Startups with potential can take advantage of Peter Thiel's Science Exchange marketplace


Radical Breakthroughs

Startups with potential can take advantage of Peter Thiel's Science Exchange marketplace

Breakout Labs, a science-oriented investing group that is part of Peter Thiel’s Thiel Foundation, has signed the outsourcing R&D marketplace for Science Exchange’s portfolio companies. Science Exchange will furnish immediate access to research services from more than 2,500 CROs, academic laboratories and government facilities and assist in matching providers with each Breakout company’s R&D needs, reported Angus Liu in Fierce Biotech.

As Hemai Parthasarathy, scientific director of Breakout Labs, explained, “Our companies are at the forefront of radical scientific breakthroughs. Science Exchange’s marketplace helps these companies adopt virtualization in their R&D process and give them an opportunity to access external resources they need to bring their innovations to market. Science Exchange ultimately removes barriers for startups to access scientific services that will help accelerate their discoveries.”

In 2012 Peter Thiel, an early venture investor in Facebook and FierceMarkets, offered a round of grants of as much as $350,000 to six startup biotech companies that seemed to have “a game-changing approach to medicine.” He hoped to “ignite some radical thinking on the possibilities of our collective amazing future," according to John Carroll in Fierce Biotech.

As Thiel said then, "In the past, people dreamed of the future as a radically better, more technologically advanced place: You might live for centuries, delegate work to your robots, and take your vacations on the moon. Now, many people expect their children to inherit a world worse than today's. With Breakout Labs, we want to rekindle dreams of an amazing future. That's why we're supporting researchers who dream big and want to build a tomorrow in which we all want to live."

Thiel established Breakout Labs in order to fund early-stage research work, “backing teams of radical thinkers working outside traditional academic and industry circles,” according to Fierce Biotech. He believes that more companies can take advantage of his support. He started by focusing largely on the intersection of biology and technology, but planned to enlarge the focus.

Since that time, Breakout Labs has backed more than 30 companies in technology, biology, materials and energy. They include Seattle-based Immusoft, which develops a gene therapy platform called Immune System Programming to deliver DNA encoding therapeutic proteins into patients’ immune cells; and Cortexyme, which is developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, with the premise that such diseases are caused by bacteria infections.

Breakout Labs is the most recent life science incubator to choose Science Exchange’s platform to assist in managing outsourced R&D services for startups. Recent examples are San Francisco-based IndieBio and the University of California’s QB3. The outsourced R&D platform has been used by biopharma giants such as GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche.

“This increases scientists’ access to innovation and significantly improves their productivity because they are freed up from the administrative tasks and delays associated with sourcing, establishing and managing service provider contracts,” Science Exchange’s cofounder and CEO Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., concluded.


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