About Us: Linking The Biospecimen Provider & Requester

Biosample Hub is a UK-based not-for-profit company, incorporation date: 12th March 2020. Company number 12514786. The not-for-profit status of Biosample Hub matches the non-commercial biobanks it serves. In addition, it offers complete financial transparency. Altogether, these features minimise any ethical concerns about biobanking commercialisation. The Biosample Hub platform helps match-making between the public sector human tissue sample supplier and the private sector company. For example, it allows hospital biobanks to meet with biotech companies. Significantly, direct communication between the biospecimen provider and requester allows for full sample traceability, which has ethical and scientific benefits.

 

Companies Seeking A Human Tissue Sample Supplier

Biosample Hub provides companies with access to a non-commercial biospecimen provider network. Each company can communicate with each one of the biobanks. This direct contact allows the company to assess biobank quality and reliability. It also promotes mutual understanding and the exchange of information between the human tissue sample provider and requester. In addition, it may bring benefits like sharing expertise through collaborative research. Read more

Researchers need biospecimen provider services

Biobanks Aiming To Provide Biospecimens To Industry

Biosample Hub makes non-commercial biobanks visible to biotech companies seeking biospecimens. Furthermore, it allows the biospecimen provider and requester to make contact. Without doubt, providing biospecimens to these companies can supplement the income of the biobank. In addition, a partnership between biospecimen provider and requester may provide funding for collaborative research. It is important to realise that partnership involving supply of human tissue samples may also bring scientific benefits. For example, benefits like the sharing of equipment and expertise. Read more

human tissue sample supplier

Director

Dr Robert Hewitt is both Founder and Director of Biosample Hub. He has a longstanding interest in connecting the biospecimen provider in the public sector, with the requester in the private sector.

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Robert qualified in medicine in 1983. He has a first-class honours degree in immunology & microbiology. He also has a PhD in virology.

Robert was a clinical lecturer in pathology at the University of Nottingham from 1989-94. Following this, he was a Fogarty visiting fellow at the US NCI Lab of Pathology from 1994-98. Subsequently, he was a clinical fellow at ICSM, London from 1998-2000. At this time, Professors Gordon Stamp and El-Nasir Lalani introduced him to biobanking.  Also to the need to connect the human tissue sample supplier in the public sector, with requesters in industry.

Robert went on to establish biobanks in Riyadh and Singapore between 2000 and 2009. Significantly, he joined a biobanking society called ISBER in 2002. Then he went on to organise their first annual conference in Asia (Singapore, 2007) and became the first non-US president in 2008. He was subsequently appointed European Editor of the Cell Preservation Technology journal in 2009. In this role, he championed the journal’s evolution into Biopreservation and Biobanking. This journal, also known as Bio, is now the leading journal in the biobanking field. See From the Editors Desk, Biopreservation & Biobanking, 7, 93 (2009).

Robert co-founded ESBB in 2010 (European society for biospecimen providers). He subsequently organised seven annual international conferences between 2011 and 2017. These were in Marseille, Granada, Verona, London, Leipzig, Vienna and Stockholm. Significantly, the 2017 Stockholm conference, named Global Biobank Week, was a collaboration with BBMRI-ERIC and ISBER. Furthermore, this conference attracted a total of 857 participants from 53 different countries.

He received ISBER’s Outstanding Achievement in Biobanking Award in 2012.

For more details, see Robert’s profile on LinkedIn. Here you can also find his LinkedIn group called ‘Drug Targets and Biomarkers‘.

Selected Publications

Hewitt, R.E. Biobanking: the foundation of personalised medicine. Curr Opin Oncol. 23(1):112-9 (2011).

Hewitt R, Hainaut P. Biobanking in a fast-moving world: an international perspective. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2011(42):50-1 (2011).

Harris JR, et al. Toward a roadmap in global biobanking for health. Eur J Hum Genet. 20(11):1105-11 (2012)

Hewitt, R.E and Watson, P. Defining Biobank. Biopreservation and Biobanking. 11, 309-15 (2013).

Hewitt, R.E., Grizzle, W.E., Watson, P.H., Lee, Y., di Donato, J.-H., Vaught, J. (2017). Biobank and Expertise Networks. In Biobanking of Human Biospecimens. Principles and Practice. Pierre Hainaut, P., Vaught, J., Zatloukal, K, Pasterk, M. Eds. (Springer International Publishing), pp 111-135.

