Early on in our company’s evolution we realized that compliance within the pharmaceutical industry was not fit for everyday R&D, as it inadvertently delayed research and increased indirect costs. Scientist.com seized the opportunity to create a new way of addressing compliance in outsourcing. Our goal was to enable increased visibility, traceability and control when outsourcing services while reducing the administrative burden on those outsourcing these services, promoting relationships that speed up scientific research, thereby reducing the overall cost of projects.
How were things done originally and what was the inspiration to innovate the process?
Prior to COMPLi, compliance approvals within research organizations often varied greatly depending on the organization and their appetite for risk. Smaller organizations with limited resources had to focus only on critical areas of R&D (like clinical trials) and took a more hands off approach to what they deemed ‘lower’ risk areas. For larger organizations, years of bureaucracy had created overly complex, slow, burdensome processes that managed the risk but compromised efficiency and slowed projects. In novel areas of science companies struggled to develop a fit-for-purpose process so focused on finance approvals vs. scientific innovation.
This variation across the industry lead to extended timelines, increased costs and a constantly a moving target for suppliers as they had to customize everything to the needs of each individual client vs. applying the same standards based on the services they were providing. This also demanded increased FTE support and could delay the drug discovery process, which drastically increased the costs to the organization and ultimately patients. COMPLi addresses compliance and governance requirements at every critical step of the sourcing process to speed up drug research.
Scientist.com – as the world’s leading online marketplace for scientific services, we were able to act as an independent third-party facilitator to ensure the needs of all parties were heard, addressed and resolved. Our experience as an online platform provider—over 10 years—and expertise in the sourcing or regulated services, such as human biological samples (HBS), enabled us to understand industry needs and translate them into industry-wide functionality.
What KPIs did you use to measure success for this project? (For example: performance, customer satisfaction, revenue, sales or relevant financial gains?)
COMPLi’s success rested on two components: user adoption and continued usage. Currently, the COMPLi suite is the cornerstone of Scientist.com’s outsourcing capabilities, allowing pharmaceutical companies, academic labs or small biotechs to easily acquire the necessary services and/or materials to complete studies with external third parties. COMPLi also reduces the administrative burden on suppliers of these services, enabling effective relationships to be formed that speed up scientific research. Our entire client list, which includes most of the world’s top pharma, over 100 biotech organizations, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and 4,000 global service providers all currently use COMPLi when outsourcing through the Scientist.com marketplace. Since its inception in 2017, COMPLi has supported hundreds of millions of dollars of research and is now the preferred solution for multiple pharmaceutical companies to support the sourcing of regulated services.
How do you plan to ensure that the new model remains relevant and adapts to the future needs of the market?
Built in collaboration with our biopharma clients and network of suppliers, COMPLi continues to take marketplace needs into consideration as we expand it to cover even more research areas. Its design enables COMPLi to be applied to any regulated service. It is also possible to deliver fast and efficient updates based on external changes to regulations or internal changes required by clients to ensure the needs of tomorrow are proactively addressed today. Flexibility is a key component of COMPLi and has ensured that as more clients use it, they do so based on constantly evolving requirements.
Moving forward, the plan is to grow COMPLi in the pharmaceutical industry so that more companies can ensure all sourcing is done in 100% compliance of their internal policies and procedures while delivering the value procurement brings through cost effective sourcing to save time, money and resources. Scientist.com has the very lofty goal of helping to cure all diseases by 2050, and the benefits COMPLi offers our clients is critical to us achieving that.
What advice do you have for those who may want to implement this innovative approach in their own organizations?
We think the future of procurement and outsourcing will continue the trend of digital transformation. Successful companies will embrace technologies, such as Scientist.com, to enable their procurement professionals to re-evaluate their strategies and extract new and enhanced benefits from their offerings. Also, listening to your customers’ needs and pain points should help guide your processes and offerings. Finally, make every attempt to engage with your customers when developing your new tool/policy or product, because at the end of the day they will be the ones using them, and this will only help to drive adoption and continued usage.
I'm sure your company has many different processes and projects they are outsourcing. Why did you choose to submit this specific project?
As a key component of an online marketplace that connects researchers (clients) with suppliers of outsourced services (including regulated services), COMPLi offers distinct competitive advantages. COMPLi allows clients to compare suppliers side by side under a standardized set of pre-defined criteria, access new suppliers and their innovations quickly and easily and perhaps most importantly, retain a direct contractual relationship with suppliers under COMPLi’s unique legal framework. This means clients can benefit from COMPLi without increasing their risk profile.
On the flip-side, suppliers can communicate how they adhere to compliance and regulatory standards to multiple clients in a single process and instantly increase their client base through a pre-negotiated contract, which provides visibility to all clients and reduces delays, allowing suppliers to focus resources on value-adding activities rather than administrative costs. Plus, suppliers can retain and benefit from the direct contractual relationship with clients through COMPLi’s unique legal framework.