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Lucy Chard
13 Nov 2023

Is R&D outsourcing the key to success for biotechs?

Cromatic, the digital platform for outsourced life sciences research, has announced that it has received $5.3 million in funding in total from a range of investors. 

The investors include LifeX Ventures, AgFunder, Work Life Ventures, Not Boring Capital, FJ Labs, What If Ventures, Lux Capital, and angel investors.

Outsourcing for R&D in pharma and biotech is becoming more prevalent in today’s market, with the industry niche growing rapidly and projected to be worth $275 billion by 2030. The biotechnology industry has boomed in recent years, with small and midsize biotech companies materialising all over the world, with many of these changing the status quo on standard process by outsourcing up to 90% of their R&D needs, operating largely as virtual companies, which has bourne a huge increase in the discovery and development of new and repurposed drug candidates. 

By outsourcing R&D, pharma and biotech companies can limit overhead costs typically associated with these stages of in-house development, allowing more scope for innovation. 

This doesn’t come without it’s challenges however, with talent, procurement, and communication proving troublesome when trying to find the right R&D partner. This is what Cromatic hopes to help with. 

Cromatic has developed a platform that matches companies with corresponding needs – biotech companies can more easily and quickly find CROs that have been already appraised. The platform enables a smooth interaction, with specific tools for communication, project management, and a payment system. Cromatic has already accrued more then $15 billion in budget for R&D management and is partnering with a range of biotech accelerators including Nucleate, SOSV, and ValleyDAO.

Ann Lin, co-founder and CEO of Cromatic stated: "Outsourcing R&D is one of the most powerful ways for innovative biotech companies to get off the ground. While founders of tech giants like Apple and Google could build their products in garages with minimal resources, founders in biotech are confronted with the capital expense of lab space and equipment and the lengthy process of building the right team before they can even test their ideas. That’s why we are building the most powerful R&D outsourcing platform for biotechs, so that scientists will have clarity, confidence, and choice when evaluating and managing their service providers. Ultimately, we want to enable biotech companies to start in garages, just like tech giants.”

"Our mission at Cromatic is deeply rooted in leveraging technology to reshape the landscape of biotech research,” commented Anne Chen, Cromatic co-founder and CTO. “By bridging the gap between scientific innovation and efficient outsourcing, we're not only empowering scientists to bring their ideas to life but also revolutionising the speed at which life-changing discoveries reach the world. We're paving the way for a new era of agile and resource-efficient biotech development." 

“We've seen incredible growth in the outsourced R&D market, but scientists still spend an inordinate amount of time on administrative tasks rather than value-add experimentation," added Inaki Berenguer, Managing Partner at LifeX Ventures. "The full stack solution – from matching, contract management, data exchange, project tracking and payments – is the right approach to accelerate and democratise the research process, bringing life-saving drugs faster to market. Ann’s first-hand experience of the struggles to find trusted R&D partners provides a unique perspective and network within the industry. We're excited to partner with Cromatic as they continue to scale up." 

“Big Pharma is increasingly outsourcing innovation to the biotech sector,” stated Elliot Hershberg, Biotech Partner at Not Boring. “Now, two out of three drugs that come to market began life in smaller companies. During this transition, there’s been an outpouring of R&D talent into CROs. Cromatic is harnessing this newfound capacity in a coherent platform for a new generation of nimble and capital-efficient biotech companies. We anticipate that in the coming years, real research breakthroughs will happen on Cromatic’s platform.”

The funding and progressively strengthening partnerships will help Cromatic to accelerate it’s model for biotech and CROs and develop their products, technology, and customer service provisions. 

Lucy Chard
Digital Editor - Pharma