Talks as Invited Speaker

Keynote speaker at ISBER Annual Meeting. Bethesda, MD, USA. 3 May 2006.

ISBER annual meeting. Singapore. 31 May 2007. ‘Integration of clinical, pathology and molecular data at the NUH-NUS Tissue Repository’.

Korean National Assembly, Seoul, South Korea. Presentation to a government committee on international biobanking harmonisation. September 2007.

Chair of Informa symposium in Munich, Germany, November 2007. ‘The challenges of creating national and international biobanking networks’.

BBMRI ‘kick-off meeting’ (Pan-European Biobanking Initiative) in Hinton, Cambridge, 10-12 February 2008. ‘A brief review of ISBER’s evolving role as an international biobanking forum’.

European Science Foundation Conference on Biobanks. Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Spain. 5 November 2008. ‘Biobank Networks in Asia’.

Indian Society for Human Genetics. New Delhi, India. 17-20 March 2009. ‘Challenges in Biobanking Practice: the need to raise standards and harmonise’.

Asian Network for Research Resource Center, 1st meeting. Held in Seoul, South Korea. 21 – 25 September 2009.

BIOBANQUES kick-off meeting, Institut Pasteur, Paris. 7 November 2011. Title: ESBB: a biobanking society for Europe, the Middle East and Africa

TMF Annual Conference in Kiel, Germany. 29 March 2012. ‘The role of international organisations in strengthening the biobanking community.’

ESBB Annual Conference, Granada, Spain. 8 November 2012. ‘Controversies in biobanking: The Definition of Biobank’.

Asian Network for Research Resource Centers, 4th meeting. Held on Jeju Island, South Korea. 17 – 19 October 2012. Presentation title: Biobank sustainability -Securing long-term funding for high-performance disease-oriented biobanks.

Biobanking 2019 in Porto, Portugal. February 14-15, 2019. ‘Academic biobanks and industry: overcoming obstacles to efficient collaboration and mutual benefit.’

Rencontres Toulousaines Club 3C-R , Toulouse, France. June 2016 & 2018.

ISBER Annual Meeting in Shanghai, China. May 7-10, 2019. ‘How Commercial Biobanks Are Helping Industry Develop New Drugs And Diagnostics. What Can Academic Biobanks Learn From Them?’

Scientific Consultant

Dr Abderrahmane Bengrine is Scientific Consultant for Biosample Hub. He has many years of experience in both academic research and in biobanking.

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Dr Bengrine is Scientific Consultant

Dr Bengrine received his BSc degree in Biology from the University Mohamed V, Rabat Morocco in 1990. He moved to France and completed his PhD in Cell Biology and Microbiology at the University of Aix Marseilles.

 

In 1998, he joined the College of Pharmacy at Xavier University of Louisiana (USA), as a Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2001, he moved to Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Research Scientist in charge of the molecular biology platform dedicated to studying the physiological aspect of ions transport in the human kidney. In 2005, he was promoted to Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo to continue his research on epithelial sodium channel regulation using molecular biology and electrophysiology.

 

In 2008, Dr Bengrine moved back to France to join the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Picardie as a Senior Scientist. He was in charge of the Molecular Biology aspect of different research projects investigating the impact of chronic renal failure on brain endothelium dysfunction. In 2010, Dr Bengrine was hired as R&D project manager at the Biobanque of Picardie Amiens University Hospital. After less than 2 years, Dr Bengrine was promoted to Manager of the R&D department.

 

In addition to his research activities, Dr Bengrine mentored several PhD and master’s students and authored more than 30 articles and book chapters. He successfully collaborated with different companies, by providing either scientific and technical support or biological samples such as cells or tissues recovered from consenting patients. Dr Bengrine was also involved in different research projects with the public sector and successfully raised funds for his research.

 

About his new role, Dr Bengrine said: “Joining the Biosample Hub as a Consultant gives me the chance to use my skills in both research and biobanking. By matching companies and Biobanks, this platform takes the amelioration of human health one step further and I’m proud to play a part in it.”

Biobanking Advisor

Ms Apoorva Srinivasan holds an M.Tech in Biotechnology and a Masters degree in Biobanking. She is Biobanking Advisor for Biosample Hub and plays a vitally important role in linking biotech companies with biobanks that can meet their sample needs.

Personal statement ...

