRO Synteract is looking to boost its work again. (Synteract)

After a mini M&A spree and new hires last year, CRO Synteract is looking to boost its work again, this time by hiring two life science stalwarts into its ranks.

First up is Derek Ansel, who becomes the services company’s new director of rare and orphan disease drug development and comes from rival CRO PRA Health, having also spent time at Icon and PPD, with a short stint at Shire back in 2017.

At Synteract, he will work in a cross-therapeutic team where “he will apply extensive gene and cell therapy expertise developed from his work in several liver-targeted gene therapy programs,” the CRO said in a statement.

Joining him will be Hassan Aly, M.D., Ph.D., who becomes senior medical director, specifically working on Synteract’s oncology center of development. Aly, a certified hematologist, comes to the company from AstraZeneca, having also served stints at Boehringer Ingelheim and several CROs including Quintiles.

Frank Santoro, chief medical officer for Synteract, said of the hires: “Hassan and Derek bring unique skillsets to our centers of development with a combination of medical, therapeutic and operational know-how related to running complex trials. This expertise, along with their crossover experience in multiple therapeutic areas, offers exceptional insight to our clients looking to partner with Synteract for their clinical development needs.”

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The company has had a busy few years, snapping up specialty pediatric CRO KinderPharm last November and contract researcher Cu-Tech last July.

A year ago, the CRO also tapped two other industry veterans to join its team: Lisa Dilworth and Elisabeth Schrader. Dilworth became vice president for rare and orphan diseases while Schrader came on board as executive director of program strategy for pediatrics and rare diseases.