Easing the Bioinformatics Bottleneck: OnRamp Bioinformatics

October 4, 2017 | Posted by Team in Helpful products, Lab Profiles, New Innovations, Research, Uncategorized |

By Natalie Foote, Director of Service Provider Operations, Science Exchange | www.scienceexchange.comOnRamp Bio Logo

According to Tim Wesselman, CEO of today’s featured provider OnRamp Bioinformatics, there are only 15,000 bioinformaticians worldwide today to support more than 2 million biologists and other researchers. As a result, analysis has become the rate-limiting step in next-generation sequencing studies, and very large datasets may go un-analyzed to the point of obsoletion.

To ease this bottleneck, OnRamp Bio offers services that empower researchers with insights that they can understand and put into action.

Software as a service: accessible bioinformatics for non-experts

OnRamp Bio has made significant progress in making bioinformatics accessible to larger numbers of researchers. Earlier this year, OnRamp Bio launched a new software-as-a-service for RNA-Seq analysis, to meet the needs of researchers needing assistance in making decisions based on the large data sets yielded by RNA-Seq experiments.

Genomics big data and complex software analyses have historically required highly trained PhDs in Bioinformatics using complicated command-line tools. OnRamp Bio’s intuitive user interface, automated analyses and robust data management make it faster and easier for scientists, biologists, clinicians and other medical professionals to obtain interpretations of genomic data without the complexity of traditional deployments.

“IT complexity has stood in the way of progress for far too long. We’ve combined our deep knowledge of IT and biology to provide intuitive, integrated systems and services that accelerate mainstream adoption of NGS analyses within biotech and pharma,” said Tim Wesselman, CEO of OnRamp Bio. “For institutions focused on drug discovery, cancer research, diagnostic, or therapeutic development, OnRamp Bio can help show how to implement next generation sequencing to securely build into future research, while getting immediate answers more cost-efficiently.”

In addition to offering end-to-end genomic analysis services, OnRamp Bio recently made the news when it launched Rosalind™, the first-ever software platform specifically designed to simplify genomic analysis (named for one of the researchers who discovered the double helix structure of DNA).

Faces of OnRamp Bioinformatics

Jeremy Davis-Turak OnRamp BioJeremy Davis-Turak, VP of Bioinformatics, earned his Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology in the lab of Dr. Alexander Hoffmann at UCSD, researching kinetic models of co-transcriptional splicing.  In his studies, Dr. Davis-Turak developed analyses for RNA-seq, nascent RNA-seq, GRO-seq and MNase-seq that were intimately linked with mechanistic models.  He set up the Bioinformatics Core at the San Diego Center for Systems Biology, optimizing pipeline for RNA-seq and ChIP-seq.  

 

Jean Lozach OnRamp BioJean Lozach, Chief Technology Officer, joined OnRamp Bio after more than 25 years experience in Genomics, Bioinformatics and Information Technology at Illumina and UCSD. Jean brought deep experience and knowledge of biology, wet lab operations, microarrays, and next generation sequencing together with advanced bioinformatics, software development and enterprise IT infrastructure. Jean is recognized as an industry expert in genomics and bioinformatics, and has led tens of successful customer deployments of next generation sequencing and informatics systems.

Roshni Patel OnRamp BioRoshni Patel, Bioinformatician, has helped complete many projects for OnRamp Bio’s clients. She earned her BS of Bioinformatics from the University of California at San Diego, and she is passionate about breaking down workflow complexity, improving data metrics and visualization.

 

 

What Science Exchange Requesters are saying about OnRamp Bioinformatics

OnRamp Bio’s storefront shows several testimonials from Science Exchange requesters. One review, in particular, applauds both the breadth and quality of their services: “I highly recommend OnRamp for their Bioinformatics expertise. I have worked with them on several genomics and metagenomics projects and the team is professional, completes the work on deadline and budget, and generated results we hadn’t expected. OnRamp will work with you every step of the way, from project inception, through interfacing with sequencing partners, through developing novel informatics solutions for your project. OnRamp’s bioinformatics platform has many unique attributes that make it appealing, but their data and analysis tracking is just amazing: provenance for all your analyses from the minute the sequences arrive.”

