Innovation Drives Operational Challenges that Impact R&D Productivity

December 21, 2017 | Posted by Team in Outsourcing Trends |

by Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder, Science Exchange
Originally appeared in the 2017 Fierce Life Science Innovation Report (download PDF)

Fierce LS Innovation Report

R&D productivity and efficiency are key measures for evaluating the success of biotech and pharma companies. In theory, investing resources into R&D to boost those measures should yield positive results. Unfortunately, recent trends suggest a less desirable outcome.

A primary driver of the R&D productivity decline is the prolific growth in innovative therapeutic modalities. The first siRNA therapeutics, CAR-T engineered cells, and viral gene therapies have all been approved by the FDA within the past 2 years alone.  This innovation in the biotech and pharma industry has enabled spectacular successes in the treatment of devastating diseases, but it comes with significant operational challenges.

In contrast to the well-known development process for small molecules, these new highly specialized therapeutics require exponentially more diverse and complex technologies and expertise.  So how do biotech and pharma companies access this evolving set of technology and expertise?  Increasingly, they have shifted to a reliance on an external R&D ecosystem.  By outsourcing, companies can manage fixed costs while accessing specialized technologies, particularly in complex R&D areas. As of 2017, nearly half of R&D budgets are spent on outsourced scientific services and the trend is increasing.

But, several challenges prevent companies from realizing returns on their outsourcing investments.

  • First: even though outsourcing represents a rapid path to new technologies, identifying relevant and qualified service providers is a time-consuming task that can take weeks or even months.
  • Second: contracts required to maintain confidentiality, protect IP, and ensure compliance can delay project initiation and add to transaction costs.
  • Third: R&D organizations may have thousands of individual scientists conducting tens of thousands of outsourced R&D projects each year. Maintaining visibility, monitoring performance, measuring success represent a significant management burden.

Science Exchange directly addresses these challenges and has demonstrated a significant impact on productivity and efficiency in R&D programs around the world.  The Science Exchange platform uniquely provides a marketplace of pre-qualified and pre-contracted outsourced R&D service providers to provide scientists with instant access to the innovative services necessary to advance today’s pipeline.  

Get help leading change at your organization: request a demo of the Science Exchange  platform.

Science Exchange Wins Two Gold Stevie® Awards in 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

November 21, 2017 | Posted by Team in News |

Dr. Elizabeth Iorns Honored as Female Entrepreneur of the Year and Science Exchange as Most Innovative Company of the Year

Gold Stevie Award 2017 Science Exchange

Palo Alto, CA – November 21, 2017 — Science Exchange, the world’s leading and most secure enterprise platform for outsourced research and development (R&D), today announced that CEO and Co-Founder Dr. Elizabeth Iorns, has been named the winner of the Gold Stevie® Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year. In addition, Science Exchange has been named Most Innovative Company of the Year at the 14th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives, employees and the organizations they run. The 2017 awards received over 1500 entries from 25 nations and territories; winners were recognized at a November 17 event in New York City.

Dr. Elizabeth Iorns founded Science Exchange in 2011 and has built a global company that has raised over $58M in venture funding. Dr. Iorns has led Science Exchange to rapid growth with enterprise partnerships with the most innovative R&D focused Fortune 100 companies. Science Exchange provides a technology platform for efficient access to the world’s best external R&D partners. Through Science Exchange, scientists can instantly connect and order outsourced scientific projects from over 2,500 top research facilities available under the Science Exchange contract.

“I am honored to receive the Stevie award and be recognized among other inspiring women and companies around the world,” said Dr. Elizabeth Iorns, co-founder and CEO of Science Exchange. “I am also extremely proud of the teams at Science Exchange that work tirelessly with our clients on their outsourced R&D projects to accelerate scientific discovery.”

“The judges were so impressed with the accomplishments of all of the Stevie Award-winning women and organizations. The 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business received a record number of nominations and had a record number of ceremony attendees,” said Michael Gallagher, founder and president of the Stevie Awards. “We congratulate all of this year’s Grand, Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners for their achievements.”

Details about the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the list of Stevie Award winners are available at www.StevieAwards.com/Women.  

 

Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., CEO of Science Exchange Elected to the Board of Directors of the Drug, Chemical & Associated Technologies Association (DCAT)

November 15, 2017 | Posted by Team in News |

Elizabeth Iorns elected to DCAT Board

PALO ALTO, CA, November 15, 2017 Science Exchange, the world’s leading and most secure enterprise platform for outsourced research and development (R&D) services, announced today that Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., CEO of Science Exchange, has been elected to serve her first term on the Board of Directors of the Drug, Chemical & Associated Technologies Association (DCAT) beginning November 1, 2017.  Members of DCAT’s Board of Directors are charged with the important work of guiding the organization’s strategic initiatives and activities.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Iorns join the Board of Directors,” said DCAT Executive Director Margaret Timony. “She brings a unique mix of leadership experiences that will add a valuable perspective to the board.”

