(Last updated: 25.07.2021) Disclaimer: This post is occasionally updated by our team. However, considering the rapid pace of change, we can't guarantee to update information about every single marketplace in the list or updating it accurately. Please, consider sponsoring this post to have a detailed and regular review of your marketplace's description. Contact us at email@example.com for sponsorship opportunities.
Online marketplaces are websites with “many-to-many” business logic. They can host multiple suppliers trading with multiple buyers via different e-commerce tools available as a part of website functionality.
Why are online marketplaces great?
Online marketplaces can provide substantial added value to their users. For example, buyers can quickly compare and select better offerings without the need to research multiple websites and surf online for price comparisons or product specifications. Additionally, marketplaces bring more transparency, trust, and standardization to the whole process of sourcing.
On the other hand, suppliers benefit in that they can get a more targeted audience streamlined directly to their product or service pages. In fact, a well-represented company profile with a specifications-rich catalog can be a powerful lead magnet for potential customers.
Both buyers and suppliers benefit a lot if a marketplace leads a role in the operational activities, such as bidding, quoting, invoicing, consulting, basic customer support, etc.
Normally, marketplaces include catalog search capabilities, options to quote and place orders online, as well as payment options to finalize a purchase. Sometimes, marketplaces support different rating or verification algorithms to make sure the website users -- either suppliers or buyers -- are reliable business partners to deal with.
Some modern marketplaces include also more sophisticated components, like community-building capabilities, artificial intelligence-based recommender systems, or advanced integration APIs to connect with other types of software, like spend-management, etc.
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Marketplaces for the pharmaceutical and biotech professionals
The pharmaceutical and biotech B2B sector tends to lag behind some other more traditional consumer industries in terms of adopting advanced e-commerce workflows and struggles with an antiquated supply chain
However, nowadays e-commerce is a growing trend in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, and there is a number of notable marketplaces to explore in various product and service categories.
(Read "How E-commerce Reshapes Pharmaceutical R&D Market" for a more detailed review of how e-commerce and online marketplaces are changing traditional sourcing paradigm in life sciences industry)
It is important to realize that the generally more complex nature of scientific products, compared to "traditional" everyday products, imposes the need for more advanced tools and a more sophisticated user experience at life science marketplaces. Scientists need more information than is readily available on product packaging; nomenclature often varies from manufacturer to manufacturer making it difficult to compare "apples to apples"; and the stakes are high when choosing wrong. Using a non-optimal product in an experiment can lead to flawed data, poor, or non-reproducible results.
Let’s review some of the marketplaces in pharma and biotech, and how they deal with "nuances" of the industry: I have roughly clustered them by specialization (please, do feel free to suggest more marketplaces if I missed something):
- Various Research Products (consumables, reagents, research materials)
- Fine Chemicals (building blocks, screening compounds, intermediates)
- R&D Outsourcing Services
- R&D Crowdsourcing (open innovation challenges)
- Hiring Talent
- Lab equipment and instruments
- Biospecimens and health data
- "Bonus" List
Various Research Products (consumables, reagents, research materials)
Founded in 2015, biotechnological online shopping platform Zageno is a well-thought-out system that claims to save a pure week of scientist’s time every year. Zageno’s database contains more than 20 million SKUs from over 3500 suppliers and its smooth workflows are based on modern technologies like artificial intelligence (AI)-directed product information aggregation. Collecting data from millions of scientific publications, Zageno developed a unique “Zageno Scientific Score” metric to compare research materials and choose the best solution for the study. On the platform, you can find a great variety of supplies – from lab consumables and equipment to antibodies, cell cultures, molecules and kits.
It offers an improved shopping experience with end-to-end customer care and taking responsibility for all necessary steps – from a convenient product approval mechanism for lab heads and administrators to invoicing, payment and order delivery. For those who want to trim spendings on research materials, Zageno created a spending analytics dashboard that helps researchers reach high levels of cost-efficiency.
