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Science Exchange - Female Entrepreneur of the Year


Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

Company: Science Exchange, Palo Alto, CA
Company Description: Science Exchange is the world's leading platform for outsourced research, providing an efficient procure-to-pay platform for ordering services from a network of more than 2,500 qualified scientific service providers, all with pre-established contracts in place that protect client intellectual property and confidentiality.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Business Services –11 to 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: Elizabeth Iorns, CEO, Co-founder and Ph.D.

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., CEO and founder of Science Exchange, has transformed scientific research by radically improving the procurement and delivery of outsourced research and development (R&D) services. Thanks to her tenacity and market understanding, Science Exchange has been enabling breakthrough scientific discoveries by connecting researchers to the best R&D service providers.

A cancer researcher herself, Elizabeth saw that operational challenges facing scientists were impeding R&D productivity. Companies exhausted strategies to optimize productivity through layoffs and acquisitions, and then turned to outsourced R&D – now a growing, global industry. However, the cost, contracting delays, and intellectual property (IP) and data security issues threatened to diminish the benefits of outsourcing.

Elizabeth co-founded Science Exchange to streamline R&D outsourcing and facilitate access to qualified service providers. As she presents her vision to executives from R&D organizations served by Science Exchange, Elizabeth demonstrates how a streamlined outsourcing process can accelerate cycle times, drive cost savings, increase data and IP security, and improve organizational efficiency. Elizabeth successfully negotiated enterprise-level agreements between Science Exchange and 10 out of the top 20 biopharma companies, as well as with startup incubators, such as LabCentral and IndieBio. Many of these agreements were completed since July 2016.

In early 2017, Elizabeth successfully led the process to raise $28 million in Series C investor funding, bringing the total raised for Science Exchange to $58 million. In this latest round, she worked closely with Norwest Venture Partners and secured confident participation from Union Square Ventures, Maverick Capital, and Collaborative Fund. Elizabeth plans to use the funding to expand beyond biopharma into agrisciences, cosmetics, aerospace and industrial chemicals.

Elizabeth also transforms research by advising biotechnology startups. She is part-time partner of the Y Combinator (YC) accelerator program and mentor at IndieBio, where she shares her acumen with new entrepreneurs. Every year, Elizabeth helps choose 250 promising biotechnology companies for YC support. In 2017, Elizabeth was a panelist in the Y Combinator Female Founders Conference.

A truly ground-breaking woman fights for all women, everywhere. Elizabeth increases the representation of women in the research community by helping to promote many woman-owned and minority-owned service providers via the Science Exchange network.

Elizabeth’s impact on the research community was observed recently by an audience member at her presentation at the National Academy of Sciences Sackler Colloquium on International Women's Day 2017:

“I am a Latino female immigrant in my first postdoc (1st year) and am used to seeing a more passive attitude among women in science. That always bothered me. Even when the women are the leads in the field, there is always a feeling of ‘I'm not sure what I'm doing here.’ ... You seemed proud of your work and totally in charge. ... you were awesome yesterday and a role model to all women in science, independent of age.”

Elizabeth’s decisiveness and candor distinguish her style of leadership; it is not easy to suggest to the research industry, with its decades-old paradigms around innovation, that strategic changes are needed to increase R&D productivity. Elizabeth deserves to be recognized as female entrepreneur of the year, in 2017 and for years to come.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):

Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D. (Institute of Cancer Research, London) was Assistant Professor at University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, where she investigated breast cancer development and progression, before launching Science Exchange. https: //

Elizabeth is a sought-after thought leader in life science, technology, and entrepreneurship communities. Elizabeth’s work has been featured in multiple media outlets, and she speaks at events, such as 2017 TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco, 2017 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening annual meeting and the 2016 MassBio CRO/CMO Symposium.

Her recent honors Nature’s "Ten People that Mattered,” WIRED’s "50 Women Who Are Changing The World,” and “Kauffman Foundation Emerging Entrepreneur Award.” She is a finalist for 2017 Scrip Award - Executive of the Year.