- An online platform that seeks to make it easier for drugmakers to outsource their research has raised $24 million.
- Scientist, which last year changed its name from Assay Depot and operates off of the website Scientist.com, said on Monday that private equity firm Leerink Transformation Partners (LTP) and venture capital firm 5AM Ventures led the equity financing. That company also saw contributions from another VC, Bootstrap Ventures, along with managed care business Heritage Provider Network and film producer Jack Giarraputo.
- Scientist.com functions as an electronic marketplace for the buying and selling of research tools and services. Pharmaceutical developers can purchase a wide array of products, such as chemical compounds and human blood and tissue samples, as well as farm out clinical tasks, including protein sequencing.
Scientist.com will use the new money to grow out brick-and-mortar operations, with expansions planned for its Boston and Manchester, U.K., offices, and new offices in Switzerland and Germany on the horizon, according to company CEO Kevin Lustig.
In an email to BioPharma Dive, Lustig also said some of the money will go toward "horizontal expansion," so that the company dives into research services for crop and animal sciences, as well as cosmetic testing. Scientist.com is also looking to grow what it calls its team of internal sourcing experts from a current membership of 25-40 to 40-60.
The increased investments into Scientist.com come at a time when pharmaceutical developers are outsourcing a large chunk of their research. Contract research organizations and other clinical service providers have eagerly gobbled up the work, but have often run into problems maintaining staff counts or handling the sheer volume of the orders coming in.
“It is too expensive and time-consuming to bring new drugs to market," said Jared Kesselheim, managing partner of LTP, in a May 15 statement. "The outsourcing platform built by Scientist.com has enabled pharmaceutical companies to run drug programs in less time and at a fraction of today’s cost. We expect the marketplace to continue to be a game-changer for life science research, creating huge efficiencies for pharma companies and the entire scientific community."
Scientist.com was founded in 2007, and touts that it is often described as the "Amazon.com for scientists." The company has received several rounds of funding from private investors over the years: Lustig told Xconomy back in 2009 the business raised about $1.8 million from several investors when it was first starting out.
Giarraputo was one of those early investors. More private investment came in four years later, to the tune of $1.7 million. In 2014, the company garnered another $3 million in Series B financing led by Bootstrap.