Category: News

Nottingham-based contract research organisations (CROs) have strengthened their existing links to work together and support the discovery and development of new therapeutics during the pandemic.

Many businesses have been impacted by the restrictions on the movement of people and supplies, which has created barriers and slowed down drug discovery and development. However, four specialist CROs: Charnwood Molecular, Reach Separations, Aurelia Bioscience and XenoGesis, benefit from being co-located at BioCity Nottingham, the UK’s largest bioscience, innovation and incubation centre. Following the implementation of safe working environments to adhere to social distancing rules, the CROs have been able to remain open and provide specialist services to ensure seamless continuity for drug discovery programmes.

This collaboration brings together specialist expertise in synthetic and medicinal chemistry, analytical and purification support, bioassays, pharmacology screening, DMPK, bioanalysis, PK modelling and dose prediction. It also means clients are able to access niche CROs with specialist expertise, that are already experienced at working together, allowing drug discovery programmes to continue seamlessly with minimal disruption.

Commenting, Dr Richard Weaver, CEO and Founder of XenoGesis, said: “Clients can feel confident that they are still able to access the best specialised CRO in its respective discipline, and also dip into the services that they need at different stages of their project. In the past few weeks, we have seen a marked increase in new work and projects with clients coming to us for our specialist DMPK expertise. There is a genuine appetite for access to niche CROs that are leaders in their field.”

Robin Wilkes, Director of Business Development at Charnwood Molecular, added: “In these unprecedented times, the need for new therapeutics is higher than ever. Being co-located at BioCity Nottingham has huge advantages and enables us to navigate some of the barriers that are affecting other businesses, ensuring our clients’ projects can continue.”

Victoria Coulthard, Head of Business Development at Reach Separations, said: “We already have a proven track record of working together to provide services for clients across the globe. By coming together and offering a collaborative approach, we are able to build on this, and help clients expedite their drug discovery projects in spite of the lockdown.”

Gary Allenby, Chief Scientific Officer at Aurelia Bioscience, concluded: “In the current climate, the co-localisation of subject experts has come to the fore. Together at BioCity, Aurelia Bioscience, Charnwood Molecular, Reach Separations and XenoGesis have been able to provide seamless business continuity for drug discovery programmes, combatting the disruption that is being experienced elsewhere in the sector.”

For more information on how we can help you maximise the chances of success in your drug discovery programme, get in touch. – e:

The mission of Medicines Discovery Catapult is to accelerate drug discovery and help transform ideas into better medicines for patients, faster. To enable this, Medicines Discovery Catapult are mapping, curating and using national networks to help SMEs and charity-led drug discovery syndicates access the expertise and resources they need quickly and efficiently.

Charnwood Molecular are delighted to have joined this CRO network, providing industry, particularly for SMEs, translational academics and charities, with access to a full range of synthetic and medicinal chemistry services for Drug Discovery and early Drug Development.

You can find out more about Medicines Discovery Catapult here:
MDC homepage


We are delighted to announce that Synova Capital has completed a significant investment into Charnwood Molecular. The deal will provide Charnwood with additional investment to support its continued development and growth.

Synova will support Charnwood to deliver an ambitious growth plan, built upon increasing investment in the Business’s core capabilities as a trusted partner in innovative chemistry, alongside expanding its service offering into complementary scientific disciplines.

Commenting on the investment, Steve Allin, founder and CEO of Charnwood, said: “We are extremely excited about what we can achieve in partnership with Synova. Synova supported our business over an extended period prior to their investment, helping us to develop a strategic plan that we are all committed to delivering. They were able to leverage their sector expertise and introduced the business to a number of leading industry figures who will help us to grow going forwards. With Synova’s support we now have the resources to accelerate growth of our core service offering and to develop further specialist services to support our clients to develop innovative new treatments.”

Tim Ashlin, Synova Partner and Head of Healthcare, commented: “Having tracked Charnwood’s progress for a number of years, we are delighted to announce this investment to fuel Charnwood’s ambitious growth plans. It’s exciting to be supporting a business that is focused on developing the next generation of cutting-edge pharmaceuticals, and to support the continued growth of the UK life sciences industry.”

Charnwood Molecular have been selected as a finalist for the upcoming 2019 OBN Awards.

The company is celebrating after being announced as one of just four finalists in the “Best CRO” category.