Zageno’s post-money valuation is estimated to be between $50 and $100 million after 2 rounds of investment in 2017 and 2019. Over 6 years of work the company expanded its network in three countries – the US, UK and Germany.
California-based company Quartzy is not only a marketplace but also a lab inventory management system. Quartzy software allows customers to transfer previous inventory data directly to the system, keep track of all research materials with a broad range of characteristics, submit requests to lab managers for ordering, compare products from different vendors and monitor delivery. Vendors that collaborate with Quartzy include MilliporeSigma, New England BioLabs, Qiagen, Bio-techne etc. For spending analysis and control, Quartzy offers integration with accounting software.
Buyers do not have to pay for the service, yet sellers pay for a place on the marketplace. The company’s clients include world top research institutes like Stanford, Oxford, Duke, Harvard Medical School and industrial leaders like Kite Pharma, Abbvie and Beyond Meat. Quartzy’s financial support from investors equals $22.2 million and was received in 3 funding rounds.
The company was founded in 2009 by Jayant Kulkarni and Adam Regelmann.
Biohippo is an online marketplace for biotechnological products created for researchers and industry representatives in the biomedical space. It facilitates the procurement process for Life Science research by combining trusted manufacturers and suppliers on their website and normalizing product data. The catalogue of biological resources is vast: primary & secondary antibodies, various enzymes and their inhibitors/activators, proteins and peptides, assay kits, cell culture reagents, viruses, vectors, biochemicals and lab equipment. With the help of two partners – Synbio Technologies and Brain VTA clients can get personalized DNA, antibody and protein synthesis services.
Founded in 2017, Biohippo is located in Rockville, Maryland, and operates with a relatively small office – up to 10 employees. However, the convenient and user-friendly interface of the marketplace and an extensive list of products for research might lead to the steady development of the company.
Prendio is a procurement to pay solution for biotech research institutions and companies. It integrates all e-shopping steps necessary for Life Science projects: from processing requests and finding the best supplier with optimal pricing to ensuring safe transactions, invoicing and delivery. Prendio is a startup launched by experts with 50+ years of experience in biotechnological procurement in 2015, with an office in the Greater Boston Area. Prendio clients are bound in a tight community and once someone orders specific products using Prendio software, they are automatically added to a common catalogue visible for everyone.
Biosave is an online shopping platform for Life Science specialists who also want to monitor their spending and constantly improve the cost-efficiency ratio. It works with more than 320 biological reagents suppliers over the world and hosts millions of listings on the platform. All products are conveniently categorized by research area and application, with resources for cancer studies, chromatography, stem cell research, genetic manipulations etc. Except for the e-commerce service, Biosave has a billboard of events, news and promotions.
Fine Chemicals (building blocks, screening compounds, intermediates)
Chemspace is an open platform for searching and ordering small molecules: commodity reagents, building blocks, and screening compounds, which are demanded in early-stage drug discovery research and medicinal chemistry programs. Chemspace currently hosts more than 80 suppliers located worldwide and an aggregated catalog of over 2 billion unique structures. The main focus of this platform is to provide medicinal and organic chemists with comprehensive coverage of previously unchecked chemical space and stimulate new synthetic ideas.
Chemspace has a chemical structure drawing tool (MarvinJS) and a sophisticated search module with different advanced filtering options. It is possible to surf the catalog by chemical structure (exact match, substructure, and similarity), CAS number, MFCD numbers, IUPAC name, catalog identifiers, and InChI keys. The Chemspace catalog is available via punchout integration with a client ERP and via an API with a client application (i.e. KNIME, DataWarrior).
Chemspace operates as an open platform meaning any qualified supplier can join freely and sell compounds on a commission-based model.