 

Visit the OnRamp Bio storefront today to request some quotes!

 

Covance Nonclinical Services Now Listed On Science Exchange

June 14, 2017 | Posted by Team in Company, Drug Discovery, Science Exchange News, Uncategorized |

Covance   +  Science Exchange

 

Biopharma scientists seeking to outsource nonclinical studies have a new way to access the scientific expertise of Covance, a market leader in drug development. Covance’s nonclinical scientific services – including lead optimization, safety assessment, drug metabolism and bioanalytical solutions – are now available through Science Exchange. Scientists can order available study services from Covance by visiting the Covance Storefront on ScienceExchange.com. Or they can contact the Science Exchange Concierge Service to have a Sourcing Manager prepare custom quotes and provide start-to-finish project management.

Scientists from around the world already use Science Exchange to save time and money by ordering services from our network of more than 6400 pre-qualified service providers. With Covance joining the Science Exchange network, scientists can further benefit by being able to easily access the deep nonclinical scientific expertise of one of the world’s top CROs through the convenience of the Science Exchange platform. 

In addition, researchers at companies who have established enterprise-level Master Service Agreements (MSAs) with Science Exchange can get projects started with Covance almost instantly.

As an introductory offer, through September 30, 2017, requesters can take advantage of special fast study starts on select GLP Toxicology in vivo studies or full IND/CTA-enabling packages available from Covance, ordered through the Science Exchange platform.  

Request a quote today — access nonclinical scientific services from Covance through the Covance Storefront on Science Exchange.

 

* To be eligible for introductory offer, work must begin by September 30, 2017. Additional terms and conditions apply.  This is a limited time, limited capacity offer – Covance reserves the right to end these promotions at any time, without notice.

Navigating the Fragmented Outsourced Manufacturing Sector

May 30, 2017 | Posted by Team in New Innovations, Outsourcing Best Practices, Research, Uncategorized |

Contract manufacturing of pharmaceuticals is growing rapidly and has recently seen an uptick in merger and acquisition activity, such as Thermo Fisher’s bid to acquire Patheon.  Despite the consolidation, outsourced pharmaceutical manufacturing remains a fragmented market, as outlined in a recent report and summary. Discovering and qualifying outsourced service providers is already challenging, and the persistent fragmentation compounds the challenges.

Science Exchange has a unique vantage point for evaluating contract manufacturing services based on our diverse client base and the associated customer experience scorecard data we gather. In this post, we share our insights around navigating the complex contract manufacturing sector.

Demand for contract manufacturing services

The high demand for external manufacturing capacity and expertise is one driving force behind the proliferation of CMOs and CDMOs. According to a 2016 survey, biopharma organizations cite the need to improve quality as the primary reason for using contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) and contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs). Additional goals for outsourcing include reducing time to market, controlling costs, achieving supply chain diversity, leveraging regulatory expertise, and accessing specialized technologies, including those required for complex biologics manufacturing processes.

Competition between CMOs: Innovative manufacturing services

Competition in the marketplace is driving CMOs to develop innovative manufacturing technologies to capture new service categories — choosing a cutting-edge CMO partner can give a biopharma company advantages over its competitors.

Many CMOs and CDMOs have adopted process improvements to provide their clients with faster cycle times and more informed decision-making. These improvements include cloud-based computing, real-time risk-monitoring tools, and integrated quality-by-design during process development. Such process improvements are especially important given the ability of multiple CMOs to manufacture the same API. Nearly 90% of the volume of drugs sold are generic small molecule therapeutics, requiring high production capacity that may be provided by any number of CMOs.

Other CMOs differentiate themselves through specialized expertise – for example, they may be leaders in developing novel formulations, such as nanoparticles or lipid-based delivery systems. Some CMOs offer specialized regulatory certifications, such as CLIA/CAP, GLP, and GCP. Although cGMP compliance is not absolutely required for all CMOs, most reputable CMOs are cGMP certified.

