David Steinberg


Focus: Expert search tool for life sciences
Founded: 2011
Funding: Undisclosed pharma groups
Headquarters: Boston
CEO: David Steinberg

Knode knows something about the needs of Big Pharma. For one, some are so large and complex that scientists can struggle to find peers and others in their own companies that can help them solve problems. And after years of unproductive R&D, many drugmakers have begun to increase their tie-ups with experts from outside of their organizations to aid in product development.

Boston-based Knode, the latest startup to emerge from the pharma-backed Enlight Biosciences, has developed web-based software that enables drug companies and others to search inside and outside of their organizations for top experts in specific fields. The technology involves a mix of semantic mining, big data tools and special algorithms to find the best pros in life sciences from millions of scientific journal articles, patents, clinical trials and other sources.

Founded last year, Knode has funding from an undisclosed group of drugmakers. Interim CEO David Steinberg isn't saying who's backing the company, yet the startup was spun off from Enlight, which has a consortium of biopharma funders that includes AstraZeneca/MedImmune ($AZN), Abbott Labs ($ABT), Eli Lilly ($LLY), Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Merck ($MRK), Novo Nordisk ($NVO) and Pfizer ($PFE). And typically Enlight's startups get backing from members of this who's-who list of drugmakers, so take your guess which pharma outfits are financing Knode.

As of late May, several drugmakers and others were using a test version of Knode's web-based software for expert searches, Steinberg says. Plans are to launch the product, including a free online version, this summer. Paying customers are expected to have the option of fusing their own internal data with Knode's technology and integrating the company's tools with existing systems such as email and collaboration platforms. Steinberg envisions the startup's tech reducing the time needed for finding top experts in life sciences from days or weeks to minutes.


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