The company was founded in 2015 as a joint effort of several leading chemicals suppliers: Enamine Ltd, ChemBridge Corporation, UORSY, and FCH Group, to create an online “one-stop-shop” for searching and ordering small molecules. It has offices in Kyiv, Ukraine, Riga, Latvia, and Monmouth Junction, NJ, USA.
eMolecules is one of the oldest marketplaces for drug discovery products – it has over 40 employees, three international offices in California, Boston and London, and 16 years of history. Its catalog includes chemical building blocks and screening compounds, as well as an extensive list of antibodies for CRO corporations, pharmaceutical, biotechnological and academic organizations. Overall, more than 8 million fine chemicals can be purchased on the marketplace from reliable suppliers worldwide. For special requests, the company suggests custom synthesis chemistry & custom libraries in qualities from mg to kg and any desired purity.
To streamline procurement workflows, eMolecules provides business intelligence data and integrated e-commerce software, in addition to private websites for purchasing that can be fully customized. Such websites are integrated with the eMolecule database and updated systematically but show only chosen suppliers in a preferred ranking, with an adapted colour scheme of the website and a logo of a client company. The chemical search tool on emolecules.com allows drawing, text search by formula, CAS number, IUPAC nomenclature or SMILES notation.
In March 2021 eMolecules was purchased by Avista Capital Partners and valued at $250 million.
For more than 15 years Molport has been operating on the European market of fine chemicals. The marketplace offers full-cycle screening compound sourcing services: product selection from 60+ global suppliers and a database of almost 8 million listings, reformatting of samples, logistics and even testing and quality control. In addition, it provides integrations with cheminformatics software from Schrodinger, MOE and StarDrop. For pharmaceutical chemistry and custom synthesis purposes, Molport has a range of building blocks too.
Advanced text filters and MarvinJS chemical structure search ensure easy navigation through Molport catalogues. As for procurement management, Molport provides consolidation services from different vendors into a single shipment, as well as customs clearance for ordering from abroad. The platform has technical capabilities for automated workflows setup through API and KNIME nodes.
Molport’s office with around 30 workers is based in Riga, Latvia. Since 2013 in 3 funding rounds the company received $1.34 million from investors like Imprimatur Capital Fund Management and FlyCap.
R&D Outsourcing Services
Science Exchange offers a SaaS-enabled marketplace that helps scientists accelerate their research by providing an all-in-one digital platform to source, order, manage, and pay for outsourced R&D services.
Scientists get instant access to our network of 3,500+ CROs, CMOs, and academic labs that are already contracted and qualified so projects can start without the delays caused by contract negotiations and provider onboarding.
The marketplace helps automate repetitive administrative tasks, purchasing workflows, and all the payment processing. Science Exchange also has robust analytics so R&D leaders can build dashboards to track and analyze their outsourcing spend and view trends critical to their business.
Science Exchange enterprise customers include Merck, Gilead, BMS, Vertex, AbbVie, and dozens of leading biotechs.
The company was founded by Elizabeth Iorns, a New Zealand scientist in 2011.
Scientist.com (formerly Assay Depot)
Scientist.com is an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered network of public and private e-commerce marketplaces that connects buyers and suppliers of research services. The marketplace provides powerful tools for R&D outsourcing of all sorts -- with strong operational support, 24/7 research concierge® service, and all the necessary administrative and legal contracts in place for the seamless business interaction between users and vendors.
Scientist.com is focused primarily on the area of life sciences with a majority of service providers and buyers being from pharmaceutical and biotech industries. The website users include the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the world’s leading biopharma brands -- AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, and Takeda. The website claims to have above 3,800 qualified suppliers, each with pre-established legal and finance agreements in place.
The company was founded in 2007 by Kevin Lustig, Chris Petersen, and Andrew Martin with the first online marketplace launched in 2008. By this time, the project raised $39M in 5 rounds of investment from 5AM Ventures, Leerink Transformation Partners, and Heritage Provider Network among others.
It is interesting to note that in 2012 Scientist took part in organizing open science challenges in US regions for researchers and young scientists.
Labs Explorer is a project founded in 2016 in France. The platform is essentially a catalog of research organizations and companies with the ability to add services in the company page. The website supports text search functionality where buyers can find information about suppliers and their services. The full e-commerce workflow is not yet realized but can certainly be expected in the future.