Contract manufacturing of biologics and complex therapeutics: a growth opportunity

It has been challenging to outsource the manufacture of biologics, such as vaccines, therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, and cell therapies, and non-biological complex drugs. These fast-growing segments are faced with regulatory hurdles, a need for specialized drug delivery devices, and inherent risks involved in method transfer and ensuring consistent supply.

Despite the challenges of method transfer, technological improvements are facilitating partnerships between biopharma companies and CMOs in biologics pipelines. Emerging categories of therapeutics, such as cell therapies and antibody-drug conjugates, as well as novel formulations, such as nanoparticles, have benefited from specialized manufacturers. Even though some of these specialty drug products may require bespoke manufacturing processes, CMOs stay agile through integrated quality-by-design during process development and take advantage of connected single-use technologies for streamlined yet flexible bioprocessing.

Barriers facing discovery and qualification of manufacturing service providers

The demand for contract manufacturing, combined with the growth opportunities around innovation and biologics, have resulted in a marketplace with thousands of active CMOs and CDMOs. It can be time-consuming and difficult to identify qualified service providers with the right certifications to meet regulatory compliance requirements. Though many service providers are staffed by innovative, highly qualified scientists with experience in the biopharma industry, many service providers lack such expertise.

Because there are no clear third-party qualification processes or objective benchmarks for quality, and because biopharma companies lack the time to perform regulatory compliance audits of all the service providers in this fragmented sector, over 68% of biopharma companies use a preferred provider strategy for outsourced manufacturing. Relying on preferred providers may decrease the agility of companies to take advantage of emerging technologies.

For contract manufacturing to add maximum value to an organization, responsible teams should consider adhering to a defined sourcing strategy.

Checklist for a successful contract manufacturing partnership

To maximize the advantages offered by a successful CMO partnership, the procurement and external resource management teams of a biopharma company must ensure that their sourcing strategy includes:

  • Keeping abreast of emerging technologies and service providers;
  • Stringently qualifying service providers based on turnaround time, product quality, cost, and regulatory compliance;
  • Identifying service gaps and assessing value of existing preferred providers;
  • Streamlining the contracting process to enable rapid onboarding of innovative service providers;
  • Establishing contracts that protect intellectual property and confidentiality, to maintain competitive advantage and minimize risk;
  • Managing project milestones to ensure that projects are completed on time and as planned;
  • Keeping meticulous records so that methods can be transferred in house or to other service providers as needed.

Science Exchange  streamlines management of strategic manufacturing partnerships

Science Exchange, the largest marketplace for outsourced scientific services, enables biopharma companies to rapidly find and order cutting-edge technologies and services from a proprietary network of 2500+ qualified service providers, including many providers of contract manufacturing services.

Science Exchange’s Provider Management Team continually seeks to build its network by adding high-quality, innovative service providers with cutting-edge expertise in emerging manufacturing technologies.

Science Exchange’s dedicated staff scientists on our Sourcing Team help biopharma manufacturing teams find the best service provider for each scope of work, obtain multiple competitive quotes, and provide end-to-end project management. By using Science Exchange, manufacturing teams save hours or days per project that they would otherwise spend identifying providers, obtaining quotes, and managing projects.

Science Exchange mitigates inherent risks of outsourced manufacturing; all service providers on the platform are pre-qualified through a stringent vetting process and provides information on past performance, using an ISO 9001 Quality Systems-certified process.

Manufacturing scientists at top biopharma companies are already using Science Exchange to access hundreds of qualified specialty providers. The platform is enabling these scientists to order services from known and new manufacturing service providers, such as ImQuest, Almac Sciences, Recipharm, ChemPartner, Synovel Laboratory, Bioneer A/S, Solvias AG, WuXi AppTec, Lonza, and Piramal.

Contact Science Exchange today to discuss your manufacturing needs.