“We’d like to thank everyone on the team here at Charnwood Molecular and, of course, all of our clients, for your continued support” stated Steven Allin, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Charnwood Molecular.  “It is testament to the efforts of all our team here at Charnwood Molecular that we are being considered for this award” he added.

The 11th Annual OBN Awards remains the life sciences industry’s most highly regarded awards event. According to the organisers, entry rates increased once again this year, with the quality of entries and levels of innovation consistently impressive across all categories.

The winners of the 2019 awards will be announced on 7th November at the Examination Schools in Central Oxford.

Charnwood Molecular

We were recently featured in an extensive article in the Loughborough Echo.

The article looked at our early development, through to continued growth and the increasing demand for our services. After another year of significant growth and a number of achievements for the company, the piece outlines our plans going for the future, with key quotes from Professor Steve Allin and Dr Robin Wilkes.

The full article is available to read here:


Charnwood Molecular

In case you missed it, in an interview with The Medicine Maker towards the end of last year, our Head of Medicinal Chemistry, James Hitchin, discussed many of our key considerations and aspirations as a growing CRO collaborating with international clients on Drug Discovery projects:

On the Clear Benefits of Working With Us: we have an ability to “follow up discoveries quickly…allowing greater flexibility and cost savings and focus more on the added value propositions of outsourcing partnerships.”

On the Importance of Staff Development: “supporting the skills required for drug discovery for the next generation of scientists coming through.”

On Compound Selection: “it’s crucial to make good choices at the beginning of the process and pick a candidate that has the potential to go all the way.”

On Compound Optimisation: “you have to really understand your compound and be able to juggle parameters in a way that allows you to produce something that is well tolerated by the body, is rapidly absorbed and goes directly to where you want it to be and then stays there long enough to elicit the desired effect.”

On the Synthetic Challenge: “some of the best compounds can be the most difficult to synthesise…if you spend a bit more time figuring out the challenges in synthesis, you could ultimately end up with something more interesting not only in terms of its medicinal chemistry properties, but also more amenable to process scale chemistry.”

On What Success Looks like: “to eventually deliver compounds that will have the intended effect in a clinical setting (line of sight to the clinic).”

Link to article:
The Medicinal Chemistry Puzzle: Lessons Learned with James Hitchin

Charnwood Molecular

Our Loughborough site, where we run early Development projects, were delighted to take delivery of a new Teledyne Isco CombiFlash Torrent large-scale chromatography system last week. Here is our Senior Research Chemist Jon Boxhall using a 3 Kg silica column today.

Charnwood Molecular was recently featured in an extensive article in the Business Review Section of the Nottingham Post, after another year of significant growth and a number of achievements for the company.

The news article outlines our plans going for the future, with key interviews with Professor Steve Allin, Dr Robin Wilkes and Dr James Hitchin.

The full article can be read here:

Charnwood Molecular – Article in Nottingham Post

SCI logo

Charnwood Molecular is sponsoring next week’s “Young Chemist in Industry 2018”, which has been organised by the SCI and takes place at GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage on Monday 5 November 2018.

The event has been organised by SCI’s Young Chemists’ Panel and Charnwood Molecular is pleased to be sponsoring an event aimed at allowing younger chemists to showcase their industrial research.

The event also presents a unique opportunity to discover what the young chemists’ contemporaries do in other branches of industry.

The meeting will be of interest to industrial chemists to discover what their contemporaries are working on in other companies and other areas of research, but also for academic chemists who want to find out the different challenges and focus that working in an industrial setting offers.

Prizes will be awarded for the best talk and runners-up. In addition, a lecture from a leading industrial chemist will conclude the proceedings.

We have three of our chemists in attendance who would be happy to meet with you:

• Alexandre Jolibois
• Oliver Leadbeater
• Susan Lepri

Charnwood Molecular co-Founder, Professor Phil Page, is set to retire this month from his academic post at the University of East Anglia, where he is currently Professor of Organic Chemistry.


A Symposium in his honour is being held on the 16th October at UEA to celebrate Phil’s contribution to organic synthesis and catalysis, featuring speakers from the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Loughborough, South Wales, Leeds, Nottingham Trent and Charnwood Molecular.

Phil co-founded Charnwood Molecular with Steven Allin back in 1998, a “spin-out” from Loughborough University, to exploit expertise in asymmetric synthesis and catalysis.

We wish him all the best in his future retirement from his academic role.