Cromatic’s Sourcerer: AI Tool Transforms CRO Discovery

Cromatic, a burgeoning startup in the life sciences sector, has launched an innovative AI-powered tool named Sourcerer, designed to streamline the process of identifying suitable contract research organizations (CROs). This tool allows users to search through a comprehensive, cloud-based global database curated by Cromatic, either by entering specific topics or by uploading their RFPs (request for proposals). The Sourcerer then generates a list of relevant vendors, which users can contact directly or engage with via Cromatic’s ‘white glove’ service.

According to Dr. Anne Chen, cofounder and CTO of Cromatic, the goal is to make outsourcing more efficient, effective, and accessible. The platform, which hosts what Cromatic claims to be the largest curated database of global CROs and contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) in the industry, is a significant leap forward in the field of life sciences research outsourcing.

Unlike traditional search engines that prioritize sponsored results and companies with strong marketing, Sourcerer focuses on matching users with vendors whose services align closely with the needs outlined in their RFPs. Vendor profiles are standardized by factors such as company location, size, annual revenue, and a brief description, making it easier for users to compare providers quickly.

Dr. Anne Lin, cofounder and CEO of Cromatic, highlights the challenges faced by pharma and biotech companies in navigating the CRO landscape. With a growing percentage of R&D being outsourced, firms often waste hours on internet searches or spend considerable sums on consultants to identify potential partners. Sourcerer addresses this issue by allowing procurement teams, who may not have a deep understanding of the science, to drop in the RFP and generate a comprehensive list of vendors that meet the specified needs. This list can then be reviewed and refined before submitting a search.

The AI component of Sourcerer is particularly noteworthy. It can parse through lengthy RFPs to distill project objectives and criteria, generating a list of required skills for vendors. Users can then fine-tune this list before initiating a search, ensuring a more precise match. Dr. Lin, who holds a PhD in genetics from Stanford and has previously co-founded a machine-learning powered drug discovery platform, teamed up with software engineer Anne Chen in 2022 to create Cromatic.

Cromatic, which secured a $5.3 million seed round led by AgFunder and LifeX late last year, is offering a free version of Sourcerer for basic vendor searches. However, the full range of services, available through monthly or annual SaaS (software as a service) fees, promises to be a more cost-effective alternative to hiring consultants. Dr. Lin points out that even large pharma companies, which often spend significant amounts on consultants to compile vendor shortlists, can benefit from Sourcerer’s up-to-date and rapidly changing information.

While other platforms like scientist.com and scienceexchange also offer matchmaking services in life sciences, Dr. Lin argues that these platforms focus more on quantity rather than quality of matches and lack collaboration tools for ongoing engagement with CROs. Cromatic’s platform aims to fill this gap by not only providing quality matches but also facilitating continuous collaboration with CROs.

The launch of Sourcerer marks a significant advancement in the life sciences research outsourcing landscape, promising to save time, reduce costs, and improve the efficiency of vendor selection for companies of all sizes. As the industry continues to evolve, tools like Sourcerer could become indispensable in navigating the complex and rapidly changing world of CROs and CDMOs.

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