Triangle Business Journal --- California CRO Synteract Steadily Grows Operations Here

October 11, 2010: Morrisville – Job interviews are under way at the Morrisville office of Synteract, a California clinical research organization that is planning to add about 20 research and data management positions before the end of 2011.

Activity among Synteract’s biotech clients has been flat for much of 2010, says Synteract COO Stewart Bieler, but a noticeable increase in business in July and August justified the company’s decision to expand the Morrisville office sooner rather than later.

Synteract opened a small office in Morrisville in October 2007 and has grown its staff here to about 14 people.

The company recently signed a deal to triple its office space in Morrisville, and this week moved into its new 11,000-square-foot unit in the Concourse Lakeside I building on Slater Road. Bieler says the space will accommodate about 35 staff members, and he expects to reach that threshold by the end of 2011.

The Triangle is a hotbed for clinical research organizations that work with biotech and pharmaceutical firms to manage specific research projects. The region is home to the world’s largest CRO, Quintiles, and many others, including INC Research in Raleigh.

Bieler says it made sense to base Synteract’s East Coast operations in the Triangle. “It’s a good area to be in for business development, finding employees and client support, he says.

Synteract specializes in contract research work for smaller, niche biotech firms, particularly those working on cancer drugs and those that treat central nervous system illnesses. Since the company was founded in 1995, it has worked with more than 90 biotech firms on more than 800 trials.

The company employs about 300 people at its headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif., at the Morrisville office and at an office opened in August 2009 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Bieler would not disclose annual revenue for the company, but a Hoover’s Inc. report pegs Synteract’s 2008 revenue at $14.4 million. In 2008, Gryphon Investors announced a recapitalization of Synteract, but it did not disclose terms of the deal. Bieler says the company has used venture capital and outside financing to make acquisitions and to fund organic growth in the past. He says the company’s income from operations is sufficient to cover salaries and daily expenses.

In Morrisville, Synteract has options to add another 20,000 square feet of space to its contract if demand exceeds expectations in the next couple of years, says Lee Clyburn, senior vice president of Grubb & Ellis/Thomas Linderman Graham, who represented the owner of the building in the lease negotiations.

“For 2011, we’re seeing things turn around,” Bieler says. “It’s going in fits and starts, but we are seeing funding moving forward … ” Todd Cammack, a broker with Insight Property Group in Raleigh, represented Synteract in its negotiations.

Amanda Jones Hoyle Covers
Staff Writer - Triangle Business Journal
Commercial and Residential Real Estate


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