NOTTINGHAM, U.K.—Sygnature Discovery announced in January that it has further strengthened its drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) capabilities with the addition of several new senior scientists to the management team.
Clive Dilworth has been recruited as director of DMPK. He replaces Tim Schulz-Utermoehl, who had been heading up the DMPK team on a part-time basis. Schulz-Utermoehl now plans to focus on his work with several biotech start-ups.
Dilworth joins from a management role at the Alderley Park life-science campus, where he provided strategic and scientific guidance for startups and contract research organizations (CROs) at the site. Prior to this, Dilworth spent 20 years working in DMPK roles at various CROs, most recently Cyprotex and Evotec. He has a Ph.D. in toxicology from the London School of Pharmacy.
Robert Kime is another recent recruit to Sygnature’s DMPK team. He joined as associate director of DMPK in November. Kime was recruited from the pharma company Grünenthal, where he was associate scientific director. Before that Kime had roles at CROs, including Quintiles. He brings important client-side experience to the team.
“Having run drug discovery projects within a pharma company using an integrated approach, I understand what a client needs from a CRO,” Kime said. “My experience on both sides of the fence gives me an insight into client thinking, and what they need from us to be reassured we can do the job for them.”
In addition to Dilworth and Kime, Sally Lee has joined Sygnature Discovery as a principal scientist, bringing more than 20 years of DMPK experience in both assay and project management roles. In her previous position at the AntiMicrobial Resistance Centre, Lee coordinated DMPK requests for novel antimicrobials targeting the threat of antibiotic resistance.
“As well as adding new skills and techniques to our DMPK portfolio, we are strengthening the expertise we already have. Our presence in both Nottingham and Alderley Park gives our clients access to a large pool of talented scientists and capabilities,” explained Dilworth. “We aim to expand the DMPK groups in both sites to provide our clients with a harmonized and efficient service.”
Sygnature now has 37 members on its DMPK team, with 24 in the Nottingham labs and another 13 in Alderley Park. Further expansion of the team is planned for this year, in order to meet growing global demand for Sygnature’s DMPK capabilities.
Sygnature’s subsidiary, in-vivo pharmacology and consultancy services firm RenaSci, also added to its team in January, bolstering their kidney disease and fibrosis capabilities with the appointment of Dr. Wioletta Pijacka.
Pijacka is an in-vivo translational biologist with over 12 years of experience in renal and cardiovascular biology. She has worked in several different scientific areas, including fetal programming in kidney disease, cardiovascular and neuroscience. Pijacka joins RenaSci from AstraZeneca, where she focused on the area of chronic kidney diseases. Prior to AstraZeneca, Pijacka was a senior research associate at the University of Bristol for more than five years, following the completion of her Ph.D. at the University of Nottingham.
“RenaSci is a world-renowned in-vivo pharmacology provider, so I’m obviously very excited about joining the team. Also, with RenaSci being part of the Sygnature Group, the opportunity to create synergies with Sygnature Discovery’s capabilities in kidney disease and fibrosis is one I am really looking forward to; it will be an exceptional service offering,” commented Pijacka.
Over the years, Pijacka has developed a unique area of research, having discovered the role of carotid bodies in hypertension and kidney diseases. Pijacka has also gained a wealth of expertise in developing fit-for-purpose animal models used in clinical translation.
In her new role as a study director at RenaSci, Pijacka will be responsible for implementing and developing new in-vivo and ex-vivo models of kidney disease. First she will set up a slice model using kidneys, as well as a surgical model of kidney disease.
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Wioletta to the RenaSci team. She brings with her specialist experience and extensive knowledge of models of kidney disease and fibrosis which will greatly add to our existing capabilities,” noted Dr. Sharon Cheetham, director at RenaSci. “We are excited in being able to expand our offering in this area and further enhancing our integration with Sygnature Discovery.”