“I am honored to join the board and work together with this great team to address key initiatives related to the pharmaceutical industry,” said Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Science Exchange. “Our mission at Science Exchange is to help accelerate innovation and scientific discoveries, and as a scientist myself, I feel joining DCAT’s board is a perfect opportunity for me to share my ideas and insights to support and advance its programs and services.”

About DCAT

The Drug, Chemical & Associated Technologies Association (DCAT) is a not-for-profit, global business development association whose unique membership model integrates both innovator and generic drug manufacturers and suppliers of ingredients, development and manufacturing services, and related technologies. We are committed to provide programs, events and services that help our members meet their business objectives, expand their network of customers and suppliers, and gain insight into industry trends, markets, and those issues impacting pharmaceutical development and manufacturing.

 

Explore Science Exchange’s network of qualified service providers for:

 

 

Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., Named 2017 Scrip Award Executive of the Year Finalist

November 1, 2017 | Posted by Team in News |

Scrip Award Finalist Elizabeth Iorns

PALO ALTO CA, November 1, 2017 –  Science Exchange, the world’s leading and most secure platform for outsourced research and development (R&D), announced today that company CEO and co-founder Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., has been selected as an Executive of the Year finalist in the prestigious 2017 Scrip Awards.

Dr. Iorns is one of six C-level executives recognized in the Executive of the Year category for private companies or those with a market capitalization of <$1 billion. This awards category acknowledges excellence in the leadership of large and small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies around the world.

A cancer researcher herself, Iorns co-founded Science Exchange in 2011 to streamline R&D outsourcing and facilitate access to qualified, innovative scientific service providers. Because of the robust platform’s clear benefits to R&D organizations, she has successfully negotiated enterprise-level agreements between Science Exchange and many of the world’s top biopharma companies, as well as with numerous biotech and pharma startup incubators. Over the past year, in addition to expanding the company’s reach into other R&D reliant industries like agrisciences and cosmetics, Iorns led the a successful Series C venture capital funding round, bringing an additional $28 million of investment that will allow Science Exchange to accelerate its impressive growth.

Iorns is also the co-director of the Reproducibility Initiative, and is a part-time partner at Y Combinator. She has a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the Institute of Cancer Research (UK), and before starting Science Exchange was an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, where she remains an Adjunct Professor. She has been recognized previously as one of Nature’s “Ten People that Mattered” and WIRED’s “50 Women Who Are Changing The World.”

In its 13th year, the Scrip Awards program recognizes the key roles that pharmaceutical, biotech and other related industries play in improving healthcare around the world. A panel of 16 highly respected and independent experts from across diverse sectors evaluated the award entries to select the finalists. The winners across 16 categories will be announced at the 13th Annual Scrip Awards ceremony at the London Hilton on Park Lane in London, England on November 29, 2017. For more details on the event, visit www.ScripAwards.com.  

Accelerating Innovation and Mitigating Risk in Outsourced R&D

October 25, 2017 | Posted by Team in Outsourcing Trends |

Science Exchange Summit 2017

by Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder, Science Exchange | www.scienceexchange.com

Science Exchange recently hosted a group of procurement executives from multiple industries for our 2017 Science Exchange Outsourced R&D Leadership Summit. During the informative and interactive sessions, we discussed both the challenges and opportunities that organizations are facing as they seek to effectively manage outsourced R&D services.

From presentations by procurement leaders from major pharmaceutical companies on how they’re structuring procurement to enable innovation, to insights on how Science Exchange is pioneering new ways to make it easier to access innovation from our service providers, one of the key themes of the day was the potential for the procurement function to empower scientists to achieve breakthrough discovery. Here are some of my notes around the theme of innovation:

  • Procurement leaders can drive innovation, with the right tools. A pharmaceutical company procurement leader responsible for driving innovation shared that, in less than six months of working with Science Exchange, they had been able to increase their use of new, niche service providers by 11%.
  • Innovation can be hampered by complex processes. Natalie Foote, our Director of Service Provider Operations, presented with two of our service providers — iSpecimen and LabNetwork, a WuXi AppTec company– about new technology integrations with our platform. These integrations allow Science Exchange users to access the iSpecimen and LabNetwork marketplaces through a seamless access point on our platform — no barriers to innovation!
  • Flexible, agile procurement support helps drive innovation. During a panel discussion that I moderated, procurement leaders from three global pharmaceutical companies examined the need to more flexible and agile when it comes to managing R&D requests, and supporting the R&D business through an end-to-end process. They also discussed how their organizations must strategically examine the best mix of internal and external capabilities, core strengths and capacity when it comes to maximizing R&D innovation.