The products and services listed at Labs Explorer can be quoted through the marketplace. Now, there is no commission fee on Labs Explorer. It is free to use the search engine, even without registration. It is also free to register and manage a lab page.
Labs Explorer currently offers two subscription plans:
1) The free plan (includes Unlimited lab profiles, Multi-user management, News publishing tool and Messaging tool to answer contact request)
2) A premium plan for 89 euros per month (everything listed under the Free plan + Unlimited service pages, Higher ranking in search results and Priority support).
Established in 2003 by a former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) employee, Contract Laboratory is among pioneering websites offering scientific research outsourcing services in a format of a centralized marketplace. In contrast to more traditional marketplaces with e-commerce workflows and shopping carts, Contract Laboratory is built more as a bulletin board, where customers can post their needs for R&D outsourcing, while numerous research labs and contract research organizations (CROs) can browse requests and quote their services, thereby competing to be selected as an outsourcing partner.
According to the website, Contract Laboratory facilitated over 80,000 scientific requests worldwide, including large multinational corporations, startups, governments, and universities among requestors.
This web-service originally started in pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries, and later expanded into consumer products, oil and petroleum, electronics, construction and building, power and energy, and other industries.
Genohub is Texas-based niche marketplace that was created in 2013 specifically for researchers in need of next-gen sequencing services. It provides a flexible way of procuring and managing sequencing services, bioinformatics services, and optical genome mapping services. The website allows vendors to list not only regular services, but also one-time offers with flexible pricing and turnaround times to get runs moving faster. The marketplace supports automated matching and pricing functionality to streamline the operational part of work for both vendors and buyers. Researchers can search for providers and services using a variety of metrics.
Complete e-commerce functionality is supported with the ability of ordering, payment and data delivery.
Quickly find next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics services from our network of over 100 partnering providers.
Labtoo is a start-up that was founded in Paris in 2017. Labtoo marketplace gives R&D project leaders the possibility to connect with the best experts and laboratories. The spectra of services searchable on the platform cover genomics, proteomics and analytics, cell lines and
samples, and consultancy in scientific, therapeutic, or regulatory questions. Laboratories and experts delivering expertise have an option to get revenue or generate a credit to use it towards ordering expertise for its own projects.
R&D Crowdsourcing (open innovation challenges)
Innocentive is an open innovation marketplace connecting companies -- seekers -- with a wide network of scientific or engineering professionals -- solvers. Seekers can publish offers to solve a particular research problem for a fixed cash award -- so-called “open innovation challenges”, while solvers can provide their offers to solve the problem. The platform has all the legal documents in place to make sure any intellectual property or confidentiality matters are in check.
As of the present time, the solvers' network counts more than 380,000 specialists from nearly 200 countries.
The company was founded in 2001 in Waltham, MA, with a major seed contribution from Eli Lilly and Company, and later in 2005, the Innocentive was spun out of Eli Lilly. Innocentive has a representative office in London, UK. To date, the project has raised $30.3M in 4 rounds of investment.
Clora is a classic two-sided marketplace matching life science consultants and biopharmaceutical organizations that need talent for realizing research projects. This Boston-based startup, founded in 2016, already raised $3.3 million seed round from Spark Capital and a number of co-investors.
When a customer posts a project with its highly specialized research requirements, Clora’s proprietary technology selects up to 3 candidates meeting the requirements, providing a 100% success rate in matching within days. The website categorizes talent into 29 different specialties, ranging from research and production to legal, accounting, safety/pharmacovigilance. Essentially, this marketplace transforms a highly laborious biopharma hiring process into an algorithmic and well-managed workflow.
Legit (Acquired by Clora in 2021)
Legit was a start-up from MIT founded by Jacob Rosen, Anthony Bucci, and Matthew Osman in 2018. In the same year, Legit launched an AI-enabled collaboration platform for life science businesses, where customers can find and connect with experts in their field fast and effortlessly.
Legit product focuses on improving efficiency across drug design, medical device development, and external alliances. It has raised $2.6 million for its platform in 2018 and its software is being used by big pharma companies like Amgen, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson.
