Synexa Life Sciences (Synexa), a global leader in clinical biomarker and bioanalytics research services, recently secured 5,000 square feet of lab space in Rockville, Maryland. The new lab will be located within Inotiv, Inc.’s (Inotiv) Rockville site and is part of a new partnership between Synexa and Inotiv, a leading contract research organization.
For more than 20 years, Synexa has been delivering expert clinical development insights to life sciences organizations via biomarker and bioanalytics solutions, novel modality analytics, innovative technology platforms and custom assay development and validation. The new Rockville lab adds to the company’s global footprint that, up until very recently, included locations in Leiden, The Netherlands, Dublin, Ireland, Berlin, Germany, London, England and Cape Town, South Africa.
Synexa just recently announced that it had expanded its global presence by acquiring Syrinx Bioanalytics, a bioanalytical CRO based in Turku, Finland. The newly acquired Rockville and Turku labs are part of Synexa’s “buy and build” growth strategy and mark its 5th and 6th global locations.
Paul O’Riordan, who recently was named Chairman of the company after two decades as its CEO, co-founded Synexa in 2002 in Cape Town. Emile Lens, who was Synexa’s CFO and COO, now leads the executive leadership team.
Synexa’s beginnings go back to when O’Riordan was part of the team that started the McKinsey & Company practice in South Africa. At a national McKinsey & Company business plan competition, he met two scientists, Dr. Justin Devine and Professor Patrick Bouic. Devine, Bouic and O’Riordan hit it off and eventually co-founded Synexa; Devine and Bouic remain key leaders at Synexa, serving as Chief Medical Officer and Principal Scientific Consultant, respectively.
“We were really trying to build a company that can make a big difference in the world, but everything really started about 20 years ago when the Human Genome Project was coming to fruition. It was clear to Justin, Patrick and myself back then that a lot of new science and new ways of looking at human biology would be coming to market,” reflected O’Riordan.
For Synexa, the mission is to better understand disease biology and drug performance to help life sciences companies make better pipeline strategy decisions. To O’Riordan and Synexa, pipeline management is just like asset management—there are a number of pipeline assets where a company can allocate limited capital; the winners allocate their capital to those assets with the best chance to succeed.
“The founding epiphany of Synexa is that the drug development process is highly inefficient. Companies spend years and years and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop new drugs for many of them to fail at late stage and even for those that succeed most don’t work for most of the patients most of the time and we don’t really know why,” stated O’Riordan.
Despite remarkable advances in our understanding of human biology and immunology, there is still so much the life sciences industry doesn’t know.
Synexa offers powerful biomarker research and bioanalytics, custom assay development/validation and powerful technology platforms like Synexa’s Prototrials that can help fill these gaps, particularly within the translational phase before clinical development. Synexa helps life sciences companies truly streamline the drug development process, empowering them to make better pipeline decisions, faster.
The new lab within Inotiv’s Rockville location is a result of an ideal partnership between the two organizations. Along with securing a U.S. lab location, the partnership is an ideal pairing of Synexa’s bioanalytics and biomarker services (focused on the Translational Phase to phase III) with a contract research organization like Inotiv focused exclusively on the preclinical stage of the drug development lifecycle.
“We knew we needed a U.S. lab location to better serve our biotech clients in the States, but the pandemic delayed us for almost two years. We have been working with Inotiv and we have very complementary services. The
re’s a lot of stop-start when it comes to moving from preclinical into other phases, which causes delays and risk,” stated O’Riordan.
“Our partnership offers a seamless, one-stop-shop to clients for pre-clinical through translational and into the clinic,” he added. “Securing a commercial partnership with Inotiv and building a lab within Inotiv’s space just made sense.”
The partnership with Inotiv was clearly a great fit for Synexa, but so was the Rockville location in Montgomery County, the heart of a vibrant and growing BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR).
O’Riordan noted the depth of life sciences talent, the proximity to key regulatory bodies, lower costs than hubs like Boston and San Francisco, as well as the region’s great life sciences infrastructure as assets that drew Synexa to Maryland.
“We kicked around locations for a while before choosing Rockville. We wanted a place with infrastructure and great connections to get networked into the local communities. Ultimately the scientific heritage of the Montgomery County area hub, the university system and the FDA and NIH/NCI being nearby, made it clear we can easily tap into the pool of talent here,” stated O’Riordan.
“This life sciences hub isn’t the biggest in the U.S. but it has a very clear objective to build it and create something great. We’re a small company that’s going to hire 20-25 people in the near future, but local officials kept telling me that these are really good jobs and that it’s important to have companies like Synexa here,” shared O’Riordan.
“I just can’t imagine getting that kind of response from the hubs in Boston, Silicon Valley or North Carolina. It’s quite nice that we can make a difference in this community and build our networks in the region as we essentially start a new business here. Maryland and this hub is just a great location. Within a few weeks I felt so connected to this community. It’s really remarkable and welcoming,” he added.