Move creates one of the world’s largest virtual biobanks

Dr Peter Simpson

Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) has today (August 18) announced the rapid expansion of its Biosamples supply network, creating one of the largest virtual biobanks worldwide accessible to life science innovators.

MDC, based at Alderley Park, Cheshire, welcomes Audubon Biosciences, Biomex, Caltag Medsystems and Tissue for Research to its network of patient sample suppliers, building on its ongoing collaboration with Tissue Solutions.

The rapid expansion of the virtual network to more than 330 clinical sites and 1.5 million banked Biosamples increases the scale, range, and types of clinical samples available to UK innovators in drug discovery and diagnostics.

These partners have been carefully selected for their complementary ability to serve the community, and includes specialists in ultra-rapid sample distribution, sample access, liquid biopsy/diagnostics development and provides access to unique bio-sample sources.

MDC helps industrial and academic innovators to understand their sample needs and then source samples from a network of trusted suppliers.

Ensuring correct samples are ethically sourced removes risks and speeds up R&D, supporting MDC’s aim to make the sector more predictive and more productive.

The network has already been employed to support the UK’s response to coronavirus, providing diagnostic innovators, researchers, and industry grant applicants with ethical routes to Biosamples not previously available to many in the UK.

MDC will extend this approach across all disease areas to rapidly accelerate UK drug discovery and diagnostic projects.

Prof Peter Simpson, chief scientific officer of Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “Despite millions of UK patients donating samples for scientific research, access remains a barrier to R&D productivity.

“At MDC we are expanding our tissue samples network further, because we are committed to ensuring UK life science organisations can readily access the samples they need to conduct experiments that are vital for the discovery of new medicines.”