Science Exchange to offer biotech startups access to outsourced R&D platform

A group of executives work together to solve a puzzle
Biotech startups funded by life sciences accelerator IndieBio will have access to Science Exchange’s network of more than 2,500 R&D service providers. (Getty/ALotOfPeople)

Science Exchange’s outsourced R&D platform has already been used by biopharma big names such as GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche; and now, through an agreement with biotech accelerator IndieBio, the company is offering the same services to some startups.

The partnership will give IndieBio-backed startups access to Science Exchange’s network of more than 2,500 R&D service providers, which includes renowned research institutions and major CROs like Covance, Charles River and WuXi AppTec. This will potentially help “level the playing field” for these fledgling companies with established industry leaders, said Science Exchange in a release.

To sweeten the deal, these startups will also enjoy some exclusively customized services, including on-site scientific support and specialized training services, Science Exchange’s cofounder and CEO Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., told FierceCRO.

Iorns explained to FierceCRO their workflow.

First, scientists or biopharma enterprises search the network and review past performance history. “This allows them to easily identify qualified service providers for their specific request,” Iorns said.

They then get quotes through the platform and can quickly initiate a project with a preestablished supplier contract that protects intellectual property and confidentiality. Science Exchange's in-house audit team also inspects on contracted service providers to make sure that they’re in compliance.

“This increases scientists access to innovation and significantly improves their productivity because they are freed up from the administrative tasks and delays associated with sourcing, establishing and managing service provider contracts,” Iorns said. Besides, Science Exchange also have a team of scientists to help companies straighten out complex projects.

Science Exchange manages a company’s ongoing outsourced R&D activities on the platform through a central system, and when milestones are complete, it can take care of billing and payment, Iorns explained.

“With Science Exchange, the companies in our program now have access to wide range of services, such as comparative data, chemical synthesis and next-gen sequencing, which will help them move their projects ahead more quickly and cost-effectively,” said Jun Axup, Ph.D., science director of IndieBio, in a release.

Based in downtown San Francisco, IndieBio offers a four-month biotech acceleration program, which provides $250,000 in funding, mentorship, as well as working space and biosafety level 1 & 2 labs. The firm has nurtured 67 biotech startups since its initiation in March 2015, and more will come through the next round of program starting this winter.