Mass Spec: Shedding Light on Cancer Biomarkers with Century-Old Technology

October 5, 2016 | Posted by Christina Cordova in Research, Stories, Uncategorized |

Imagine telling the inventor of the radio that the technology he discovered was now found in almost every kitchen in America, and that you used it to make your popcorn last night. He’d probably be surprised, and maybe you are, too.  Sound far-fetched? Many aspects of modern life rely on technology that was first identified by 19th century physicists and then adapted to new applications. This not only includes microwave ovens from the example above, but state-of-the-art lab equipment which is poised to change the way researchers treat cancer. It might be hard to imagine cutting-edge discoveries in proteomics or precision medicine are the result of technology first conceived over a hundred years ago, but that’s what a new application called proteomic mass spectrometry imaging is doing for cancer diagnostic tests.

Many life scientists utilize research tools built on principles first explored and defined by physics, and mass spectrometry is a particularly impactful example. The technology we now use to measure mass-to-charge ratios of ions for the purpose of molecular analysis was first developed by J.J. Thomson on an instrument called a parabolic spectrograph in 1913. The spectrograph generated ions in gas discharge tubes, then passed the ions through parallel electric and magnetic fields. Subjecting the ions to these fields forced them to move in certain parabolic trajectories which would then be recorded on a photographic plate, as seen in the rather beautiful image below.

Discovery_of_neon_isotopesIt was Thomson’s research at the end of the 19th century that lead to the discovery of the electron, work that eventually won him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1906. To hear a 77 year-old Thomson talk about that research (and how very small electrons are at around the 2:50 mark), watch this video filmed in 1934.

Besides the name change (there aren’t any spectrographs in labs these days), mass spectrometry has come a long way technologically. Advances by subsequent researchers made the technology more precise and the resulting output more accurate. In 1920 the first modern mass spectrometer was developed by Arthur Dempster, of uranium isotope fame, and by the 1970s scientists had begun experimenting with joining liquid chromatography techniques to the process. In 1989 the first LC-MS instrument was launched, securing it as a ubiquitous technique now in its third decade of use. The staying power of this technology is due to its versatility; it is able to directly analyze any biological molecule receptive to ionization. Scientists can use LC-MS to better understand the molecular structure of everything from wastewater to skin cream. The data collected during analysis can inform evaluation of product effectiveness, environmental toxins, or the function of a protein. For this reason it provides valuable research applications in environmental analysis, consumer products, agriculture, and in this case, precision medicine.

Now a bona fide buzzword, the concept of precision medicine was catapulted into the social vernacular in 2015 when President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative in his State of the Union Address. In practice, precision medicine isn’t entirely new; physicians and researchers have long understood the importance of individualized factors in treating or diagnosing patients. The concept of blood type matching and bone marrow donation registries are both examples of precision medicine we have accepted as standard treatments. Advances in biotechnology are ushering in a new emphasis on specialized medicine and carry with it the hope of more effective diagnostics and treatments for ailments like cardiovascular disease and cancer. Much of this promise rests on discoveries being made in the field of proteomics, particularly about the role of proteins in healthy cells versus diseased cells. The form, function, and interaction of these proteins can indicate the presence of disease, identify molecular therapeutic targets, and help define molecular disease taxonomies for future research. Finding a measurable indicator for any of these biological states is called a biomarker, making it the focus of many proteomics and cancer researchers.

