The German company Synlab is a provider of pathology services to the NHS in partnership with NHS trusts. The company operates in the UK as both Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP) and Synlab. The company has four partnerships with NHS trusts, including the large 15 year partnership worth £2.25 billion for pathology services to most of south east and central London.
Last updated: March 2023
Synlab, a German company, operates in 36 countries across four continents, employing more than 20,000 members of staff and conducting over 500 million tests per annum.
Synlab as it is today was created by the private equity company Cinven in August 2015, when it combined Labco with synlab. Cinven launched Synlab on the Frankfurt stock exchange in May 2021. In March 2023, Cinven, which owns 43% of Synlab, made an offer for the remaining shares, which would take the company private. Synlab is experiencing a drop in testing business following the slowing down of the Covid pandemic.
Under the leadership of Dr. Bartl Wimmer, founder of Synlab, and since 2018 of CEO Mathieu Floreani, Synlab acquired more than 100 companies/services and expanded its presence to an additional eight countries, including in Latin America and Africa. Today, the Group is active over 37 countries globally and the only player with a presence in the five largest European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, UK). Its most recent acquisition was of the Institute for Pathology and Molecular Pathology Pforzheim in Germany.
Synlab is the leading private provider of pathology services within the NHS. Originally Synlab set up Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP) in 2010 to work in partnership with the NHS to deliver pathology testing services in the UK, and iPP now conducts more than 24 million tests per annum and employs over 600 staff across seven sites in the UK.
As iPP the company offers a full range of diagnostic tests and services ranging from phlebotomy, routine and urgent tests. Since 2010, iPP has formed joint venture (JV) partnerships with five NHS Foundation Trusts in Taunton, Yeovil, Southend, Basildon and the Christie in Manchester. In addition, the company works with CCGs in community testing, point of care testing and phlebotomy.
More recently Synlab has entered partnerships with the NHS under its global name, Synlab.
In May 2021, Cinven launched Synlab on the Frankfurt stock exchange, which raised €400 million. Cinven now has 43% share ownership of Synlab and was reported in March 2023 to be planning on taking Synlab private again.
Synlab grew its revenues to €3.25 billion in fiscal year 2022. EBITDA increased to €753 million in the same period. COVID-19 testing revenue was €790 million. The company made 23 acquisitions in FY 2022, including entering the market in Chile.
Synlab, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King's College
The joint venture between Synlab, a German company, Guy's and St Thomas FT, and King's College Hospital FT began 1 April 2021. The joint venture took over from Viapath, a joint venture between Serco and Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust and King's College Hospital, that was for several years the largest pathology service provider in the UK, processing more than 22 million tests a year in London and Bedford.
In January 2020, Synlab was named as the preferred provider to take over the £2.25 billion, 15 year contract to provide pathology services to most of south east and central London.
In November 2020, Synlab and Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust signed an agreement to act as a joint venture in respect of the South East London Pathology Procurement.
The contract covers the provision of pathology services to South London and Maudsley FT, Oxleas FT, the Royal Brompton and Harefield FT, and to Guy’s and King’s FTs, the two trusts who jointly owned Viapath.
South West Pathology Services (SPS)
Southwest Pathology Services is a joint venture between Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and private sector partner – Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP), a subsidiary of Synlab. The joint venture was established in June 2012, serving a population of 500,000 and over 100 GP practices.
A collaboration between Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals FT and Southend University Hospital FT and the private laboratory Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP), a subsidiary of Synlab, which provides pathology services across south Essex. It was launched in October 2014. Major problems were found with this service during a quality assurance visit in 2017. This led to smear test samples from 2,500 women having to be re-examined.
Christie Pathology Partnership
In 2014, the Christie Pathology Partnership (CPP) was set up as a joint venture between Synlab and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. Synlab operates from within on-site pathology laboratories and serves a population of more than 3.2 million. The laboratories also provide testing, screening and assay development to support The Christie’s early phase clinical trials, with around 200 trials underway at any one time. Over 1 million tests are reported to be carried out per year, including: breast tumour receptor testing; blood sciences (biochemistry, haematology, blood Transfusion, stem cell processing); haematological malignancy diagnostic services; histopathology; oncology cytogenetics; and specialist oncology biochemistry.
In 2012 Synlab was excluded from the procurement process to provide pathology services to Royal Free London FT and UCLH as the company lied - the company said it was in the process of developing a laboratory close to the trusts’ sites which would meet the requirements of the tender but this was not true.