Another theme that surfaced during the Summit was risk mitigation, including the need to better manage confidentiality, data security and intellectual property (IP), and how to prepare for business continuity — whether caused by security breaches or natural disasters. My notes on the theme of risk mitigation:

  • Proactively mitigate risk. During the panel discussion, procurement leaders talked about the need to move beyond a “paper exercise” for managing risk, to a more proactive and rigorous approach to protecting their companies from data and security breaches and business continuity issues. One panelist discussed the drive for holding the business accountable for third-party risk oversight on a global scale, to move beyond that “check the box” mentality.   
  • Balance risk and innovation opportunity. Another panelist emphasized how important it is to strike the delicate balance between managing risk and enabling innovation, to ensure that businesses are protected without slowing down or blocking important scientific discoveries.  
  • Ask the right questions to assess risk. Our Director of Contracts & Compliance, Andrew Gutierrez, highlighted the need to ask the right questions in developing contracts and programs that will protect a company’s confidentiality and IP.He also talked about the need to verify how your data is being protected by your partners to ensure compliance with global regulations.

The Science Exchange Summit gave our entire team an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the needs of global procurement leaders, and our attendees gained insights to bring back to their own organizations, and a network of experts to collaborate with in the future. I look forward to continuing these discussions with our customers so we can continue to learn from one another and accelerate scientific discovery!

Learn more about how Science Exchange can help you — request a demo today.

Science Exchange Honored by Goldman Sachs for Entrepreneurship

October 19, 2017 | Posted by Team in News |

Co-Founder and CEO Elizabeth Iorns Among 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs at 2017 Builders + Innovators Summit

Palo Alto, CA – October 19, 2017 – Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is recognizing Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Science Exchange as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2017 at its Builders + Innovators Summit in Santa Barbara, California.

Goldman Sachs selected Elizabeth as one of 100 entrepreneurs from multiple industries to be honored at the two-day event.

The life sciences research community has been transformed by Elizabeth’s ability to execute upon her vision to transform the procurement and delivery of outsourced R&D services. Thanks to her tenacity and drive, and her deep understanding of the need for improved R&D efficiency, Science Exchange is enabling breakthrough scientific discoveries by providing researchers with an online platform for efficient access to the world’s best outsourced R&D service providers.

“This is a tremendous honor and I’m excited to be recognized by Goldman Sachs along with these other inspiring entrepreneurs,” said Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Science Exchange.  “The work our team at Science Exchange has been doing in outsourced R&D is critical for driving scientific breakthroughs and innovation and I’m proud to lead the team in this charge.”

“We are pleased to recognize Elizabeth Iorns as one of the most intriguing entrepreneurs of 2017,” said David M. Solomon, President and Co-Chief Operating Officer at Goldman Sachs. “This is the sixth year that we’ve hosted the Builders + Innovators Summit where emerging business leaders gather to discuss their common interests in building prosperous organizations.”

For more than 145 years, Goldman Sachs has been advising and financing entrepreneurs as they launch and grow their businesses. In addition to honoring 100 entrepreneurs, the Summit consists of general sessions and clinics led by Goldman Sachs experts, seasoned entrepreneurs, academics and business leaders as well as resident scholars.

About Elizabeth Iorns

Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., is the CEO and Founder of Science Exchange. Elizabeth Iorns has transformed scientific research by radically improving the procurement and delivery of outsourced research and development (R&D) services. Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D. (Institute of Cancer Research, London) was an Assistant Professor at University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, where she investigated breast cancer development and progression, before launching Science Exchange in 2011. Elizabeth’s work has been featured in multiple media outlets, and she regularly speaks at thought leadership events, such as the 2017 TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco, 2017 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening annual meeting and the 2016 MassBio CRO/CMO Symposium. Her recent honors include Nature’s “Ten People that Mattered,” WIRED’s “50 Women Who Are Changing The World,” and the “Kauffman Foundation Emerging Entrepreneur Award.” She is a finalist for 2017 Scrip Executive of the Year Award.

About Science Exchange
Science Exchange is the world’s leading and most secure platform for outsourced research, providing an efficient procure-to-pay platform for ordering 6,000+ services from a network of more than 2,500 qualified scientific service providers, all with pre-established contracts in place that protect client intellectual property and confidentiality. The platform increases access to innovation and improves productivity, freeing scientists from administrative tasks and delays associated with sourcing, establishing and managing service provider contracts. Additionally, the Science Exchange enterprise program enables large R&D organizations to consolidate research outsourcing spend into a single strategic relationship, driving efficiency, improving transparency and oversight, and delivering cost savings. Since being founded in 2011, Science Exchange has raised more than $58 million from Norwest Venture Partners, Maverick Capital Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Collaborative Fund, Index Ventures, OATV, the YC Continuity Fund, and others. For more information, visit www.ScienceExchange.com. Follow the company on Twitter @ScienceExchange.