Apoorva Srinivasan is Biobanking Advisor

After my 4-year B.Tech in Biotechnology (2009-2013), I completed an M.Tech in Biotechnology (2013-2016). I then decided to pursue a Professional Masters course in Biobanks and Complex Data Management in Nice, France, as I was keen to learn advanced technologies and contribute to the health care sector. My course required me to have two industry internships of six months each as a part of the curriculum. I performed my first internship at the Estonian Genome Center Tartu (EGCUT), Estonia, on ‘The Management of Population-based biobank and its application in Health Care Industry’. I had an excellent learning experience in the latest technologies in the Estonian Genome Center, where I got an opportunity to work in all the departments of the biobank. During my internship, I was involved in an ongoing Estonian Government project collecting 100,000 gene donors by the end of that year. I also had the privilege of meeting the Honourable President of Estonia, Ms Kersti Kaljulaid, who visited the Genome Center. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to have worked under the tutelage of the Director of EGCUT, Dr Andres Metspalu. I also attended the 18th Gene Forum in Estonia in June 2018, where speakers from worldwide gathered together to share their achievements in the field.

During the second year of my Master’s in Biobanking and Complex Data Management, I performed my internship in the Gaslini Hospital and Institute in the Genetics Department in Genova, Italy, a Rare Disease biobank. I served my internship under the guidance of Dr Dominico Coviello, the Director of the Laboratory of Human Genetics biobank. My second internship included culture the different types of cell lines, working with the Prenatal diagnosis team, NGS team and other PCR techniques. In addition, I was involved in the study about the Ethical and Legal issues with respect to the privacy of the genetic data of the donors. After completing my Master’s, I worked as a Visiting Scientist in Gaslini Hospital, where I worked on ISO 20387 pertaining to biobanking.

Biobanks enable researchers and scientists to study and eradicate diseases and save lives. I want to be an element of innovation in this field, creating a better tomorrow for everyone. Biosample Hub is an excellent platform that bridges the gap between the biobanks and the industry (biotech/pharma companies) by providing human tissue samples for research and human biospecimens with reliable provenance information. Joining Biosample Hub as a Biobanking Advisor gives me a wonderful opportunity to utilize the knowledge and training I gained through my Master’s degree to work in the Biobanking / Biotech industry, where I will look to contribute actively in this field. I hope in the future to create an effective technology that will add value to human life.

International Strategy Advisor

Dr Sakshi Setia is a medical practitioner with a special interest in the development of health policy. She plays a key role in sustainability planning for Biosample Hub.

Personal statement ...

Dr Sakshi Setia is International Strategy Advisor

“I am a medical professional with experience in policy design and execution for health programmes in both the public and commercial sectors. My medical degree is from Baba Farid University of Health Sciences in Faridkot, India, where I received a distinction and an academic achievement award. Throughout my studies, I got fascinated by the inner workings of health systems and the development of health policies across systems. So I went on to City, University of London to obtain a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences, which I received with honours. Following that, I pursued an MSc in International Health Management at Imperial College London, where I graduated with distinction, once again.

I enjoy working with a range of stakeholders to understand their needs and then building solutions that are personalised to address them using a multidisciplinary approach. In the past year, I’ve done consulting work for a Nigerian digital health start-up, an NGO in Lebanon and, most recently, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health. I am a strategic thinker, focused on designing and implementing systems that achieve improved health outcomes through evidence-based interventions.

Biosample Hub is an excellent online platform that connects biotech and pharmaceutical companies with non-profit biobanks while ensuring financial transparency. The ideals on which it is based, drew me in the most, particularly in terms of minimising any ethical issues about biobanking commercialization and bridging the gap between public and private sector human tissue sample providers. Bio-sample traceability is frequently jeopardised due to commercial interests. It’s vital to understand the ethical and scientific consequences of this.

I believe that by combining my abilities and knowledge with the rest of the Biosample Hub team, we will be able to develop an effective and sustainable strategy for this not-for-profit company and contribute to the global movement of uniting Biotechs and Pharma with non-commercial Biobanks.”

 

Advisory Panel

Your Title Goes Here
Dr Eng Chon Boon

Dr Eng Chon Boon, is the director for the Tissue Repository, National University Hospital (NUH) and runs the Hospital-based Cancer Registry (HCR) at the National University Cancer Institute (NCIS) and has an adjunct position in the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (SSHSPH), National University of Singapore (NUS). He is also the principal person-in-charge of tissue banks across the National University Health System (NUHS) public healthcare cluster and the lead PI for the Singapore Integrated Network of Biorepositories (SINB), an infrastructure network formed by academic tissue repositories in Singapore. He is the Singapore’s convenor for ISO//TC276 Biotechnology and in the editorial board of “Biopreservation and Biobanking” by Mary Ann Liebert.

