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Susan C. Thornton Named President and CEO for Synteract, Inc. (San Diego)

1/6/2009 7:16:07 AM

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, announced today that Susan C. Thornton, Ph.D., has been named President and CEO of Synteract Corporation, the holding company that owns Synteract, Inc. and Vince & Associates Clinical Research (VNA). Synteract Corporation was formed in September, 2008 when Synteract, Inc. and VNA were simultaneously recapitalized and placed under holding company ownership by Gryphon Investors, in partnership with management and Celerity Partners. Both Synteract, Inc. and VNA provide outsourced pharmaceutical services to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

In this newly-created position, Dr. Thornton will oversee the broad operations of the umbrella organization and help Synteract and VNA pursue growth opportunities. Ellen Morgan remains CEO of Synteract, Inc. and Brad Vince remains CEO of VNA. Dr. Thornton is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her appointment is effective immediately.

Dr. Thornton, 56, comes to Synteract with strong managerial experience in life sciences and clinical contract research. She was most recently the Chairman and CEO of Bioverum Partners, a healthcare advisory services firm focused on pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Prior to that, from 2000 to 2005, she worked at MDS, Inc., a Toronto-based global health and life sciences company, in a variety of positions, including President of Global Clinical Research and Central Labs. Her career at MDS culminated with a two-year stint as Executive in Residence at MDS Capital, a leading provider of private equity to the health care and life sciences industry in North America. Before going to MDS, Dr. Thornton held senior positions at SmithKline Beecham Corporation; at IBRD Rostrum, a contract clinical research business; and at IBRD Rostrum’s acquiring company, Phoenix International.

Dr. Thornton holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an M.S. degree in Microbiology and a B.S. degree in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University.

Will Lynn, a Partner at Gryphon Investors, said, “We are thrilled to bring Susan on board. Her broad background in the contract research organization space, including significant international experience, will be instrumental as we begin to explore growth opportunities across both businesses. We welcome her and are eager to start the company’s new year under her leadership.”

Susan Thornton said, “I am truly excited by the possibilities I see at Synteract and Vince. I look forward to helping develop strategies that will enhance our clinical trial and research offerings at a time when the field of drug development holds such promise for both providers and patients.”

About Synteract

Based in Carlsbad, California, Synteract is a leading provider of CRO (contract research organization) services, primarily to biotechnology and medical device companies, and has specific expertise in conducting clinical trials for oncology and central nervous system drugs. Founded in 1995 by Ellen Morgan and Russell Holmes, Synteract provides a full service CRO offering, primarily for Phase I-III clinical trials in the U.S. and internationally. Synteract recently opened an office in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park to support its East Coast and international clients.

About Vince & Associates Clinical Research

Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Vince & Associates Clinical Research is one of the leading providers of clinical trials site services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Since its founding by Dr. Bradley Vince in 2001, VNA has grown to become one of the leading clinical trial services companies in the U.S. VNA specializes in central nervous system trials and sleep disorders research and conducts Phase I-IV clinical trials in a variety of different therapeutic areas with particular strength in recruiting challenging subject populations. It recently expanded its Phase I trial capabilities by opening a dedicated Phase I facility.

About Gryphon Investors

San Francisco-based Gryphon Investors focuses on leveraged acquisitions of, and growth investments in, middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. As manager of approximately $1 billion in cumulative equity commitments, Gryphon has an extensive track record of investing $25 to $75 million of its own capital in companies with sales ranging from $25 to $250 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form proactive partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, professional resources and significant financial and operational expertise. Visit for more information.


Owen Blicksilver Public Relations, Inc. Caroline Luz, 203-656-2829

Source: Gryphon Investors

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