AstraZeneca taps Assay Depot to create preclinical service hub

The list of IT vendors and service providers that have yet to strike a deal with AstraZeneca ($AZN) in 2015 keeps getting shorter. Assay Depot is the latest name to cross of the list after the scientific services marketplace agreed to create a private research e-commerce platform for AstraZeneca.

Like AstraZeneca's earlier deals with Elixir Software and Labguru--both of which were inked since the turn of the year--the agreement with Assay Depot is intended to reshape how research teams at the Big Pharma interact with external collaborators. The Assay Depot deal is focused on the creation of AstraZeneca Innovation Marketplace (AIM), a private platform through which researchers at the Anglo-Swedish drug development giant can buy preclinical services. AstraZeneca thinks the platform can save it time by automating legal and administrative tasks associated with service sourcing.

AstraZeneca's Dapo Ajayi

"AIM simplifies the purchase of preclinical services from our external partners. It will make our researchers' lives simpler and give them fingertip access to essential research resources," Dapo Ajayi, AstraZeneca's chief procurement officer, said in a statement. The platform will come to play a central role in the work lives of AstraZeneca's research staffers. "We have made the strategic decision that the AIM platform will be the primary route for AstraZeneca to do business with our preclinical research suppliers in the future," Ajayi said.

When a research staffer needs service support, they can log onto the system to seek quotes and technical details from the 10,000 preclinical suppliers covered by Assay Depot. As AstraZeneca's purchasing system--including legal and billing paperwork--is incorporated into the platform, the lag between identifying a service provider and striking a deal should be shorter than under the old system.

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