He is a past recipient for International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) special service award (2010) and had numerous voluntary responsibilities within the ISBER over the years (Councilor, Chair of the ISBER Marketing Committee, members of ISBER Finance, Nominating, Strategic Planning, Program Committee). He is also the Vice-chair of Local Organizing Committee for the 2007 ISBER Annual Meeting in Singapore.

He has numerous publications/book chapter/patent in the field of biobanking and had given talks, conducted biobanking workshops and consulted for various international biobanks over the past 15 years. For a list of biobanking activities and further info, please refer to the following:

Publications

LinkedIn profile

Tissue Repository website

 

Dr Rajeev Singh

Dr. Rajeev Singh, MD, MBA, is Director, Biorepository at Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, TX, USA. Dr. Singh is a trained pathologist, obtaining his basic medical and specialist degree in India and his MBA from USA. Dr. Singh has been a biobanker for last 15 years having worked across various positions in biobanks in Singapore and US.

Dr. Singh is an active ISBER member for last 15 years and has been involved with the Biospecimen Science, Standards and Finance committees of ISBER, currently and in the past. Dr. Singh has co-chaired sessions and led round table discussions on important biobanking issues in past ISBER meetings. Dr. Singh has been a part of the task force that reviewed the 4th edition of ISBER Best practices. Dr. Singh has delivered international talks on biobanking related topics and sits on the advisory panel for an Indian biobank. Dr. Singh has published/presented biobanking related articles and posters in various journals and conferences.

Dr. Singh’s focus areas in biobanking are biospecimen quality and donor perspectives. Dr. Singh is currently driving his biorepository towards CAP accreditation and is a certified CAP Biorepository Inspector.

Mr Barjinder Sahota

Barjinder is a solicitor-advocate with nearly 30 years litigation experience at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.  He is now deep diving into issues related to ethics and compliance in the areas of health research (including clinical trials), biobanking, health data, artificial intelligence and robotics – including the application of blockchain and smart contracts.  He sits on a number of ethics committees involved in health, biobanking, and technology. Detailed bio

Dr Ray Perkins

Dr. Ray Perkins, PhD, is Founder and President of New Liberty Proteomics Corp., an organization whose unique mission is integration of Drug and Diagnostics development in support of Personalized (Precision) Medicine.  NLP assesses the impact of disease and drugs on fundamental molecular and cellular activity.  Areas of emphasis include development of network-based diagnostics for cancer and dementia.  Dr. Perkins earned a PhD from Vanderbilt University where he was a research fellow for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, adapting magnetic resonance technologies to assessment and diagnosis of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Recent activities include expert panelist for events such as “Medicines in the 21st Century” recently held in Wales, and multiple publications*, each of which has been downloaded thousands of times.  In this era of the COVID pandemic Dr. Perkins is called upon in multiple capacities including evaluation of likely therapies and diagnostics.

* “Making the Case for Functional Proteomics”

“Proteases, Pivot Points in Functional Proteomics”

“COVID-19 Pandemic Surgery Guidance”

Dr Jeanne-Hélène di Donato

Jeanne-Hélène di Donato has been involved in biobank professionalization for almost 25 years, first as manager of the French AFM-Généthon biobank for a period of 14 years, then as a consultant for biobanks through her 3C-R Company for the past 15 years. She worked for many years on the establishment of best practices for Biological Resource Centres. For example, she was a Member of the French delegation to the OECD BRC Task Force and leader of the working group on best practice guidelines for human-derived material. She participated in the development of French law on management of collections and use of human samples for research. She is also co-author of French Standard NF S 96-900 for a biobank quality management system.

Today she is certified for her consulting activities  (helping biobanks with their logistics, quality management systems, administrative, ethical and legal development requirements) and training missions. She is also an auditor (NF S 96-900, ISO 20387, ISO 9001). She is the manager of the largest francophone biobank network (125 biobanks are members of Club 3C-R) established to promote discussion, collaboration and problem solving, In addition, she is a lecturer on Master degree for biobank managers at the Catholic University of Lyon. She is a member of the French Ethical Committee for clinical trials, and also a member of  Eurobiobank, ISBER and ESBB international biobanking networks.

