Benchling Acquires Overwatch Research to Accelerate Breakthroughs for Biopharma Companies
R&D Cloud leader makes acquisition to create the industry’s first comprehensive, cloud-native in vivo solution and deepen its presence in Europe
SAN FRANCISCO, February 24, 2022 — Benchling, pioneer of the R&D Cloud powering the biotechnology industry, announced it has acquired Overwatch Research, a Belfast-based startup creating software to accelerate in vivo research. Overwatch’s configurable, end-to-end study management and execution system broadens the capabilities of Benchling’s R&D Cloud, which serves as a single source of truth for biotech R&D. Through this acquisition, Benchling will create the industry’s first comprehensive, cloud-native in vivo solution, completing its Early Development offering and helping customers accelerate the time to bring products to the clinic.
In vivo studies are a critical component of drug discovery and development, and are required prior to any first-in-human studies of a drug. This process is known as preclinical development.
Benchling and Overwatch share a vision of digitally transforming R&D. Scientists relying on paper notebooks, spreadsheets, and other manual processes for capturing and analyzing complex experimental data often find it difficult to reproduce results, a fundamental part of the scientific method. In the U.S. alone, the annual economic cost of biomedical research — including in vivo studies — that cannot be replicated was estimated at $10 to $50 billion. According to a recent report from The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology, more than half of high-impact cancer lab studies could not be replicated.
“Our software tackles core challenges contributing to the preclinical reproducibility crisis. This helps biopharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations (CROs) reduce errors, increase confidence for first-in-human studies, and ultimately get drugs to patients faster," said Chris Armstrong, co-founder and CEO of Overwatch. “By incorporating our in vivo study capabilities into Benchling’s industry-leading R&D Cloud, we’ll be able to reach more scientists and help them turn initial research findings into life-saving products.”
“Overwatch impressed us with their ability to build the first truly modern product for in vivo studies that is beloved by its customers,” said Sajith Wickramasekara, CEO and co-founder of Benchling. “Many of our biopharma and CRO customers are looking for a comprehensive offering that brings together Benchling's bioanalytical capabilities with Overwatch's in vivo study management and we look forward to Overwatch addressing that growing demand. Welcoming the Overwatch team to Benchling will also deepen our presence in Europe.”
Benchling recorded triple-digit year-over-year revenue growth in its fiscal quarter ending October 2021, with a 70% increase in year-over-year customer count. In the last year, Benchling has introduced new capabilities and solutions, including support for Early Development and RNA therapeutics. In just over one year since entering the EMEA market, Benchling has reached over 120 customers in Europe, including Alchemab Therapeutics, AviadoBio Ltd, Cutiss AG, Wellcome Sanger Institute’s Tree of Life programme, Selexis SA, and Syngenta, and grown its European team to more than 90 people.
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