A high-tech Angie’s List

New OnDeckBiotech platform connects researchers with drug discovery expertise

Lloyd Dunlap
JERSEY CITY, N.J.—The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and OnDeckBiotech have announced the launch of ADDF ACCESS, a new and improved open-access platform to connect scientists with a virtual network of contract research organizations (CROs), drug development experts and educational resources. By leveraging OnDeckBiotech’s digital technology, the enhanced ADDF ACCESS platform will streamline links between researchers and CROs specializing in diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) to expedite drug discovery research and development.
 
ADDF ACCESS users will see improved functionalities across the ADDF ACCESS platform, including direct communication with CROs and consultants, a suite of project management tools and educational resources focused on drug development for CNS diseases. The new ADDF ACCESS platform powered by OnDeckBiotech went live in early September right after the ADDF’s 15th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery, held Sept. 8-9, in Jersey City, N.J.
 
“This is an exciting opportunity to leverage the OnDeck technology and a dedicated development team to improve the functionality of ADDF ACCESS,” said Dr. Howard Fillit, executive director and chief science officer of ADDF, in a statement announcing the collaboration. “The new platform will streamline the process of identifying and contracting with CROs that have pharmaceutical development expertise for challenging CNS diseases. This type of expertise is critical to the success of translational CNS research programs in academia and small biotechnology companies.”
 
“It’s not uncommon for a study director to spend weeks searching for and evaluating vendors experienced with a particular model. These costly delays are an unnecessary distraction for scientific teams, and any misstep can compromise an otherwise promising program,” said Cliff Culver, CEO and founder of OnDeckBiotech. “We have seen significant savings of time and reduced administrative cost for both sponsors and vendors on the platform, and we are confident these improvements have a positive impact on research efficiency.”
 
Culver notes that his company and ADDF were “working on similar things independently of each other.” ADDF realized that vendors were having trouble sourcing quality CROs, and the partnership with OnDeck was the result. OnDeck provides a cloud-based platform, which has now been customized for the Alzheimer’s community, to improve functionality, with enhanced search capabilities to help researchers identify companies that provide specific services relevant to CNS drug discovery and development.
 
The service includes detailed profiles of featured CROs, including information on platform technologies relevant to CNS indications, opportunities to rate and review CROs and directly communicate with consultants and key personnel at participating CROs. Project management tools enable users to easily distribute requests for proposals (RFPs) to multiple vendors and ensure robust, competitive bids, including an RFP template, contracting templates and relationship history-tracking data. Educational material to support CRO selection and program design, including recommendations for selecting and managing CRO contracts, and access to webinars from the ADDF’s Annual Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration Conference are all part of the package.
 
By facilitating quality connections between scientists and top-tier drug discovery experts, ADDF ACCESS removes an enormous hurdle to undertaking drug discovery and development in academia and small biotechnology companies, Culver notes. In addition, it’s provided as a free service to users. Vendors pay for the privilege of being listed and profit when new business is directed their way
 
The mission of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation is to accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s diseases, related dementias and cognitive aging. The ADDF has granted more than $65 million to fund over 450 Alzheimer’s drug discovery programs in academic centers and biotechnology companies in 18 countries. In 2013, 100 percent of funds raised by the ADDF went directly to Alzheimer’s drug research and other related programs.
 
OnDeckBiotech is a Boston-based software company that provides software tools for biotech, pharma and R&D service vendors. The OnDeck team previously launched the MassBio Gateway, a portal to facilitate connections for the New England cluster, and BIO BizLink in collaboration with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) at this year’s BIO International Convention.

Lloyd Dunlap

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