Source BioScience – Interview

Source BioScience has been a trusted provider of laboratory services and products to the healthcare and clinical, life and applied sciences and pharmaceutical industries since 1999.

Operating ten state of the art facilities in five countries and with customers in over 90 countries worldwide, Source Bioscience offers an extensive portfolio of laboratory services and products. This includes:

  • Clinical diagnostics; providing specialist cancer diagnosis and second opinion services for over 100 NHS Trusts across the UK.
  • DNA sequencing; including providing ancestral profiling to individuals wanting to investigate the history of their very own DNA via mydna.global.
  • Drug discovery and development research, as well as controlled environment storage and testing services for a diverse range of markets including 50 pharmaceutical companies, leading universities and research institutes worldwide.

Of critical importance is our ability to deliver the services we offer to the highest possible quality standards in all ten of our laboratories. Holding the necessary accreditations and licences required, including the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) and the Care Quality Commission, (CQC)  giving our customers confidence in our ability to deliver the services we offer.

Our Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) testing services Just Between UsTM and Don’t Pass It OnTM offer a discreet and confidential online option for STI testing. The company has been offering this online and outreach diagnostic testing service since 2012 and during this period has been successful in securing contracts with many Local Authorities and NHS Trusts, processing in excess of 140,000 STI kit requests per annum and providing access to STI tests in a discreet and secure manner both on-line and in the community.

We have a well-established and robust infrastructure to support all services that are offered inclusive of transportation of samples and kits and processing and reporting of clinical, diagnostic and research samples. Source BioScience also provides 1.6 million cervical cancer clinic and laboratory test kits per annum to NHS in support of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme.

We spoke to with Doctor Nick Ash, the CEO of the Source BioScience Group.

When was the Source BioScience group established and where are your headquarters?

The Company was established 1999. Our international headquarters are in Nottingham, UK and we operate from ten sites in five countries across Europe and the USA.

How long have you been with Source BioScience and what is your role in the company?

I am the CEO of Source BioScience and have been with the company just shy of eleven years. I joined Source BioScience in the summer of 2005 at the invitation of the Board of Directors. At that time, the company had invested heavily in emerging healthcare markets in the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates. As a result of this investment, and the consequent focus of the senior management team on the new initiatives, the core UK business was beginning to struggle.

Part of the challenge was managing a small business with healthcare activities in two geographies where the business and political environments, and the healthcare and welfare provision and cultures, were poles apart. My role was to assess the two parts of the business and make recommendations about what was best for the long term future of the company, its employees and its shareholders.

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What was very apparent was the depth of experience, knowledge and expertise throughout the team at our Nottingham facility in the UK. We divested the activities in the Middle East and effectively stuck to our diagnostic knitting in the UK. We had a great relationship with the UK National Health Service, our largest customer, and were the leading provider of outsourced diagnostic cancer testing to the UK NHS. As you will appreciate, this is a highly regulated activity and the credibility we established as a trusted provider to the NHS was hard won, and a reflection on the quality of the team we had.

We have continued with the same ethos and commitment over the past eleven years and have grown the company from a team of 35 in the UK in 2005 to over 220 people in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the USA today.

What services does Source BioScience offer?

Source BioScience provides a broad range of outsourced diagnostic and analytical laboratory testing services. Our services and products have applications in healthcare, life sciences research and biopharma. Our customers include private individuals, healthcare providers, leading academic and research institutions and global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Each year our laboratories receive, process and deliver results on over one million samples from our customers, who expect the highest levels of quality and performance for these important services.

What particular services on offer are of particular interest to LGBT+ individuals?

We provide a number of services which might be of interest to all individuals who are health conscious and those that are ancestry-curious.

We offer a portfolio of personal health and wellbeing services aimed at enabling rapid and easy access to screening and testing for sexually active individuals. These include diagnostic tests for a number of infectious diseases.  Using our Don’t Pass It On™ website, individuals can order a free chlamydia screening test funded (in the UK) by their Local Authority if they are between 16-24 years of age. In addition, our Just Between Us™ service provides a broad range of sexually transmitted infection testing. All of these self-sampling tests can be ordered online, samples taken at home and posted back to one of our laboratories. Results are then accessed securely online.

In parallel with increasing access to, and utilisation of, fertility services we offer the latest in non-invasive pre-natal testing (“NIPT”) providing parents the opportunity to screen for Downs Syndrome, and other trisomy conditions, without the risk associated with invasive procedures such as amniocentesis.

Dr. Nick Ash

Dr. Nick Ash

For people interested in researching their ancestry and discovering more about their DNA story, we offer a DNA-based genealogy service at www.myDNA.global(TM).  Detailed insight into an individual’s ancestry, where your ancient ancestors came from, and their journey across the globe can be accessed from a simple saliva sample.

What do you consider to have been Source BioScience’s biggest achievement?

Without doubt, accelerating the application of gene-based testing and genomics into diagnostic laboratory services; initially in cancer diagnostics and more recently for infectious disease diagnostics.

During 2007 and 2008, Source BioScience was the first company in the UK to take delivery of a pioneering DNA-sequencing technology. This new technology enabled identification and investigation of the smallest of differences in DNA and genetic material between samples.

The applications for cancer diagnostics were extraordinary. By identifying changes in the DNA of a cancer, clinicians were immediately able to make much more informed decisions about treatment; in particular, being able to identify particular changes in the DNA of a cancer which would render certain therapies completely ineffective. Possessing this knowledge enables clinicians to prescribe another treatment that may have an increased chance of being effective.

Our team of research and laboratory scientists continued to work on wider applications for genetic testing in diagnostics and during 2013 we launched our infectious disease testing services including Just Between Us™.

These services enable individuals to access the quality of fully-accredited laboratory diagnostic testing coupled with the convenience of being able to self-sample at home. As a result of the versatility of the technology platforms we use, and the expertise of our laboratory staff, we can test for a significant number of infectious diseases using a combination of simple and convenient self-taken samples including saliva, urine and dried blood spot.

On a personal level, what gives you the greatest satisfaction  being CEO of Source BioScience?

Having the honour of working every day with a team of incredibly talented, committed and passionate individuals. The team has grown from 35 in 2005 to over 220 today across our ten sites in the UK, Ireland, Germany and USA. The diversity of experience, background and perspective across the team, coupled with the inclusivity of the culture and attitude throughout the company internationally is a genuine pleasure to experience and a real strength of the business.

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Source BioScience - Interview
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We talk with Source BioScience in an exclusive interview.