PE-backed Synteract Names Barr CEO

Synteract Inc., a contract research organization backed by San Francisco-based private equity firm Gryphon Investors, has named Wendel Barr chief executive officer Barr succeeds Ellen Morgan, who remains as chairman of the board. Barr most recently served as chief operating officer and executive vice president at Covance.


San Francisco-based private equity firm Gryphon Investors today announced that its portfolio company Synteract, Inc., a full-service, global contract research organization (CRO) dedicated to meeting the clinical research needs of biotechnology, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies, appointed Wendel Barr as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Barr succeeds Synteract Co-Founder Ellen Morgan, who remains as Chairman of the Board.

Barr, 45, has extensive experience in establishing strategy, expanding service and product lines, and improving the efficiencies of operations for companies in the global healthcare market. He most recently served as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Covance, the largest public CRO with $2 billion of revenue, which he joined in 2000. While at Covance, Barr led six global divisions with more than 10,500 employees and oversaw all aspects of their operations, including the execution of strategic partnerships and acquisitions. Prior to Covance, Barr was Vice President and General Manager at Marconi Medical Systems, a $1.6 billion global diagnostic imaging company, and earlier held several positions of increasing responsibility with GE Healthcare.

Nick Orum, President of Gryphon, said, “We are delighted to bring Wendel on board. His expertise in the operations, technology and strategic expansion of healthcare companies will prove instrumental as we pursue new growth opportunities for Synteract. He is the right person to move the company forward at this critical time for the CRO industry.”

“I am pleased to be joining Synteract at this point in its growth phase,” said Mr. Barr. “The company has a great service culture, enthusiastic employees, and wonderful opportunities for expansion. Its superior track record of more than 90 percent repeat and referral business is just the type of foundation on which we can build a global reputation.”

About Synteract
Synteract ( is a privately-held, full-service contract research organization, serving clinical trial needs of biotechnology, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies. Synteract provides high quality, customized service, working closely with drug and device sponsors. Headquartered in California, with offices in North Carolina and Czech Republic, Synteract offers clinical expertise in multiple therapeutic areas, including a strong emphasis in oncology, central nervous system (CNS), cardiovascular, respiratory, and ophthalmology.

About Gryphon Investors
Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors focuses on leveraged acquisitions of, and growth investments in, middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. Having managed more than $1 billion of discretionary equity capital, 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.