MS2012-02: ReaLM - Business modeling a reagent library management solution

posted Mar 28, 2012, 2:27 AM by Marco Spruit   [ updated Mar 12, 2013, 6:56 AM ]
The Cell Screening Center at the UMCU’s Department of Cell Biology uses robotic systems for carrying out large scale biological experiments. They use large libraries of reagents, e.g a library of ~ 80,000 individual siRNAs and another library of ~55,000 individual chemicals. [Small interfering RNA = double-stranded of molecules of RiboNucleic Acid]

The resulting experiments generate large amounts data which can be multi-parametric in character so you can imagine their informatics needs are extensive. One project that they are currently working on is a relational database solution for reagent library management.

They looked at commercial solutions but these did not meet their needs as they were primarily designed for clinical settings. In the end they decided to modify and implement an open source solution but this is rightfully seen as an intermediate solution. They feel that there is a gap in the market for a library management system for academic and industrial users possibly with cloud-based functionality. We understand however that the lack of such a product may be a reflection of the difficulty in turning such an idea into a viable business model.

It’s up to you to research whether a viable business model can be constructed for this niche.