Our Story

In the summer of 2015, our Chief Scientist, Tom Leung, struggled to find the best antibodies for his experiments. He looked for a database that aggregated published data for antibodies to support his purchasing decisions, but was surprised to find none existed. So he wondered: Why not create one?

Trained as a scientist, however, Tom didn’t have the business knowledge to run a company, nor the technical ability to build the platform he envisioned. So he turned to LinkedIn and networking. On LinkedIn, he searched for "University of Toronto," "PhD" and "Computer Science" and cold-messaged the first profile that showed up, David Q. Chen, who is now our Chief Technology Officer. And through a student executive committee, he met Elvis Wianda, our Chief Database Officer.

This early team then enrolled in its first incubator, Hatchery, under the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Toronto, which allowed them to test a proof of concept on scientists. Positive feedback led to three more incubators: the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) under the Rotman School of Management; the Health Innovation Hub (H2i) under the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto; and Founder Fuel in Montreal.

At CDL, the early team met a Rotman MBA student named Liran Belenzon, assigned to BenchSci as a mentor. He so believed in BenchSci that he’s now our CEO.

Finally, we launched to the world officially in July 2017.

Between Tom’s initial idea and our formal launch, we spent two years building machine learning software to extract antibody usage data in the form of published figures, decoding millions of papers and making the data easily discoverable for scientists. During this time, our mission and purpose crystallized: end reagent failure to drive discovery.

FAST FACTS
Founded in
2015 by Tom Leung, David Q. Chen, Elvis Wianda, and Liran Belenzon
Headquarters
Toronto, Canada
Employees
21
Official launch
July 2017
Antibody products analyzed
3,684,615
Antibody use cases identified
1,257,999
Press Articles
The Company of Biologists
The Path to VICTORy – a Beginner's Guide to Success Using Commercial Research Antibodies
Author Simon L. Goodman cites BenchSci as a tool that can help address issues with antibodies that contribute to the reproducibility crisis.
Karger
Karger Publishers Partners with BenchSci to Help Scientists Find the Right Products for Their Experiments
Karger Publishers, a globally active medical and scientific publishing company, partners with BenchSci, a life science machine learning startup, to help scientists find biological product data included in scientific articles faster.
CBC
Canada's BenchSci Gets Cash Infusion from Google Parent Alphabet
"Tom Leung, co-founder and chief scientist of BenchSci, talks about Google’s parent, Alphabet, investing millions in the Toronto biomedical startup, which uses AI to help scientists sift through research papers for scientific discoveries and product reviews."
The Globe and Mail
Alphabet's AI Venture Capital Firm Makes First Investment in Canada with BenchSci
"Alphabet Inc.’s nascent artificial-intelligence venture fund has picked its first Canadian investment: BenchSci, a Toronto biomedical startup that uses machine learning to scan millions of data points in biomedical research papers, generating searchable results to help shorten the drug discovery process."
BenchSci Press Release
BenchSci Raises US$8 Million Series A to Accelerate Biomedical Discoveries with AI-Powered Search Engine for Biological Products
Latest round of funding from iNovia Capital, Gradient Ventures, and others positions BenchSci to execute on its mission, and take its place in the market as one of the world’s top machine learning companies.
Science: Disrupt
Responsible Science
BenchSci CSO Tom Leung contributes to a discussion on startups making science more responsible through new technologies and tools.
BenchSci Press Release
Wiley Partners with BenchSci to Give Scientists Unprecedented Insight into Biological Products
John Wiley and Sons Inc. today announced that it has partnered with BenchSci, a life science machine learning software startup, that aims to improve the speed and effectiveness of selecting biological products for experiments.
Springer Nature
Biomedical Researchers to Benefit from New Partnership Between Springer Nature and BenchSci
Springer Nature has partnered with BenchSci, making data from over 200 of the world's top journals available to assist scientists in finding biological products for experiments.
LabWorm
Top 17 Research Tools of 2017
BenchSci made LabWorm's top 17 trending research tools of 2017 that were most appreciated and used by the LabWorm community.
Forbes
In the Lab of the Future, Robots Run Experiments While Scientists Sleep
"When it comes to experimental design, companies like BenchSci use artificial intelligence to streamline the process, in this case by finding antibodies to target proteins of interest."
BetaKit
BenchSci’s David Chen: Startup CTOs Need to Be Ready for ‘Unknown Unknowns’
Our CTO, David Chen, was featured in startup news publication BetaKit about using machine learning to help medical researchers solve complex medical challenges.
UHN Research
Game Changer: Benchsci
"BenchSci’s platform will effectively standardize experimental protocols, increase researchers’ productivity, and prevent usage of inappropriate antibodies that lead to erroneous results."
MilliporeSigma
MilliporeSigma Hosts Leading Scientists at Life Science Symposium in Greater Boston
BenchSci CEO and co-founder Liran Belenzon joined world-renowned academic researchers, technology experts, and industry entrepreneurs to speak about advances and opportunities in life science.
BenchSci Press Release
ASPET Partners with BenchSci to Increase Discoverability of Its Journals
BenchSci will now include four ASPET journals on its platform to increase discoverability of relevant scientific compounds discussed within ASPET-published articles.
Labratory News
The Great Reproducibility Problem
"Using filters for specific experimental contexts, BenchSci can help scientists quickly and easily identify the most relevant published figures and associated antibodies within seconds, ensuring that scientists can make an evidence-based decision on antibody selection."
Benchsci Press Release
BenchSci Partners with The FASEB Journal to Increase Discoverability of Content
BenchSci will now include FASEB’s flagship publication, The FASEB Journal (FJ), on its platform to increase discoverability of relevant scientific compounds discussed within The FASEB Journal-published articles.
Globe and Mail
Science Startups Make Research Faster, Cheaper, More Accurate
"BenchSci has taught a computer to read scientific papers and identify the specific antibodies used as well as other variables, such as specific techniques, tissues and disease used in the experiment."