It turns out, a very familiar technology is proving to be the best tool for unlocking the largely unknown world of proteins. LC-MS breaks down the complicated protein structures from their three dimensional form, and then into even smaller units called peptides. The quantitative analysis of these peptides makes it possible for scientists to identify protein expression profiles associated with certain cancers. Clinically viable biomarker panels could greatly increase early detection and definitive disease identification in patients, both of which are known to improve patient survival rate. This specificity in diagnosis allows patients and physicians to be better informed when making treatment decisions by understanding the disease on a molecular level. Biomarkers can improve standard differential diagnosis descriptions, which up to now have largely included physical symptoms that manifest at later stages of disease development, like metastasis. Some diseases like malignant melanoma present in very cryptic ways, making them difficult to diagnose, even for highly trained dermatopathologists. Inconclusive biopsy results or histological features that are also found in non-cancerous moles complicate diagnosis and can lead to costly mistakes in the course of treatment for such a common and potentially deadly disease. According to the American Cancer Society over 10,000 people will die this year from the disease, making it the most lethal of all skin cancers. A collaborative research project between Yale scientists and Protea Biosciences is seeking to change that with a new diagnostic technology. In April of this year they announced exclusive licensing for a method which uses unique protein expression profiles to discern the presence of cancer. The results of the first clinical study were presented in 2015, showing 99 percent accuracy in identifying malignant melanoma and benign melanocytic nevi.

Achievements like this highlight the benefit of partnerships between academia and industry, which are becoming more common in many sectors of biotechnology. If precision medicine is to become a reality, it will have to tackle complex disease models that have historically confounded individual pharmaceutical companies or research labs. Open innovation between researchers on both sides advances scientific discovery and expedites successful clinical implementation of potentially life-saving drugs. As scientists work on more complicated human health issues, they will need to find collaborators who are best suited to solve the research objective at hand, while accessing novel technologies best suited for the job.

Just as the concept of precision medicine has expanded with scientific discoveries in biotechnology, the technique of mass spectrometry has evolved to address new research questions with advances in bioinformatics and lab technology. Deciphering the human proteome is still a ways off, but innovative techniques and research partnerships will surely have a role to play in unlocking the power of proteomics for human health. As LC-MS capabilities continue to improve, new disease diagnostics and treatments will be added to the arsenal of options available to physicians. The next time you hear about an advancement in precision medicine (or pop a bag of popcorn), thank a physicist.

Looking for a cutting-edge collaborator like Protea to help with your research project? Visit our marketplace to find the right provider for your mass spec analysis, or any of the thousands of experiment types we offer.

The Importance of Replication Studies

July 28, 2016 | Posted by Team in Company, Reproducibility, Research, Science Exchange News, Uncategorized |

My TEDMED talk about scientific reproducibility was released today, so I wanted to take the opportunity to provide some additional thoughts about the importance of replication studies.

Every year, billions of dollars are spent funding biomedical research, resulting in more than one million new publications presenting promising new results. This research is the foundation upon which new therapies will be developed to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.

In order to build upon this foundational research, these results must be reproducible. Simply put, this means that when an experiment is repeated, similar results are observed. Over the last five years, multiple groups have raised concerns over the reproducibility of biomedical studies, with some estimates indicating only ~20% of published results may be reproducible (Scott et al. 2008, Gordon et al. 2007, Prinz et al. 2011, Steward et al. 2012, Begley and Ellis 2012). The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest public funder of biomedical research, has stated, “There remains a troubling frequency of published reports that claim a significant result, but fail to be reproducible. As a funding agency, the NIH is deeply concerned about this problem”.

Despite the growing concern over lack of reproducibility, funding for replication studies, the only way to determine reproducibility, is still absent. With no funding systematically allocated to such studies, scientists almost never conduct replication studies. It would be interesting to obtain the exact numbers, but it appears that last year the NIH allocated $0 to funding replication studies, out of a $30B+ budget. In the absence of replication studies, scientists end up wasting precious time and resources trying to build on a vast, unreliable body of knowledge.

It is easy to see why funders might shy away from funding replication studies. Funders want to demonstrate their “impact,” and it is tempting for them to solely focus on funding novel exploratory findings that can more easily be published in high profile journals. This is a mistake. Funders should instead focus on how to truly achieve their stated goals of enhancing health, lengthening life, and reducing the burdens of illness and disability. Although allocating a portion of funding towards replication studies would divert funds from new discoveries, it would enable scientists to efficiently determine which discoveries were robust and reproducible and which were not. This would allow more rapid advancements by allowing scientists to build upon the most promising findings and avoid wasting their time and funding pursuing non-robust results.

