Biological Sample Management & Gaining Access to Diverse Samples: The Web of Collaboration

Chanice Henry

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On the route to creating new therapeutics for patients, pharma firms require access a range of diverse biological samples. However, one challenge for the market is locating collaborations that will provide a channel to diverse and high quality samples. This is mirrored by the intentions of both public biobanks and academic or hospital biobanks which have a strong focus on hosting and distributing good quality samples that are of high usability in the eyes of biopharma firms.

A recent report noted that the advancement of technology in regards to personalized medicine is a dominant contributor to the growth of the biobank market, and arguably the need for access to more diverse samples. (4) Also, alliances between firms in the biobanking space have been marked as a major growing trend in the market.


In regards to the importance of collaborations for the future of biobanking, Marcel Bruinenberg, Project Manager LifeLines noted: “I think, [the] future for biobanks is linked [to] collaborations because you cannot survive [alone] doing the biobanking storage part and selling stores and have samples and data on loan, so you have to do more and the critical part in that is finding collaborations.”

One reason validating the importance of collaborations between biobanks is related to the usability and value of the data they hold. Heli Salimen-Mankonen, Research Director at Auria Biobank said: “So, actually, our aim is to give as much as possible the sample out for high-level medical research and R&D. [Also], to really get [the] data back and increase the value of the samples.”

Marcel Bruinenberg added in regards to how important collaborations are: “I think, [they are] crucial for the sustainability of a biobank in general.”

This impact on sustainability can be segmented into a few parts. Firstly, in terms of branding, so if a biobank is collaborating with a lot of groups their brand awareness and recognition on a public relations level will be heightened. Secondly, the funds generated from these collaborations help sustain a biobank. Lastly, collaborations incur a sense of justification. On this subject Marcel Bruinenberg added: “If you have a lot of collaborations, you justify your existence. So you’re making clear to the outside world that you are really important.”

Some industry commentators have agreed that it is vital for biobanks to have collaborations with a variety of parties in order to benefit from the different services they provide.

In regards to optimizing biological sample management, the advantages of connecting with a range of parties, especially in the mission to gain access to diverse samples, creates a web of collaboration.

With this in mind, in this infographic Pharma IQ examines this web of collaboration between biobanks both public and commercial, pharma firms, biotech firms and academia in regards to biological sample management. This piece also breaks downthe finer details of these collaborations including mapping the traditional motivations of each parties, providing tips for improvement and assessing the usual stumbling blocks.