With the announcement of Ravenlabs, an online marketplace for laboratory reagents, chemicals and consumables for biotechnology startups, researchers and students, Pakistan’s biotech space is set for a new resurgence.
‘Biology is centre stage in the fourth industrial revolution, and we at Ravenlabs are going to catalyse its development in Pakistan’ says Sarah, who is co-leading the project. Biology labs are the most difficult to develop and maintain. Every second component or ingredient is temperature sensitive and perishable (unlike your chemistry or a civil engineering lab). To further add to the miseries of the researcher, an experiment needs a pipeline of equipment (unlike a lovely physics experiment which revolves around a single pair of lens or a laser), sometimes a dozen or so gadgets and instruments are needed to get just a basic experiment completed. Now sprinkle in some power cuts especially mid-way
between your experiment or perhaps an overnight catastrophe (imagine your fridge with sensitive material turned off since last night) and you are set for disaster.
Another layer of problem is that reagents (unlike electronic components in the EE lab) are prone to issues of purity and quality compromise in the market. They are also sold in outrageously larger volumes compared to what you need in your final year project and have uncertain shipment timelines given the climate around us. This compounds the problems faced by young biologists and places barriers for innovation in the space. ‘We make biology reagents, chemicals and consumables accessible to everyone, anywhere in the country. We cut the need for several equipment by offering pre-prepared kits, gels and other goodies. We enable the scientist to focus on the science and not the miseries that
are embedded in our laboratory system in Pakistan’, said Ayesha who co-leads the project.
‘Its either now or never, for all the young Pakistani biologists out there, pushing to finish their project or thinking of launching their own startup’ added Sarah.