In this article we will outline the principle of the application and the types of information one can gain with it.
While a lot had been done in terms of crawling data on companies, compounds in pipelines and contact lists, academic labs per se remain to be an untapped field. And there are a lot of good reasons why.
First, obtaining information on companies is much easier as most of them, if not all of them firstly present in trade registers of each country. Every country keeps a track of available companies and makes this information public. Secondly, combination of data extracted from databanks or existing platforms is a relatively easy task since the layout of webpages on each of the resources incl. Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. is same for each of the accounts there.
This makes automation of gathering data possible. The rest is data science and visualisation or call it, presentation.
When it comes to academic life science labs, one hits the paradox. And this what we hear quite often from the others why don’t we collect information on companies, or do we plan to collect. Whether it is indeed an obstacle, a need or an objection this is known only to the minds of those people. From our perspective, if one looks just for contacts LinkedIn SalesNavigator is a perfect place, as these days we believe there is no company in biotech that doesn’t have a Linkedin profile page.
So where is the paradox? Here it comes: there are 60,000+ companies in biotechnology, while 160,000 academic life science labs in the world. Now if you look on the headcount and distribution of those companies, 25,000+ of them will have 10 people or less, 18,000+ have between 11-50 people. How does it relate to labs?
If you look on most of the labs they look similar to the small biotech companies. Any lab, on average, has around 10 people. While there are big labs, with 5 PhD students and 20 postdocs, not counting technicians, but let’s assume for simplicity for now 10 people as a number for an average lab. Let’s take into account annual budget on consumables, reagents, and so on in addition to salaries. In this case running an academic lab becomes pretty similar to a small biotech company.
Why do we say this? Because it uncovers a problem. Most innovations companies receive much faster than academic labs, and this is regardless that academic labs are more in terms of a number. The purchasing capability of a lab is same as of a small biotech yet academia is the least segment in most of the companies. Why it is so?
The most common belief is budget. What not always true, as people are used to tell “we have no budget” because they are not interested. Well, we don’t say it is not correct, we say that it is a lack of motivation to find it and dedication to get something done, but let’s leave it for now. The numbers are as on the market, talk to X people and a % of them will randomly reply positively to your need.
So how do we overcome this paradox of being more by a number and having less of someone’s innovation? We believe that the main reason why academia remains least segment for most of the companies, is it’s fragmentation. Yes, indeed when labs can only be found on their webpages at the universities, research centres or medical hospitals it creates a problem how to find them. While ResearchGate have done a good job by showing up academics, 17 Millions researches is a tough number to work with. While one can also find some laboratories there, the functionality remains rather limited and not fully adjusted to the needs of companies who seek labs.
What do we propose? The technology and especially the software and web development advanced significantly in the last decades. The current standing allows new solutions that several years ago wouldn’t be possible or with a very limited scope. We looked into the root of the problem to make a solution that will satisfy the needs of smallest biotech companies and let them grow into academic segment. This creates ease of access for companies and bigger diversity for academic labs.
Now what exactly we do and how it works? As most of the people perceive when we say “all academic life science labs in Europe” it sounds to them as a lab list with not big difference if a student would write it out. And we understand why it is happening. Because most of life scientists are not web geeks to have a second option to operate how else it can be. Lists are simple, monitoring and keeping it updated is challenging. Or not, if you know how to do it.
Layout of each website of the research labs is indeed different, but given enough time and resources one can figure it out. And this is what we did. First, we found all “bio-“ related labs we could find at those institutions and once we found them we started to monitor those websites. This is indeed a 2-step process, however there is nothing magic here. It’s a bit of persistence and know-how. Now what it gives you? It gives a live market of labs, very neat dataset of alive life science or call it “bio-“ related labs in Europe. There is also a reason why we made it for Europe only and Europe constitutes 25% of the world, or at least we assume. Because it is a 2-step process, and requires a while.
So what’s next? Live tabs on labs is nice but this is not enough. For a richer information, one requires their research outputs. And this is what we provide in addition – an ability to search literature and identify those that are a fit by context.
How to use it and why do you need it? We believe that data is the currency and that every biotech company in the world that has something to do with academic labs, should have a private dataset on them. This is its customer database, partner database or call it “personal newsletter” on news occurring all over the lab entities. Each company has to do the same job – search for prospects. And each of them have to invent over and over solutions how to approach it – extract authors from publications, buy contact list from multiple providers, etc. We want to be a central repository on life science labs. If one targets academic life science labs – we are the place to start.
This creates a new economy, an economy where small biotech companies do not compete on marketing and outreach strategies anymore but on a product proposition. Because everyone will have the same capability, same dataset, the game starts whose product is better and to what subset of labs it fits more. This way the society, and the companies and the end users can benefit the most of the system which creates a push for a better products, better tailored ones, and a faster feedback loop on new demands.
Taking Europe as an example with up to 40,000 labs where on average for any topic there will be 5,000 labs as a target creates a subset of prospects for any company. While there are companies who live from 20 to a 1,000 customers acquired on a global market and these numbers include SMEs and big companies as customers, the 5,000 prospects in academia in Europe is a very good number.
Not less has to be mentioned about the ability to create a personal contact with this subset. Nowsdays, on LinkedIn anyone has thousands of contacts, so why not to start establishing personal connections with those couple of thousands labs? If one is dedicated one can make it. And given the centralisation of information on those labs and keeping the data live and informative it creates a recurring value for both companies and end users. Develop market steadily is that we mean by it.
To put it in numbers, there 52 calendar weeks in a year, 5 working days/week, it is 260 working days. Assume real working days are 200 and 1 person is engaged, it is 25 prospects that one goes through per day. Is it feasible? Of course, it is around 1 hr/day spent on this activity. But what is the gain? At the end of the year, the whole academic segment in Europe will be developed. While it may sounds like too long to wait or too much time to put and too expensive. Accelerating this process and putting full time in market development can reduce this time down to 1 month. Is it not exciting?
One always has 3 segments to focus: academia, SMEs and big corporates. A-LabInsider solves the problem with academic segment, which normally constitutes 25% of the turnover, being however several times more fragmented than any of the company segment. Thus increasing the world’s GDP, cash flow and data generation in academia, and hence saving more patient lives.