The company claims that its platform connects 2 million experts in the life science industry, essentially being a smart marketplace for talent sourcing. Moreover, Legit helps in searching not only external but internal profiles as well, enabling clients to find experts inside their companies. Additionally, Legit handles scheduling, compliance, payments, transcripts, legal processes, and provides the security of data. Clients can upload the entire documents to the platform in order to find matches with leading experts and publications. Then the proprietary natural language processing algorithms will decompose part of documents into constituent topics, facilitating the exploration of the relevant ideas.
Lab equipment and instruments
Lab & Process is a relatively young French project (founded in 2015), which is a marketplace of scientific equipment, instruments, consumables, and equipment software for laboratory use. The marketplace supports a text search by keywords, and product or service category. Buyers can request quotations for specific items of interest, while vendors can get free visibility and qualified leads.
Biospecimens and health data
iSpecimen is niche marketplace for human biospecimens, where researchers can get the specimens they require for the projects from a category of patients they need. Founded in 2009 and based in Lexington, MA, the company raised collectively $10 million in two venture capital rounds. iSpecimen marketplace streamlines and centralizes the process of connecting healthcare organizations that have access to patients and specimens with researchers in need. Owing to proprietary cloud-based technology, the marketplace users can search for specimens and patients within a federated network of partners, including hospitals, biobanks, blood centers, labs, and other healthcare organizations. The marketplace and its internal workflow is designed and regulated to meet the strict industry standards and comply with sensitive data transfer regulations.
Longenesis focuses on developing legitimate ways to promote collaboration between biomedical institutions, patient organizations, and paying research partners by identifying biomedical data from anonymized metadata files, further onboarding patient or population cohorts in studies, and engaging them in new research initiatives. This is achieved through the implementation of a universal toolkit, composed of three interrelated products. Longenesis Curator is an ecosystem where clinical institutions and patient organizations are connected in consortiums with potential collaboration partners and sponsors to initiate further collaboration. Longenesis Themis is an in-house-built SaaS digital patient consent management tool that enrolls patients into research activities by getting auditable and transferable permissions. Longenesis Engage is a digital patient-centric tool to engage participants in prospective studies and manage these studies remotely.
Here is a review of additional resources that are not marketplaces per se, but still appear to be very userful for improving buyer's experience in the area of life sciences:
Bioz (AI-driven search engine)
While this platform is not really a marketplace, rather, a search engine for life science researchers, it is included in this review because the approach Bioz uses might well become the future of online marketplaces -- with AI-driven data-mining and automatic dynamic categorization, rating, and suggestion workflows being in the core of the operations, instead of “classic” static catalogs supplied by vendors and listed manually.
Founded in 2013 by Stanford research scientist, Karin Lachmi, Ph.D., and CEO Daniel Levitt, Bioz is a Stanford-StartX accelerator company applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) – including Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) – to mine and structure hundreds of millions of pages of unstructured scientific papers and provide the life scientists insights into what tools or products to buy and how to use them in each particular case. It also provides information and links to vendors which supply all those products and provides dynamic ratings for each product, tool, or supplier.
This innovative concept seems to take off rapidly, as Bioz has already attracted millions of users to use the platform, and it lists above 200 million products from 50,000 vendors. The company has raised $27.5 M in total funding, including $10M in Seed Rounds in 2014-2017, and $17.5 M in Round A in 2019-2021.
Biocompare is not a marketplace in a sense, rather it is an online catalog of products and a resource for up-to-date product information, reviews, and new technologies for life scientists. Still, it is of great value for consumers of scientific products, facilitating decision-making in the process of research procurement.
The company was founded in 2000 in San Francisco, CA as a buyer’s guide for life sciences.
(Last updated: 25.07.2021) Disclaimer: This post is occasionally updated by our team. However, considering a rapid pace of change, we can't guarantee to update information about every single marketplace in the list or updating it accurately. Please, consider sponsoring this post to have a detailed and regular review of your marketplace's description. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsorship opportunities.