CRO Finder: Alliance could produce a great meeting for minds


CRO Finder

Alliance could produce a great meeting for minds

Highly customized research can be challenging. A new coalition is designed to help research scientists in universities and small biotechnology companies working on central nervous system (CNS) projects to find capable contract research organizations to perform them.

Alzheimer's disease, which affects more than 44 million people, is the only top 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. It requires promising research conducted by the right people.

ADDF ACCESS will add the resources of Science Exchange, an online service that enables scientists to outsource their research and development activities, with the drug discovery knowledge of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), a public charity focused on funding the development of drugs for Alzheimer’s. The online platform will match scientists working on CNS diseases with a pre-screened network of CROs.

Founded in 1998 by co-chairmen Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder, ADDF attempts to speed up the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer's disease. It has awarded more than $100 million to fund over 500 Alzheimer’s drug discovery programs and clinical trials in 18 countries. ADDF concentrates on supporting an underfunded area — preclinical drug discovery and early-stage clinical trials of potential drug targets — where projects hold great promise, but also great risk.

Science Exchange, a Palo Alto, California-based online science marketplace, was founded in 2011 by Elizabeth Iorns, Ryan Abbott, and Dan Knox and is located in. In 2011, Iorns developed the idea for Science Exchange when she needed to conduct immunology experiments and could not find potential collaborators or providers. The company applied for a place in the Y Combinator startup accelerator program, got accepted and launched the first version of its website in August 2011. It functions like a freelance marketplace in which a researcher posts an experiment to be outsourced and receives bids from experimental service providers. The researcher selects a bid, and Science Exchange facilitates communication, project management and payment.

As Lauren Friedman, Ph.D., ADDF ACCESS program director, explained, “Drug discovery requires a wide range of expertise, from medicinal chemistry and pharmacology to project management and regulatory affairs. Researchers don’t always have the interdisciplinary teams needed to develop a drug. We created the new ACCESS website with Science Exchange to connect researchers with high-quality CROs and provide guidance and resources to help successfully advance their drug programs.”

ADDF ACCESS will offer scientists a network of CROs and consultants with CNS drug discovery expertise, scrutinized by the ADDF and Science Exchange. It will provide the means to connect the scientists with the appropriate CROs, obtain several competitive quotes and manage projects. Additionally, it will maintain a repository of educational resources about CNS drug discovery and development.

According to Howard Fillit, M.D., executive director and chief science officer of the ADDF, “Early-stage drug research is the engine that drives progress in treating Alzheimer’s and CNS diseases. Every scientific discovery gets us closer to finding a treatment.”

Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Science Exchange, concluded,

“Eliminating the laborious, resource-intensive process of finding and negotiating with CROs and other service providers helps researchers focus on their important work. This new ACCESS website will give scientists specializing in CNS diseases the tools and services they need to bring important, potentially life-saving drugs to market faster.”


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