Benchling & Earli: Why biotech startups should get their data right early
Earli’s mission is to radically improve cancer prognoses with early detection. The company’s approach uses technology developed by the late cancer diagnostics pioneer and Earli co-founder Dr. Sam Gambhir. His inspiring search for an early cancer detection method, combined with his own fight against the disease, garnered international attention. Earli recently raised $40 million in Series A funding to carry on Dr. Gambhir’s vision by further developing their injection-based biomarker technology.
Over the past three years, Earli has made significant strides towards its first clinical studies by documenting critical early research using the Benchling platform. Their experiments show how injections of tiny DNA plasmids force cancerous tissues to create an enzyme that glows in PET scans and reveals their position. Thanks to their early investment in Benchling, Earli has been able to record and organize their research in a standardized way, whether with mice with artificially induced tumors, or canines with naturally-occurring tumors. Even when Earli was just a handful of scientists, Cyriac Roeding, cofounder and CEO, knew it was imperative to set the company up for success with a solid data infrastructure. “A high-quality data foundation is a critical investment for young startups that are growing. We don’t have to go through cycles of implementing and replacing software we’ve outgrown, because the Benchling platform provides flexibility that lets us grow our data infrastructure as we grow our company,” says Roeding.
Making data a competitive advantage while scaling
Earli has unlocked a level of data analytics typically only seen in larger, more mature organizations because they invested in a high-quality data foundation with Benchling. For example, leadership has visibility into day-to-day operations and experimental progress. Earli co-founder and CSO Dr. David Suhy pulls data directly from a diverse number of subgroups within the Earli organization into the Benchling platform to answer key business questions around research output and results. This allows leadership to more accurately plan and forecast for the future, and accelerates the timeline for clinical trials of their cancer diagnosis technology. The value of their data will only increase as Earli continues to expand.
If Earli hadn’t invested in a high-quality data foundation from the start, crucial research data from in vitro studies would be much more difficult to analyze. It may also have been challenging for the company to import this data into another software platform down the road. “Earli’s technology relies upon a number of independent components that are bioengineered individually before being reassembled into the genetic constructs for testing. Having a unified platform that captures and centralizes experimental results gives us complete visibility into what’s happening in the lab. As a result, we can plan subsequent experiments with greater speed and precision,” says cofounder and CSO Dr. David Suhy.
Scaling faster than the competition
Earli is scaling up their team and their Benchling usage with their new round of funding. They plan to triple their Benchling footprint over the next three years, matching their expansion over the prior three years. Earli can accelerate its growth because they’ve already invested in their digital infrastructure with Benchling.
Faster scaling means faster time to clinic, which ultimately means faster cancer detection for many patients. Cancer is tough to treat because by the time we can detect it with current methods, the disease has progressed significantly. Turning the dial back by months or years will mean much milder treatments and better survival rates.
The future of cancer detection is coming early
As Earli’s growth accelerates, cancer detection is on the cusp of being radically changed by their technology. They envision a world where an injection and a scan can neutralize the threat of cancer, potentially saving over a million lives annually. We at Benchling are excited to help Earli advance their mission to catch and cure cancer early.