iSpecimen launches online marketplace for human biospecimens
iSpecimen launched the iSpecimen Marketplace—an online, data-rich platform that connects life science researchers who need human biospecimens to the healthcare organizations that have them. Using a powerful, multi-faceted search platform, the marketplace enables medical researchers to intuitively search millions of available human biospecimens and solves one of the research industry’s biggest challenges—how to compliantly obtain quality biospecimens in a cost-effective manner. Through the marketplace, researchers gain instant access to iSpecimen’s growing, federated network of healthcare providers and biobanks, giving network participants (specimen providers) the opportunity to more broadly contribute to medical research as well as their bottom line.
In this age of precision medicine, biomedical research is booming. Traditionally, obtaining the biospecimens required for R&D has been time-consuming and expensive. Researchers often do the legwork themselves, approaching a fragmented network of biobanks, clinical laboratories, and specimen brokers to cobble together collections. More often than not, this process fails to result in the quality or quantity of specimens needed. Researchers lose precious time as they search, and repeatedly don’t find what they need. In fact, according to one National Cancer Institute study, four out of five researchers reported limiting the scope of their work due to inadequate supply of high-quality biospecimens.
The iSpecimen Marketplace solves this problem by using proprietary technology to bridge the gap between researchers and specimens. Accessing de-identified electronic medical record and laboratory data from across a network of participating partner organizations—including hospitals, labs, biobanks, blood centers and other healthcare institutions—iSpecimen’s technology aggregates a vast amount of information about individual specimens and the patients from whom they came into a single, harmonized view. Researchers can quickly and easily search this data using detailed patient, specimen and compliance criteria and instantly view the availability and details of specimens that meet their specific needs. Contracting is likewise simplified and accelerated, as researchers and providers alike contract once with iSpecimen and gain access to all other organizations in the network.
“Providing specimens through the iSpecimen Marketplace generates value for us on multiple levels,” said Amer Abouhamze, MHA, Assistant Director of the CTSI Biorepository at the University of Florida. “It allows us to reach thousands of scientists who are in need of high-quality biospecimens, providing us with an excellent method to more easily fulfill our research mission. It allows us to ensure the utilization of biospecimens as quickly as possible after procurement, in order to accelerate translational research. And finally, it gives us insight into our own inventory as well as the whole iSpecimen partner network to bolster internal research programs within the university.”
As of today, nearly one million biobanked specimens, including biofluids, solid tissue, and cells, are available on the iSpecimen Marketplace from biorepositories taking part in the company’s vast and growing partner network. As part of a phased approach, iSpecimen will add millions of clinical remnants to the marketplace in the coming weeks as well as prospectively collected research-use-only samples before the end of the year. All research-use-only samples available through iSpecimen are collected with patient consent as required by federal law, as well as institutional review board (IRB) oversight. The technology manages specimen consent status as part of its capabilities.
Additional features of the iSpecimen Marketplace include automated fulfillment and procurement processes, offering a partner-facing web interface that directs specimen selection, packing, and shipping. Further, as a benefit of participation, iSpecimen partners can use the technology to gain insight into their own specimen availability as well as access specimens from across the network for their own internal research needs.
“A diverse and ready supply of biospecimens is critical to accelerating research,” said Christopher Ianelli, M.D., Ph.D., founder and chief executive officer, iSpecimen. “New diagnostics and treatments will only be as precise as the research work behind it. Our job is to close the gap between the research and provider communities by matching highly refined specimen requests to organizations that can fulfill them. We’re like a Kayak.com for biospecimen research, making sure these critical connections are made.”