The contract wheels turn slowly in the drug development process. It can take up to eight months to set up legal contracts between biotech research companies and their product suppliers. Such lengthy processes bog down the research process for new drugs, leaving suppliers and researchers frustrated as they wait out the legal steps.
Through an agreement announced last week, research services marketplace Scientist.com will enable VWR International LLC, a seller of disposable supplies, equipment and chemical reagents to laboratory and research firms, to connect with 2,200 suppliers of custom scientific services. And they can do business in real time, because Scientist.com has already certified the research customers and suppliers and created standard legal agreements for both parties.
“Now a biotech can outsource key services instantaneously through VWR and save lots of time,” says Daniel Kagan, chief operating officer, Scientist.com. “Research used to be done in-house, but now it’s outsourced and there are new challenges, such as what suppliers to use and the best technology to select. We help expedite the entire ‘source-to-settle’ process.” Source-to-settle refers to the full procurement process: matching researchers and suppliers and completing a purchase.
The VWR Science portal is the result of an 18-month technology evaluation and implementation process designed to streamline the way researchers and VWR suppliers interact. Scientist.com hosts the VWR portal and handles the technology upkeep, Kagan says. To access the portal, VWR customers punch out from their purchasing software applications to VWR.com, which authorizes their access to the VWR Science portal and more than 2,000 contract research organization, or CRO, suppliers.
“By leveraging Scientist.com sourcing capabilities, VWR customers now have access to an extended network of CRO suppliers who can support their research and laboratory needs,” says Manuel Brocke-Benz, CEO of VWR. VWR is No. 73 in the new 2018 B2B E-Commerce 300.
The agreement with Scientist.com helps VWR clients by enabling them to go beyond buying products and also purchase research services, such as drug toxicology studies and pharmacology models used to study drug actions in the human body, Kagan says.
The platform is free for both big pharmaceutical companies and research suppliers to use, including access to all the legal services and to expert scientist consultations. Scientist.com takes up to a 5% cut of each sale when a supplier of products or research services finalizes a deal with a buyer.
The VWR portal is available to customers in North America now and will expand globally beginning in November, Kagan says.
Scientist.com has developed customized web portals for 14 pharmaceutical organizations—including such names as Pfizer, Novartis and Bayer—where their scientists can interact with and do business with scientists and suppliers of laboratory materials at other approved organizations. “We create a white-label, highly configurable marketplace for each client,” CEO and founder Kevin Lustig said in an August interview with B2BecNews.
Overall, Scientist.com fosters interactions and commerce between scientists and suppliers of laboratory supplies and research services. In each case, transactions are highly personalized to the needs of each project that scientists are working on, Lustig said. “Nothing is off-the-shelf.”
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