While studying neurobiology and economics at Harvard University, Vancouver native Grace Xiao and her friend Raul Jordan were looking for research labs that they wanted to work at. But they realized how difficult it was to actually find science labs working on specific projects.
“We had to open up dozens of tabs and browse through individual lab websites,” Xiao said. “When we became co-executives in the biotechnology association at Harvard, Raul and I quickly realized that the science industry encounters a similar problem.”
Xiao and Jordan are co-founders of Kynplex, a platform with the goal of simplifying scientific communication. Kynplex acts as an online networking tool for science labs, companies, and investors to connect and collaborate. Science labs can showcase projects and publications, while investors and companies can easily search through the latest breakthroughs in research. Companies can search based on research interest, location, institution, and Kynplex’s own global highlights.
Biopharma companies that pay a subscription can set up search filters to identify specific research projects and initiate partnerships. The ultimate goal for Xiao is to ensure that scientific innovation and research can easily gain practical application.
The platform uses keyword extraction algorithms to make it easier to identify collaborative opportunities. To develop Kynplex, Xiao has received support from the Harvard Innovation Lab for the past two years, and was recently invited to the Thiel Summit in San Francisco to pitch Kynplex. Xiao was accepted as a 2016 Thiel Fellow and received $100,000.
“Decreasing rates of research grants are prompting more scientists to explore financial partnerships with industry, while high risk-reward fields like immuno-oncology rely on early collaborations to support pre-clinical studies,” Xiao said. “By increasing scientific collaboration, Kynplex addresses both of these trends and solves the problem of ‘siloed’ research.”
The team is currently working on expanding to research institutions and science companies across the U.S. while preparing to expand Kynplex internationally, and she noted that an expansion in Canada is especially exciting as there is a lot scientific research happening at Canadian universities and high potential for academia-industry interaction.
“Understand the market that you’re entering and the intricacies of how it currently functions,” Xiao said when asked for advice for Canadians looking to build outside Canada. “No matter where you build your startup, be persistent in your vision and view every experience as an opportunity to learn and improve.”