Some researchers find the idea of replicating previous studies unnecessary or even offensive. However, it is the responsibility of the scientific community, including funders, to work as quickly and cost effectively as possible to make progress. Introducing replication studies as part of the process provides an effective way to enable this.

If you would like to see funding specifically allocated for replication studies, please register your support. We will share this information with funders in the hope that it will encourage them to establish funding programs specifically for replication studies to improve the speed and efficiency of progress in biomedical research.

by Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D.

CEO and Co-Founder

Science Exchange

About Science Exchange

 

Science Exchange is the world’s leading marketplace for outsourced research. The Science Exchange network of 3000+ scientific service providers has run the experiments for the major replication studies that have been conducted to date including the largest biomedical replication study undertaken (Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology). Additional details are available here: https://www.scienceexchange.com/applications/reproducibility

 

References

  1. https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/what-we-do/budget#note
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
  3. https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/what-we-do/mission-goals
  4. Scott et al. Amyotroph Lateral Scler. 9, 4-15 (2008)
  5. Gordon et al. Lancet Neurol. 6, 1045–1053 (2007)
  6. Prinz et al. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 10, 712 (2011)
  7. Stuart et al. Experimental Neurology 233, 597–605 (2012)
  8. Begley and Ellis. Nature. 483, 531-3 (2012)
  9. http://www.nature.com/news/policy-nih-plans-to-enhance-reproducibility-1.14586
  10. http://www.nature.com/news/reproducibility-the-risks-of-the-replication-drive-1.14184

 

 

Science Exchange Acquires OnDeckBiotech to Expand Scientific Services Marketplace in Biotech Industry

June 7, 2016 | Posted by Team in Company, Science Exchange News, Uncategorized |

Science Exchange, the world’s leading marketplace for scientific research, announced today that it has acquired OnDeckBiotech, an international community and marketplace that connects biopharmaceutical companies with contract service providers. The acquisition brings together two of the major platforms for outsourced scientific services, and strengthens Science Exchange’s market-leading position by significantly increasing its global network of contract research organizations, core facilities, and other scientific service suppliers.

“Over $40B a year is spent on outsourced scientific research by the top 50 pharmaceutical companies alone, and much of this spend is highly fragmented across thousands of individual scientific service suppliers. Platforms for outsourced scientific services, like Science Exchange and OnDeckBiotech, solve the challenges associated with this fragmentation by providing scientists with efficient access to a diverse network of qualified suppliers under a single relationship,” said Dr. Elizabeth Iorns, Co-founder & CEO of Science Exchange. In praising the fit of the two companies, Iorns added, “OnDeckBiotech has developed a number of strategic relationships with industry groups and research foundations which complement the direct channels Science Exchange has developed with biopharmaceutical, government, and academic researchers.” OnDeckBiotech’s relationships, which include MassBio through the MassBio Gateway, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) through BIO BizLink, and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) through ADDF ACCESS, will continue to be supported by Science Exchange as part of its strategy to become the ubiquitous platform for scientific outsourcing across all disease areas and stages of research and development.

As part of the acquisition, Science Exchange will take over OnDeckBiotech’s office in Cambridge, MA, giving Science Exchange a physical presence in two of the world’s largest and fastest growing biotech research clusters. “Science Exchange already works with 8 of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies, many of which have invested heavily in these two clusters.  Now with offices in Palo Alto and Cambridge, in addition to Account Managers operating remotely in San Diego, New York, and other core markets, our team is uniquely positioned to help researchers inside these organizations access the world’s leading scientific service providers and most innovative scientific technologies,” said Iorns.

