It is fair to say, XenoGesis has not experienced a year like it, and as we draw the curtains on this remarkable and unusual year, and embark on our new chapter as part of Sygnature Discovery, we look back and reflect on some of the key news, events and achievements.
Growth, expansion and an acquisition
We kicked off the year with the announcement of the expansion of our bioanalytical capacity with the purchase of a Thermo Scientific Q Exactive Focus LC-MS and diode array and a Thermo Scientific TSQ Altis LC-MS/MS UPLC. Delivered and installed at the end of 2019, the new instruments increased our bioanalytical capacity by 67% in a move to support the continued rapid growth.
In September 2020, XenoGesis was acquired by Sygnature Discovery which has resulted in the creation of a 60+ strong DMPK team with enviable expertise and capabilities. Sygnature Discovery is a fast-growing integrated drug discovery CRO operating out of BioCity Nottingham and Alderley Park. The integration is well underway and we will be operating under the Sygnature Discovery banner in due course….look out for further updates in 2021.
Awards, achievements and recognition
A key highlight of 2020 was the news that XenoGesis had been selected to receive the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of our export growth. With well over 50% of revenue coming from overseas, and a growing number of global clients looking for a high quality, consultative and flexible approach to DMPK, XenoGesis was one of 220 organisations recognised nationally this year. The ceremony has been put on hold, but we look forward to celebrating this outstanding achievement in the future.
Following the theme of export growth and last year’s successful trip to the US West Coast, the DIT featured XenoGesis in a case study focusing on our international success.
In March, XenoGesis was identified as ‘one to watch’ in Alantra’s Pharma Fast 50, published in the Pharma Times. Alantra’s annual report looks at the fastest-growing companies and lists those businesses that have increased their revenues at the fastest rate over the past two financial years. We couldn’t be included in the rankings as we do not file audited accounts, but we were recognised for our outstanding growth.
Dr Rachel Hemsley, our Global Head of Business Development, was invited to join the University of Oxford’s Experts in Residence. This programme is managed by the Medical Science Division’s Translational Research Office, Business Development & Partnering team and Oxford University Innovation. It aims to give Oxford’s research community access to world-leading expertise and advice across multiple industry sectors.
2020 has been another very busy year supporting loyal, existing clients along with adding 20 new clients from around the globe. Comparing the total period from 1st January 2020 to end of October 2020 with the previous year, revenue increased by a very impressive 58%.
We shared news of our work with biopharmaceutical company Sitryx to support the discovery and development of innovative therapies for autoimmune and inflammatory disease in the fast-emerging area of immunometabolism. Read the full story here.
In a selection process assisted by the Medicines Discovery Catapult, XenoGesis was picked by LUNAC Therapeutics to support them in the discovery of novel anticoagulant therapies that have a reduced risk of bleeding compared to current therapies. The team at XenoGesis has been providing the DMPK consultancy, PK modelling and dose prediction support in order to help LUNAC select the most appropriate compounds to progress through the pre-clinical phase. Read the full story here.
Out and about
A challenging year on that front, but we did our best to attend many virtual events to remain present and connected with our key audiences. Virtual partnering, networking, panel opportunities and presentations all featured in the events calendar this year. These included BIO, Making Pharmaceuticals, BioNow Oncology Conference, Genesis 2020 and BioIntegrates, to name a few. Earlier in the summer we took part in the well-attended webinar series delivered by the Medicines Discovery Catapult. The webinars are available online and can be accessed here. The MDC has also put together ‘A Guide to Drug Discovery 2020’ which can be viewed here.
In October we took part in the virtual Ada Lovelace Day, which was organised by BioCity and education charity Ignite!, which saw over ninety school girls from five Nottingham secondary schools take part. XenoGesis’ Liz Rendall delivered an engaging session on the effects and impact of the R rate of a disease, particularly topical in a pandemic.
Spotlight on Formulation
In the autumn, we launched our Spotlight on Formulation series, in association with our carefully selected CDMO partners. Formulation should be high on the agenda for those working in drug discovery, even before candidate selection. All too often though this is addressed too late in the process.
XenoGesis works closely with clients to help identify which compounds to take forward, and along with our CDMO partners, we are able to develop the test formulations early on to gain an understanding of the bioavailability of compounds and assess the likely drug exposure and test out the theoretical improvements one can achieve with formulation.
Our spotlight series includes an interview with Rob Harris, a guest podcast from Quay Pharma, a guest blog from Upperton Pharma Solutions on considerations when developing formulations for nasal locally delivered drugs, a companion blog on the applications and DMPK considerations of nasal drug delivery, and our webinar delivered by Richard Weaver and Rob Harris.
In our thoughts
It would be amiss not to mention the sad loss of a much-loved colleague who passed away in April. Due to the pandemic, we have not been able to come together to pay our respects to Manfred Ismair in the way that we would have wanted to, but we hope to be able to do this at some point in the future. Manfred was an integral part of the XenoGesis team and one of the founding members; he was the scientific brains and ‘green-fingers’ behind many of our assays and technical content for the website as well as a larger than life, funny and caring guy with a heart of gold. He is deeply missed by us all.