Member Spotlight: Q&A with Explora BioLabs

Nov 01, 2021

Every month, MassBio spotlights a member company and the great work they’re doing to advance the life sciences industry and support the patients we serve. In November, we spoke with Nathaniel “Sandy” Paige, CEO, Explora BioLabs. Sandy joined Explora BioLabs in 2018 as CEO to guide the company’s growth and expansion across the country. Before joining Explora, he successfully expanded global relationships and distribution for JAX Mice & Clinical Research Services while he was the Director of International Sales & Distribution at Sacramento’s Jackson Laboratory.

Tell us about your organization, its mission, and current initiatives.

Explora BioLabs supports innovative, life-changing in vivo studies with turnkey vivarium facilities, management, and related industry-leading services—what we call Vivarium-as-a-Service. Our motto—“Your Science: Powered By Explora”—tells the story most simply: we provide the Ph.D.-backed facilities and supporting research services that allow scientists to stay focused on their studies. Explora handles the rest.

We understand that preclinical success requires efficiency and flexibility supported by a collaborative and trusting community. We have a commitment to deliver the highest-quality spaces, skilled people, and robust compliance and care expertise to help research teams and growing U.S. biotechs achieve health-extending discoveries. We maintain this focus even as we expand to regions where new biotechs are establishing themselves.

How do your organization’s activities help patients now and into the future?

The preclinical in vivo work we do is a fundamental part of drug development. Doing it well encompasses many things: ethics, welfare, quality, repeatability, and more. These elements, when cared for properly, help drugs succeed or fail faster than when they are not.

The accessible, quality research environments and Ph.D-level oversight that Explora provides are essential to biotechs that need to move quickly with repeatable, trustable results. Biotechs can’t wait months or years to start their studies. Our goal is to place facilities within a 5 to 10-minute drive of their offices and to get them operating in an Explora facility within two weeks.

With our help, clients can do more, faster than if they were working alone. That means that proven life-saving drugs get delivered to patients faster.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the life sciences industry today?

Labor to support the biotech revolution’s aspirations. The venture capital, services, and real estate infrastructures are being fueled faster than the industry can staff the organizations it wants to create. From qualified animal care technicians and veterinarians to skilled regulatory and facility management, hiring is extremely competitive and time-consuming due to shortages. Salaries and incentives are also increasing. It’s more difficult for early-stage and smaller companies to compete for talent.

With Explora, clients can scale support staff needs without scaling their overhead or suffering through hiring delays. Whether an OnDemand client utilizes our specialized in vivo technician services, or an OnSite client leverages our team for vivarium management, compliance, and animal care, we are only present when needed. We expand and contract with a client’s research needs 365 days a year, which reduces the risk of study delays. That also means reduced pathogen risk because there are fewer overcrowded facilities.

What’s next for your organization / what are you focused on in the coming year?

More of the same—with some twists. We’ll continue to deliver new OnDemand and OnSite opportunities and services as a core infrastructure component in the clusters in which we operate. We’ve already added more skilled Ph.Ds to our contract research arm, and we plan to continue that momentum with specific scientific capabilities for outsourced research as a function of what our clients ask us to do. Contract research support has been an invaluable resource to our clients and outside biotechs, and it’s one that continues to set us apart from others in this space.

At the end of the day, our clients can be confident that we’ll continue to deliver faster study initiation, greater flexibility, and strong repeatable data, all with less risk. We’ll also keep our eye on new markets that can benefit from our network of solutions.

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