The 'Uber for experiments' group Science Exchange raises $25M

Science Exchange founder and CEO Elizabeth Iorns

Science Exchange--which runs an outsourcing business service for biopharma and smaller life science groups--has raised $25 million in a new Series B funding round as it looks to broaden its offering after a strong 2015.

The CA-based group, which effectively runs a marketplace for scientific research, saw money coming from a number of sources, including Maverick Capital Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, YC Continuity Fund, Sam Altman, and others.

Its business model is set up to allow access to a network of thousands of screened and verified CROs, academic labs, and government facilities that are available to conduct experiments on the behalf of scientists. Or, as The Economist has phrased it, the "Uber for experiments."

The site recruits labs from around the world to list their available services and then invites researchers to browse for their ideal partner. If an individual wanted RNA sequencing done they would type that into a search bar and Science Exchange will list the 22 labs that can help, with prices ranging from $304 to $1,510 per sample. It also has an eBay-style feedback system rating each provider.

While the world's biggest CROs may have an edge over the group, Science Exchange believes it can crack an untapped market of small-time outfits that lack the resources or patience to negotiate intricate deals with the big players.

And it appears to be working: The company has experienced significant growth over the past year after seeing the total transactional volume of experiments conducted through its platform grow over 500% in 2015.

The firm also said that eight of the top 10 pharma companies now use Science Exchange and since its founding in 2011, it has now become the world's leading marketplace for scientific research services.

"Over $40 billion a year is spent on outsourced scientific research by the top 50 pharmaceutical companies alone," said Dr. Elizabeth Iorns, founder and CEO of Science Exchange. "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.

"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."

As part of the funding deal, Maverick Capital Ventures managing partner David Singer--former founder/CEO of Affymetrix ($AFFY), GeneSoft Pharmaceuticals, and Corcept Therapeutics ($CORT)--will also be joining the company's board.

The company has now raised over $30 million and said it plans to use the new funding to expand its team in all areas including product, engineering, sales, marketing, and customer success.

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