Startup Spotlight: Benchling’s R&D cloud platform
San Francisco-based Benchling offers cloud-based software for research and development in the life science and biotech industry.
The company’s unified applications include solutions known as Notebook, Molecular Biology, Registry, Inventory, and Request & Workflow Management.
Benchling said its customers include the largest pharmaceutical multinationals, as well as emerging biotech challengers, with names include Pfizer, Gilead, Sana and Regeneron. Altogether, over 230,000 scientists and 1,000 R&D organisations have utilised its platform
Since its foundation in 2012, the company has raised almost $112mn across six funding rounds. Its latest Series D round was announced at the end of May of this year, netting the company some $50mn from lead investor Alkeon Capital, alongside others include Thrive Capital, Spark Capital, Menlo Ventures, Lux Capital, ICONIQ Capital and Benchmark.
In a press release, Mark McLaughlin, general partner at Alkeon, said: "The disciplines of biopharma and biotech will create solutions that address some of our generation's biggest challenges, from COVID-19 and various forms of cancer to other serious threats to our welfare. Benchling has engineered an end-to-end, purpose-built software platform indispensable to life sciences companies leading the charge on global R&D. Scientists on the front lines of groundbreaking research leverage Benchling as go-to infrastructure that empowers them to innovate and collaborate at scale, while doing so with unprecedented speed and accuracy."
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic focusing the world’s minds on discover potential vaccines, the company highlighted the part it could play.
Saji Wickramasekara, CEO and founder of Benchling, said: "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, biotechnology is in the global spotlight like never before. We are proud that so many of our customers are relying on Benchling to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines with speed and precision.
“Rapidly solving COVID-19 is just the start of what will solidify this as the century of biotech. This funding enables us to bring that same speed to life science as a whole, no matter the research area – oncology, food and agriculture, energy, or materials. In particular, with our upcoming products to support chemistry-based R&D and chemically-modified biomolecules, Benchling will soon become a singular solution for all of life science."
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.