The world relies upon the brainpower of scientists to discover and develop novel and innovative products. However, there are pressing operational challenges that scientists face, including R&D productivity issues. Companies have explored a myriad of strategies to optimize productivity – including acquisitions and reorganizations – with many turning to outsourced R&D – now a growing, global industry. However, the cost, inherent delays in contracting and managing projects, and intellectual property (IP) and data security issues can challenge the benefits of traditional outsourcing. Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., – a scientist and entrepreneur – realized the need to streamline R&D outsourcing and facilitate access to qualified scientific service providers. Along with co-founder Dan Knox, Elizabeth set out to democratize access to the world’s scientific expertise, in order to increase innovation and move the research world forward at a faster pace, resulting in the founding of Science Exchange.
Six years from its inception, Science Exchange today is the world’s leading and most secure platform for outsourced research, providing an efficient procure-to-pay platform for ordering over 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 (IP) and confidentiality. Increasing scientists’ access to innovation and improving productivity, while freeing them up from the administrative tasks and delays, Science Exchange serves the entire R&D outsourcing continuum. From procurement and finance to R&D leadership and the researchers who are using outsourced services for critical scientific projects, Science Exchange enables R&D organizations to consolidate research outsourcing spend into a single strategic relationship, thereby driving efficiency and cost savings, while also increasing the speed of innovation.
Uniquely Combining Software Innovation with An Experienced & Qualified Team
Science Exchange uniquely combines a software platform with the support of a 60+ employee team to deliver an end-to-end solution for streamlined R&D outsourcing. The Science Exchange platform was also the first to offer access to thousands of scientific service providers under a single, comprehensive contract, which is managed by contracts and compliance team that brings decades of industry experience and has personally negotiated more than $2 billion in R&D services agreements.
Additionally, Science Exchange employs the largest and most qualified team of advanced-degree and industry-trained staff scientists to assist with sourcing of complex studies and project management. Its scientists publish in peer-reviewed journals, come from diverse scientific backgrounds, and have collectively sourced and managed thousands of studies, including the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology — the largest replication study ever conducted.
The firm also supports its customers procurement strategies by merging R&D services, sourcing, contracts, and payment processing into a single strategic service provider relationship. It configures category-specific approval workflows into its marketplace model and delivers real‐time tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs) related to outsourced R&D investments.
Moreover, standing apart from the other industry marketplaces, Science Exchange is SOC 2- Certified and Privacy Shield certified, ensuring that customers’ data are secure and that they remain compliant with laws regulating the transfer of personal data. Additionally, Science Exchange is the only R&D outsourcing platform that operates under an ISO 9001-certified quality assurance program, with continuous performance monitoring ensuring that the network contains only the highest quality of suppliers.
Rising Above the Obstacles
Entering in an industry like biopharma that is risk-averse and reluctant to change, Science Exchange’s mission – to enable breakthrough research by fundamentally changing the way science is done – was not an easy proposition. At the outset, Science Exchange explored several approaches to connect scientists with service providers, uncovering challenges with protecting IP and enabling full transparency in pricing for the customers and service providers. The company has since remained consistent with a business model that aligns growth incentives with its client’s ROI.
Science Exchange charges a volume-based transaction fee, with its customers realizing more in annual direct cost savings through competitive bidding and time saved than the total amount paid in fees. Science Exchange is also the only platform to ensure full cost transparency by not charging fees to its service providers, removing barriers to entry and eliminating the need for providers to mark up pricing to cover lost margins. The business model has proven to be successful as the company has grown its enterprise-wide strategic sourcing agreements with leading pharmaceutical companies by more than 2000 percent since 2015.
Transforming Vision into Reality
Co-founder and CEO of Science Exchange, Elizabeth leads the firm from the front. 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.
Because of the platform’s clear benefits to procurement and scientific leaders at biopharma R&D organizations, Elizabeth has successfully negotiated enterprise-level agreements between Science Exchange and 12 out of the world’s top 20 biopharma companies, as well as with numerous biotech and pharma startup incubators.
Moving Forward at Faster Pace
In addition to supporting innovation across R&D organizations, Science Exchange offers reporting tools to help its clients, including some of the world’s top pharma and biotech companies, to perform real‐time KPI monitoring.
“The Science Exchange enterprise dynamic report gives me the ability to tease out diverse suppliers and export spend data. Our procurement management team has been thrilled with the report,” is the testimony of Greg Smith, Associate Director, Indirect R&D Procurement, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, Ltd, proving Science Exchange’s importance to the procurement industry.
With venture capital funding of close to $60 million secured since its inception, Science Exchange is embarking upon continued expansion of its platform. In addition to continued dominance of the biopharma industry, Science Exchange is quickly gaining traction with the R&D organizations with the agriscience, cosmetics, animal health, and nutrition industries.
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