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Seven Questions with Luis Nicolaou

November 1, 2018

Luis Nicolaou, iSpecimen Senior Director of Product Management

Luis Nicolaou

Senior Director of Product Management, iSpecimen

Earlier this week, we unveiled the second generation of our online marketplace, which does even more to connect researchers who need biospecimens – fluids, tissue or cells – with the health care organizations that have them.

As senior director of product management, Luis was instrumental in identifying users’ wants and needs, and embedding them as new features in the iSpecimen Marketplace.

What is the main thing we should know about the iSpecimen Marketplace?

We’re focused on addressing how we can help accelerate research by connecting researchers with the biospecimens and patient data they need. It may sound like a broken record, but we live and breathe this mission. Everything in the new version of the Marketplace is geared toward that mission, whether it’s improving the researcher request process with a guided experience, helping research customers track the progress of long-running collections, or helping our research partners more quickly and efficiently assess requests and fulfill orders.

How does the iSpecimen Marketplace directly support a researcher’s quest for biospecimens?

Trying to find richly annotated, de-identified specimens that represent an exact specimen match is a bit like searching for the holy grail. The Marketplace’s advanced search functionality for human tissue, biofluids and viable cells incorporates detailed filters related to patient demographics, disease type and stage, storage formats, histology, and date of collection. The filtering helps make the otherwise arduous search for specimens more efficient, centralized and potentially much more fruitful. In addition, the ability to streamline all compliance management and documentation within the Marketplace on a per-specimen basis reduces a significant burden for biospecimen researchers.

The iSpecimen Marketplace is now just over a year old and hosts thousands of searches across 25 million samples. What stands out to you about its evolution?

The tremendous support we’ve received from our supply partners. It’s humbling to look back on having an initial goal of 200,000 specimens available for a beta launch over a year ago to the millions of samples we have available today. It’s rewarding to see our users actively engaged both using the platform and helping us make it better.

People often compare the iSpecimen Marketplace to Amazon, eBay or Kayak. Is it really that simple to connect biobanks and researchers?

The comparisons are helpful. They remind our customers and partners of our goal to make the complexities of biospecimen procurement feel as simple as using those familiar marketplaces. We’ve received some validation on this count from our partners through their adoption and engagement on our platform, and we continue to improve and innovate wherever possible.

Why have you chosen to bring your skills to biotech in general and iSpecimen in particular?

The mission of helping researchers conduct more pre-clinical research by helping connect them with the human biospecimens and patient data they need matches up perfectly with my passion for creating simple, elegant, and delightful products that help make the world a slightly better place. It’s an honor to get to collaborate with our research customers, supply partners, and the amazing people at iSpecimen.

What’s next for the marketplace? What new capabilities do suppliers and researchers need?

With our early success, we still have a lot of room to grow. The marketplace will grow as we broaden our supply network to include additional medical conditions, and as the needs of our research customers continue to push the envelope for the platform and our supply partners.

How can researchers access the iSpecimen Marketplace, and are there any fees associated with joining?

We have tried to reduce barriers and make it as simple as possible for researchers to take advantage of the Marketplace. Signing up is easy and quick and there are no costs associated with creating a login. Click here to sign up or log in to the Marketplace.


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