Helping UK SMEs access tissue samples

A collaboration with Tissue Solutions


Human samples including tissue, blood and urine, which are essential for medicines research and development, are difficult for small companies working in the field to access.

The State of the Discovery Nation 2018 report found that 93% of UK SMEs considered access to NHS biosamples for commercial development as hugely important, yet 64% had difficulty in accessing tissue samples for medical research. Difficulties due to access leads to 75% of diagnostic SMEs using non-UK sample sources instead. The key issue faced by companies is the process of agreeing and delivering sample access. Although some biobanks have overcome this issue, many have not, and the problem of access to samples remains an area of concern.


We have been working on a joint venture with Tissue Solutions since June 2018 to help SMEs and biobanks work together on medical research projects.

Tissue Solutions, a Scottish provider of ethically-sourced human samples for preclinical drug development and research, matches researchers needing tissue with biobanks looking to maximise the research use of donated human samples.

“We understand that the best research comes from the best samples. We are committed to providing the very highest quality samples to help advancements in biomedical research and this collaboration will secure the best samples for UK-based organisations.”
Morag McFarlane, CEO of Tissue Solutions


A joint team has been working on over 30 sample requests, combining Tissue Solution’s sample network and delivery capabilities with Medicines Discovery Catapult’s network of UK SMEs requiring samples for drug discovery projects.

The collaboration has already matched 5 SMEs with the samples needed for their research, as well as supporting biobanks in getting the required agreements in place for sample provision. This collaboration helps companies find samples, and biobanks find users and sample donors to support medical research.