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SampleSmart is a biospecimen procurement company. We source biological samples for life science researchers to use in their R&D studies.

Biospecimen Procurement: The Advantages of Outsourcing

What do a biomedical researcher designing a series of experiments, a project manager at a CRO working on a proposal for a new client, and the CSO of a growing biotech company have in common? They likely all need to procure biospecimens in order to perform their work.

Sourcing high quality biospecimens is a necessity in life science R&D. Human biospecimens are required at all stages of the product development life cycle: from basic research, to pre-clinical studies, to verification and validation studies. Although biospecimens are such an important resource, they can be difficult, expensive and time consuming to obtain.

In this article, we will discuss biospecimen procurement and the reasons why outsourcing this process to a specialist company like SampleSmart may benefit your R&D workflow.

What is Biospecimen Procurement?

Biospecimen procurement is the process of sourcing biospecimens (e.g. whole blood samples, fresh tissue samples, FFPE tissue blocks, etc.) to be used for life science R&D studies. There are several steps involved in biospecimen procurement, including identifying biospecimen providers who have access to the samples you need; ordering the samples; monitoring the sample collections; and shipping the samples. There are a number of different avenues for obtaining biospecimens, including setting up studies directly with clinicians; using university or hospital biobanks; or using commercial biospecimen companies. All of these procurement options have distinct pros and cons. We’ve discussed these in a separate article (Where to Source Human Biological Samples for Research).

Reasons to Outsource Biospecimen Procurement

If you have ever tried to source biospecimens, chances are you experienced some difficulties. Here are some of the key advantages of outsourcing biospecimen procurement to an experienced biospecimen procurement company.

1. Single Point Of Access To Hundreds Of Biospecimen Providers

Finding specific biospecimens can be difficult, even with many potential sources around the world. Typically, when a scientist or company is searching for biospecimens, they will contact several different providers to obtain quotes. Each of those suppliers will have their own capabilities, requirements, quirks and limitations, both known and unknown. Finding the right set of suppliers for a given sample type, comparing their different proposals, and making the best choice among them is no easy task.

A biospecimen procurement specialist, like SampleSmart, can make this process much faster and easier. They have a large network of pre-approved sample providers, they know what each of those providers can do, and they will match provider capabilities to your exact requirements.

A client deals only with SampleSmart, from initial query through quote, purchase order, sample delivery, billing and payment. SampleSmart’s experience, attention to detail and ongoing business relationships with multiple suppliers helps reduce the uncertainties of sample procurement.

2. Choose From Only The Most Advantageous Options

Every biospecimen request has its own ranking of priorities among cost, timeline, location, and logistics. In some cases, there is a maximum cost per sample that must be met. Often, the timeline is compressed. Sometimes samples need to be delivered within three days of procurement, or must only be sourced in North America.

The first job of a procurement specialist is to help the client to make their priorities explicit. Once the client’s real constraints are fully articulated and understood, the search can be tailored to meet those specific goals.

In practice, though, it may not be that simple. A set of priorities can conflict. Meeting a cost constraint could require expanding the set of possible provider locations. On the other hand, if the timeline is of highest priority, then the cost may have to go up.

Because of their experience in the marketplace and their database of provider capabilities, a biospecimen procurement specialist is uniquely positioned to help a client weigh these tradeoffs early in the process. When done correctly, this results in a more focused and productive search, and quicker and better results.

3. Flexibility And Expertise To Resolve Any Problems

Sometimes a research organization changes its mind. For example, the number of samples required might double after the order has been placed, or the sample criteria might narrow or broaden while the order is being finalized.

Sometimes sample providers also encounter difficulties. For example, an unexpected local emergency might reduce the rate at which they can obtain samples from local hospitals.

A biospecimen procurement specialist can navigate through these situations, smoothing any bumps in the road along the way. If an order needs to be redirected, or split among multiple suppliers, or persuasively expedited, they can do it. Any material change to an order must, of course, be approved by the client.

SampleSmart has experience working with both sides of the procurement process: the clients (scientists/companies/procurement teams) and the biospecimen suppliers. This experience means SampleSmart knows how to recognize and minimize risks, and take proactive steps when necessary, in order to help safeguard the client from any potential issues that may arise.

4. Reduces Time, Effort and Costs

Outsourcing biospecimen procurement to an expert will save you time and effort, clearly reducing those costs. But In addition, SampleSmart’s wide network of providers enables us to find biospecimens at a variety of price points, usually lower than you can find yourself.

Cost can be an important factor that determines whether a project can move forward or not. A client can contact SampleSmart at any point during their study planning process, and SampleSmart will gladly provide them with biospecimen procurement options and estimated costs to help better plan their research.

5. Increases The Likelihood Of Finding Needed Samples

Everyone in biomedical research knows of projects that have been delayed or abandoned because the necessary biospecimens could not be obtained. This possibility adds unnecessary stress to the participants, and may even affect their research choices.

Choosing a biospecimen procurement specialist to source your biospecimens reduces the risk that this will happen to you.

SampleSmart works with a wide network of providers across all disease areas and biospecimen types. Chances are SampleSmart already knows multiple providers who can supply the specific biospecimens a client needs. If not, SampleSmart will put all their knowledge and expertise to work finding them for the client.

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Who Uses Human Biological Samples?

Human biological samples are biological materials that are obtained from living or deceased human subjects. Some examples of biological samples include blood, urine, stool, tissue, cells,

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SampleSmart is a biospecimen procurement company. We source biological samples for life science researchers to use in their R&D studies.

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biological samples scientists doctors

Who Uses Human Biological Samples?

Human biological samples are biological materials that are obtained from living or deceased human subjects. Some examples of biological samples include blood, urine, stool, tissue, cells,

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