Dr Fay Betsou

Dr Betsou (PhD, HDR) is Chief Scientific Officer at IBBL. She has 25 years of experience in molecular diagnostics, disease-oriented biobanking and biospecimen research, and 15 years of experience in ISO 9001 and ISO 17025 application to biobanks. She holds 3 patents, authored of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and teaches in several biobanking training courses across Europe. She is the chair of the ISBER Biospecimen Science Working Group and of the Proficiency Testing Advisory Group and the Luxembourg national delegate in ISO REMCO and ISO TC276.

Mr Liam Burke Masterson

Liam Burke Masterson is a Clinical Partnership Manager at Genuity Science. One of his current key roles is to build longstanding mutually beneficial collaborations with clinicians and academic cohort custodians. Genuity Science is a contract genomics and data-sourcing, analytics and insights organization headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, USA with offices in Dublin, Ireland and Reykjavik, Iceland. Genuity works in collaboration with clinicians, patients, academic researchers and global pharmaceutical companies to use the power of population genomics to discover pathways to new treatments and new diagnostics.

Liam has an M.Sc. in Project and Programme Management as well as extensive background in Biobanking having been a key member of the Qatar Biobank team from initiation stages through collaboration with Imperial College London towards biobank maturity. During this time, he gained extensive insight from biobanking experts including many of the leading international experts, including hands on experience such as disaster management, cryopreservation and transition to automaton. During this time Liam became involved with ESBB and ISBER and has continued to participate in the biobanking community. Liam spent over 7 years in the Middle East until returning to his native Ireland in 2018 to take up his current position with one of the leading genomics organisations.

Mr Daniel Uribe

CEO & Co Founder of Genobank.io, Serial Entrepreneur, +15 years experience in UNIX, Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing; +5 years experience in Blockchain & Smart Contracts.  Recently specialized in the intersection of Privacy Laws, Genomics & Bioinformatics.

Holds BS Electronics Engineering, MBA from IPADE Business School, Executive Programs @ Stanford GSB, Singularity University; Data Science at Galvanize & RNAseq at EcSeq Bioinformatics GmbH (Berlin).

Mr Neil Mitchell-Clark

Neil Mitchell-Clark is on the Advisory Panel of Biosample Hub

Neil is a Fellow and Lifetime Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) and has worked as a professional CFO, for many years, across a broad range of publicly listed and larger privately owned businesses.

He has been working as a Corporate Advisor since 2014, advising a broad range of businesses and NFP’s on strategic planning and development, performance improvement, turnarounds, workouts, managing insolvency situations, litigation support/expert witness, corporate governance, M&A, IPO’s, capital raisings and investor relations.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks are due to Mr Barjinder Sahota, Solicitor-Advocate, Mayfair, London, UK. In particular for his excellent advice on legal and business development matters. Also, for his solid and continuous support for the Biosample Hub project.
 
The following people and organisations have also provided much-appreciated help for this initiative:
  • Jeff Bartlett of Nurture Ventures for support with business development.
  • Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AberInnovation) for support through their BioAccelerate business development programme.
  • Crowdfight for recruiting volunteers to help with the website development and language translations.
  • CL Web Developers, Victoria, Canada, for help in website development. In addition, special thanks are due to Mr Paul Atkins for his extra voluntary support.
  • AgorIP, Swansea University, Wales, UK, for business planning support.
  • Social Business Wales for guidance on not-for-profit business development for this human tissue supplier network.

Press Release Announcements

The Operating Theatre Journal, June, 2021

NE Connected, May 25, 2021

Business Mondays, May 14, 2021

Health Tech World, May 13, 2021  Biosample Hub creates world-first. Article by Deborah Johnson. ‘A world-first in biosampling is helping to redefine the traditional way in which researchers in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry gather the biosamples they need. Through the creation of Biosample Hub, industry can find academic biobank partners to secure biosamples in a way which provides solutions to the traditional problems around biosample procurement…’

Business News Wales, May 13, 2021

SME Business News, May 12, 2021

West Wales Chronicle, May 11, 2021

Manchester TV, May 11, 2021

PharmiWeb, May 11, 2021

OpenSpecimen, May 4, 2021

Lab Bulletin, May 3, 2021

South Wales Guardian, May 2, 2021

The Daily Brit, May, 2021

Business In The News, May 2021

Laboratory News, April 28, 2021

Healthcare Global, April 27, 2021

Healthcare Newsdesk, April 27, 2021

London News Today, April 27, 2021

Eminetra, April 27, 2021

Herald Wales

Kent Business Radio 

All Post News

News From Wales