OnDeckBiotech’s Founder & CEO, Cliff Culver, will join Science Exchange as VP, Strategy and General Manager, Boston as part of the acquisition. “Cliff has been a visionary in the outsourced scientific services space, and we’re incredibly excited for him to join our team and continue our joint mission of enabling better, faster, and more efficient scientific collaboration,” said Dan Knox, Co-founder & COO of Science Exchange. Culver added, “We can’t wait to get started working with Science Exchange. The industry consistently reports that time and effort spent identifying and managing outsourced contracts hurts research productivity. Our companies have each demonstrated the value we can create by addressing these challenges, and our combined platforms and networks are uniquely positioned to continue to lead the market.”

Iorns concluded, “The total transactional volume of experiments conducted through the Science Exchange platform grew over 500% in 2015, and the OnDeckBiotech acquisition will further accelerate our already remarkable growth in 2016.”

About Science Exchange

Since its founding in 2011, Science Exchange has become the world’s leading marketplace for scientific research. Through Science Exchange, researchers can securely access a network of 1,000s of screened and verified contract research organizations (CROs), academic labs, and government facilities that are available to conduct scientific experiments. Science Exchange has been used by researchers from over 2,500 different companies and organizations, including many large pharmaceutical companies and government research facilities like the NIH, the FDA, and NASA. The company’s mission is to enable breakthrough scientific discoveries by providing researchers with easy access to the world’s best service providers. To date, the company has raised over $30 million from Maverick Capital Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, OATV, the YC Continuity Fund, and others.

Science Exchange Announces $25 Million in New Funding Led by Maverick Capital Ventures

March 23, 2016 | Posted by Team in Company, Science Exchange News, Uncategorized |

Science Exchange, the leading marketplace for scientific research, announced today that it has raised $25 million in new funding. The latest funding round was led by Maverick Capital Ventures and also included participation from Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, YC Continuity Fund, Sam Altman, and others.

Since its founding in 2011, Science Exchange has become the world’s leading marketplace for scientific research services. The company provides secure access to a network of 1000s of screened and verified contract research organizations (CROs), academic labs, and government facilities that are available to conduct experiments on the behalf of scientists. The Science Exchange platform has been used by scientists from over 2,500 different companies and organizations. The company has experienced significant growth in the last 12 months, including seeing the total transactional volume of experiments conducted through the Science Exchange platform grow over 500% in 2015.

“Over $40B a year is spent on outsourced scientific research by the top 50 pharmaceutical companies alone. Much of this spend is highly fragmented across thousands of individual scientific service suppliers, and this fragmentation represents a challenge to both individual scientists and sourcing procurement departments,” said Dr. Elizabeth Iorns, Founder & CEO of Science Exchange. “The Science Exchange platform solves this challenge: we provide scientists with efficient access to a diverse network of qualified suppliers under a single relationship, and at the same time we provide sourcing departments with more information and control over their outsourcing spend.”

8 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies now use Science Exchange, viewing it as a way to efficiently access innovative external resources. Science Exchange also helps tackle one of the most significant challenges facing the highly-trained researchers at these companies: time and resources spent identifying and managing outsourcing contracts. James Lillie, VP In Vitro Biology at Genzyme (a Sanofi company), was recently quoted as saying, “We now look at the Science Exchange as the best way of finding new outsourcing opportunities with collaborators and CROs. We’re shifting more of our efforts for new outsourcing contracts there.”

As part of the Series B, Maverick Capital Ventures Managing Partner David Singer (former Founder/CEO of Affymetrix, GeneSoft Pharmaceuticals, and Corcept Therapeutics) will join the company’s board. “We spent a lot of time evaluating the growing market for outsourced scientific services. We concluded first, that there is an expanding market need for a marketplace to aggregate the thousands of suppliers, and second, that Science Exchange is poised to become the ubiquitous platform for scientific outsourcing,” said Singer.

Andy Weissman, Partner at Union Square Ventures, who has been on the company’s board since 2013, agrees. “With over 500% growth in marketplace transaction volume in 2015 and some companies already spending over $1M each month on the platform, Science Exchange is the clear market leader,” said Weissman.

