Partnership Benefits, Director,
Advisory Panel & Acknowledgements
Industry requesters need biosamples for their research to develop new drugs and diagnostics. Partnership with academic biobank providers helps ensure quality and provenance and may bring additional benefits like sharing clinical and scientific expertise through collaborative research. Biosample Hub helps industry requesters to find appropriate academic biobank partners and then promotes direct communication to maximise benefits.
A Partnering Initiative
Biosample Hub helps industry requesters to partner with academic providers. It also promotes direct communication which brings many benefits as described elsewhere on this website.
Biosample Hub is a UK not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee and without share capital. Registration number 12514786 – Incorporated on 12 March 2020.
Academic biobanks need funding so that they can continue to operate and support research. Partnership with industry requesters can bring financial benefits to academic biobanks by cost recovery and funding of collaborative research, as well as additional scientific benefits like the sharing of equipment and expertise. Biosample Hub helps biosample custodians to identify appropriate industry partners, and vice versa.
Robert Hewitt is the founder and manager of Biosample Hub. Like a growing number of people, he believes strongly in the need to connect academic biobanks with biotech and pharma companies developing new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines.
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Robert qualified in medicine in 1983 and has a first-class honours degree in immunology & microbiology and a PhD in virology.
He was a clinical lecturer in pathology at the University of Nottingham from 1989-94. Then a Fogarty visiting fellow at the US NCI Lab of Pathology from 1994-98. Then a clinical fellow in the Department of Histopathology, ICSM, London from 1998-2000 where he was introduced to biobanking by Professors Gordon Stamp and El-Nasir Lalani.
He went on to establish biobanks in Riyadh and Singapore between 2000 and 2009. He organised the first ISBER meeting in Asia (Singapore, 2007) and became the first non-US president of ISBER in 2008. Appointed European Editor of the Cell Preservation Technology journal in 2009 he championed the journal’s evolution into what 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 and went on to organise a series of seven annual international conferences that were held in Marseille, Granada, Verona, London, Leipzig, Vienna and Stockholm between 2011 and 2017. The Stockholm conference in 2017, was held jointly with both BBMRI-ERIC and ISBER and was given the name Global Biobank Week. This conference attracted a total of 857 participants from 53 different countries.
In recognition of his pioneering achievements he received ISBER’s Outstanding Achievement in Biobanking Award in 2012.
For more details, please see Robert’s profile on LinkedIn where you can also find his LinkedIn group called ‘Drug Targets and Biomarkers‘ and his series of 10 brief articles on the subject of ‘Biobanks & Industry‘. In addition, his recent article on ‘Biobanks, Industry and the Covid-19 Pandemic‘.
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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:
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. His detailed bio can be found at http://www.libel-law.co.uk
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).
Special thanks are due to Mr Barjinder Sahota, Solicitor-Advocate, Mayfair, London, UK, for his excellent advice on legal and business development aspects as a member of the Advisory Panel. Also for his strong and continuous support for the Biosample Hub project.
In addition, the following organisations have provided much appreciated help:
- Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AberInnovation) for support through their BioAccelerate business development programme. Biosample Hub has completed phase 1 of the programme successfully and is now a finalist on phase 2 of the programme.
- Crowdfight COVID-19 for help in recruiting volunteers to help with website development and language translations.
- CL Web Developers, Victoria, Canada for help in website development with special thanks to Mr Paul Atkins for his additional voluntary support.
- AgorIP, Swansea University, Wales, UK, for business planning support.
- Social Business Wales for guidance on not-for-profit business development.