July 8, 2015
The Biobanking and BioMolecular resource Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) has published a review in the European Journal of Human Genetics on the rationale and the advantages of setting up Expert Centres as “key intermediaries between public and private sectors performing the analysis of biological samples under internationally standardized conditions.” In Europe, BBMRI was awarded the Community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). According to the review, BBMRI-ERIC is a key resource as the life science industry can rely on the samples provided by them throughout the process from the early research stage up to preclinical research as well as further clinical development. They have highlighted its close links to universities, SMEs as well as biotechnology commercialising firms. The review emphasises the role of Expert Centres to perform the primary analysis of biological samples under internationally standardised conditions in a precompetitive environment. They highlight two major goals that will be achieved by this: “access to primary data is provided in a form that can more easily be shared than the biological samples themselves, and high quality and over time increasing amounts of information from biological samples is made available to industry for further product development.”
The authors believe that the Expert Centre is a crucial agent that provides a trusted, operational middle ground between the public and private sectors which will also function as the future ‘highways’ for transnational research collaborations.
Given the novelty of the BBMRI Expert Centre concept,the authors provide several models of putative Expert Centres in the article which include EXCEMET, SciLifeLab (Science for Life Laboratory), BARC (Biobanking Analysis Resource Catalogue), Lifandis AS, EGC (the Estonian Genome Center).