Science Exchange is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, and has clients, including many large pharmaceutical companies, around the globe. The company has now raised over $30 million and plans to use the new funding to expand its team in all areas including product, engineering, sales, marketing, and customer success. The full list of investors in the latest round is Maverick Capital Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, OATV, YC Continuity Fund, Windham Venture Partners, Collaborative Fund, Fenwick & West, Jose Suarez (CEO of TEDMED), Sam Altman, Steve Case, Kal Vepuri, Jenny Haeg, Alexander Levy, Paul Buchheit, and Silicon Valley Bank.

 

 

 

The UCLA Microarray Core just received new HiSeq 3000 and HiSeq 4000 instruments

September 28, 2015 | Posted by Keith Osiewicz in Uncategorized |

The UCLA Clinical Microarray Core/JCCC Genomics Shared Resource (CMC/GSR), directed by Dr. Xinmin Li, just received new Illumina HiSeq 3000 and HiSeq 4000 instruments. These instruments greatly expand the lab’s ability to sequence nucleic acids and perform many next generation sequencing applications including whole genome and whole exome sequencing. Here is a table from the Illumina website describing the capabilities of these new instruments.

illumina-3-4-use

View all of the the UCLA Microarray Core’s services.

 

The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology – Experiments have begun

July 10, 2015 | Posted by Keith Osiewicz in Uncategorized |

The RPCB is a first of its kind attempt to directly replicate a subset of high-impact, pre-clinical cancer biology papers. Importantly, the methodology, quality control steps and replication data will be open and accessible on the Open Science Framework.

We are very excited to report that 13 Registered Reports have been accepted in eLife, and experiments from 12 of those studies are underway. These include:

  • Registered Report: BET bromodomain inhibition as a therapeutic strategy to target c-Myc
  • Registered Report: Interactions between cancer stem cells and their niche govern metastatic colonization
  • Registered Report: Coadministration of a tumor-penetrating peptide enhances the efficacy of cancer drugs
  • Registered Report: Discovery of preclinical validation of drug indications using compendia of public gene expression data
  • Registered Report: Intestinal inflammation targets cancer-inducing activity of the microbiota
  • Registered Report: Tumour vascularization via endothelial differentiation of glioblastoma stem-like cells
  • Registered Report: The CD47-signal regulatory protein alpha (SIRPa) interaction is a therapeutic target for human solid tumors
  • Registered Report: Transcriptional amplification in tumor cells with elevated c-Myc
  • Registered Report: Senescence surveillance of pre-malignant hepatocytes limits liver cancer development
  • Registered Report: Widespread potential for growth-factor-driven resistance to anticancer kinase inhibitors
  • Registered Report: Tumour micro-environment elicits innate resistance to RAF inhibitors through HGF secretion
  • Registered Report: Melanoma genome sequencing reveals frequent PREX2 mutations

Before each replicating lab begins experimental work, critical reagents (often kindly shared by authors of the original studies) are quality checked. For example, all of the cell lines are authenticated and mycoplasma tested, plasmid sequences are sequenced, and rodents are pathogen tested. These quality check steps will be included on the Open Science Framework along with the data for the replication experiments themselves.

 

Tracking Our Progress

Keep track here as we continue to move projects forward. Our current status as of July 2015 is described below:

Reproducibility project progress

Phase:

  1. Replication experiments identified for each original paper
  2. Protocols drafted
  3. Protocols transferred to Registered Report format
  4. Review and feedback from original authors (requests for necessary reagents)
  5. Expert provider identified
  6. Registered Report peer reviewed at eLife
  7. Experimental work
  8. Experiment work is finished
  9. Replication experiments analyzed and evaluated
  10. Replication Study published in eLife

About Science Exchange

We are transforming scientific collaboration by creating a marketplace where scientists can order experiments from the world's top labs.

Check the Science Exchange blog for updates, opinions, guest posts and the latest happenings at Science Exchange HQ!

Visit Science Exchange →

Subscribe to the blog
Never miss a post! Science Exchange blog posts delivered right to your inbox.
Thank you for joining the SciEx revolution!
Powered By WPFruits.com