Two Papers Published in the Online Journal PeerJ; First Step to Reproducing Critical Prostate Cancer Findings.

September 22, 2015 | Posted by Keith Osiewicz in Reproducibility |

Science Exchange published two papers in PeerJ, the online journal, that are being funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation-Movember Foundation Reproducibility Initiative. This initiative seeks to address growing concerns about reproducibility in scientific research by conducting replications of recent papers in the field of prostate cancer.  It is a collaboration between the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Movember Initiative, and Science Exchange.  These two papers represent the first step to reproducing the original experiments. Today’s papers are meant to report what the collaborators will do so the scientific community has a full understanding of the process. PeerJ will publish the final results of the replications.

The first paper, The Androgen Receptor Induces a Distinct Transcriptional Program in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer in Man by Sharma and colleagues, was originally published in Cancer Cell in 2013. Of thousands of targets for the androgen receptor (AR), the authors elucidated a subset of 16 core genes that were consistently down-regulated with castration and re-emerged with castration resistance. These 16 AR binding sites were distinct from those observed in cells in culture. The authors suggested that cellular context can have dramatic effects on downstream transcriptional regulation of AR binding sites. The present study will attempt to replicate Fig. 7C by comparing gene expression of the 16 core genes identified by Sharma and colleagues in xenograft tumor tissue compared to androgen treated LNCaP cells in vitro.

The second paper Androgen Receptor Splice Variants Determine Taxane Sensitivity in Prostate Cancer by Thadani-Mulero and colleagues was published in Cancer Research in 2014. The experiment that will be replicated is reported in Fig. 6A. Thadani-Mulero and colleagues generated xenografts from two prostate cancer cell lines; LuCaP 86.2, which expresses predominantly the ARv567 splice variant of the androgen receptor (AR), and LuCaP 23.1, which expresses the full length AR as well as the ARv7 variant. Treatment of the tumors with the taxane docetaxel showed that the drug inhibited tumor growth of the LuCaP 86.2 cells but not of the LuCaP 23.1 cells, indicating that expression of splice variants of the AR can affect sensitivity to docetaxel.

Labs listed on Science Exchange will perform the lab work. These labs include Nobel Life Sciences, ProNovus Bioscience LLC, and the Stem Cell and Xenograft Core at the University of Pennsylvania.

Experience that led to Science Exchange featured in Science magazine

July 5, 2012 | Posted by Dan in Reproducibility |

Science magazine recently published a short article by Science Exchange Founder & CEO Elizabeth Iorns outlining a specific experience that changed her career goals.

Elizabeth’s article documents her first experience with the systematic bias against reproducibility in the academic research world, which led ultimately to the creation of Science Exchange.

The article is copied below:

During the first year of my postdoctoral fellowship, I had an experience that fundamentally changed my career goals. I worked on a project to extend an exciting discovery, a novel regulator of breast cancer metastasis, which had been recently published in Nature. My excitement turned to despair when I was unable to reproduce the original finding, and after confirming the original finding could not be replicated, I wrote a follow-up paper, which was rejected from NatureScience, and Cell without review. Shockingly, the original authors and even the head of the university where the work was done wrote hostile letters about my failed attempt to reproduce their work (JNCI1 and JNCI2). This experience was my first encounter with the systematic bias against reproducibility in the academic research world, documented by Ioannidis and highlighted by the Bayer and Amgen drug target studies. This experience showed me that the route to career success was not careful, responsible, reproducible work, but rather controversial, and likely false, positive findings. At this point, my career goal turned from the tenure track to the business world, where I’m now building a system to enable and incentivize high quality robust research from academic labs. I hope this system will enable greater translation of robust results into clinical application.

For more, see Elizabeth’s recent post on the issue of the reproducibility of research.

Elizabeth is one of VentureBeat’s “Women Tech Leaders We Love”

July 2, 2012 | Posted by Dan in News |

We were honored that Science Exchange Founder & CEO Elizabeth Iorns was identified as one of 15 “Women Tech Leaders We Love” by VentureBeat last month.

The list (see below for full list) ran alongside a guest post by Karen Purcell about the lack of women in tech being a function of the lack of woman leaders in tech (see Want more women in tech? Get more women leaders in tech). The lack of women in scientific leadership is something Elizabeth feels strongly about and has addressed in a recent blog post.

It is great to see Elizabeth’s contribution as a “science entrepreneur” being acknowledged in this way.

Congrats Elizabeth!

Read the rest of this entry »

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