Private equity firm Lyceum Capital has now completed its buyout of Synexus Clinical Research, the UK company that pioneered the ‘hub site’ strategy for recruiting patients into late-stage clinical trials. Lyceum has also brought in a pharmaceutical industry veteran, Professor Trevor Jones CBE, to steer Synexus’ international expansion programme.

Synexus accepted a cash offer of 78 pence per share for the patient recruitment and clinical trial management business, valuing the company at around £18.1 million (25.1 million euros). While Synexus already operates from 13 sites in six countries, its plans to achieve critical mass in the global clinical trials market have been held back by a plunge in its share price after delayed start dates for contracted studies took their toll on the company’s financial performance.

“With the financial and management support of Lyceum we will move rapidly to build on our international network of hub sites and become a significant partner to the pharma industry,” said Synexus chief executive officer Michael Fort. “We are already in discussion with our major clients on their preferred locations so that we can help them deliver this unique model to lower their cost, speed up recruitment and increase quality.”

Jones 'complements financial clout'
The appointment of Professor Jones as chairman of the holding company board for Synexus will complement the increased financial clout that comes with the Lyceum takeover. “Trevor will be an enormous asset to Synexus,” Fort commented. “His international experience and contacts across the globe will help us drive our international expansion.”

Professor Jones’ career in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries includes stints as research and development director of The Wellcome Foundation, director general of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and as a member of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Commission for Intellectual Property, Innovation and Public Health. He is currently a director of Allergan, chairman of ReNeuron, a board member of Sigma-Tau, Nextpharma and Verona, and senior R&D advisor to Esteve.

Following the buyout by Lyceum Capital, Synexus is expected to delist from the UK’s AIM alternative investment market by the end of the year.