Why outsource?

Over the years, it has become increasingly important for the Pharma and Biotech industries to deal with non-core functions more efficiently. By concentrating on core competencies, focussing on the in-house value-adding activities will contribute to a more healthy and stronger financial business model.

Outsourcing compound management activities to Specs will not only be beneficial in reducing and controlling the operational costs. By greatly reducing the storage footprint and lowering the additional fixed costs, investments in and maintenance of expensive infrastructure are no longer necessary, effectively lowering valuable capital expenditure.

Moreover, due to the increased flexibility in human resources and minimizing fluctuations in workload, people can be allocated to projects that are more in line with the core competence of the business.

By partnering with Specs, companies will have full access to our decades long expertise in compound management. Not only has Specs invested in automated storage facilities 

capable of supporting vials, tubes and plates at climate and humidity controlled conditions at multiple locations in Europe and the US, our expanded services will make Specs an integral part of your business model.

Our Compound Management services may also include:
• Sourcing and procurement of third party compounds to complement the influx of in-house designed and synthesized libraries.

• Registration of chemical structures from vials and/or laboratory journals from historical collections.

• Reformatting chemical libraries from a variety of sources into nearly every required format.

• Assessing quality and integrity of your repository by means of routine LCMS and 1H-NMR analyses.

Specs’ Compound Management services will allow you to fully focus on your core activities. References are available on request.

Our services


To acquire the compounds you need for your research activities, sourcing from twenty or more different vendors is not uncommon. The administration and handling involved to complete such an operation can be overwhelming. In fact, many researchers will sacrifice interesting compounds to minimize the number of vendors from which compounds are sourced.

Specs can act as a third-party purchaser and will order compounds from the indicated vendors on your behalf and under your pricing conditions. With only one contact, the ordering process is clear and much easier to manage.

Specs will take care of the entire process which can include:
• order tracking and administration
• structural integrity check
• weight check

• quality control
• reformatting into your standard vials
• plating (mother- and daughter plates)
• one database 
• one single shipment to all your research facilities around the world

We will contact the indicated vendors, order the compounds, monitor all incoming shipments, crosscheck structural integrity and weight, perform quality control, reformat the compounds into your standardized vials and plate them into 96-, 384- or 1536-well plates or tubes, all properly barcoded. Tare weights and contents are registered into one single database and in the end, one organized delivery is made, one shipment to all your research facilities, one database, one invoice. Ordering compounds has never been so easy.

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Over the course of 30 years, Specs has gained extensive experience in weighing and plating chemical compounds in nearly every storage and distribution format required by the pharmaceutical industry. We have successfully completed several reformatting projects, processing hundreds of thousands of compounds for a number of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies at our facilities in the United States and Europe. At all our facilities equal quality standards are applied.

All our activities are directed by in-house developed and customizable software, which monitors and controls every single step of the process. Entire screening libraries, historical collections or any small set of compounds are weighed into uniquely barcoded tubes, dissolved in suitable solvents and dispensed into 96-, 384- or 1536-well plates using state of the art liquid handlers. 

Duplicate plate sets, back-up sets and copies of existing plates can be created with the same high degree of accuracy. These reformatted libraries show uniformity in vial or plate type, barcodes, weight of the vials and plates and data for the respective content, all according to your requirements and specifications, ensuring faster and more effective access to your compound repository.

For compound libraries that are dedicated to ongoing research or screening activities and cannot leave the clients facility or control, we can perform these activities at the customers site. Specs will take over the overall organization, investments in and management of personnel and hardware and software at the clients site location. We have a proven track record for these operations and references are available on request.

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In 2000, we began our outsourced repository business by storing and distributing research compounds for several pharmaceutical companies. To meet the demand of the US market, we opened a compound handling facility in Cumberland, Maryland in 2002.  The combined total storage capacity at both our sites in Europe and the US has now grown to 3,500 square meters.

At both locations we have installed dedicated, climate and humidity controlled Kardex Remstar storage systems. To assure the safety of long term, off-site compound library storage for our clients, we have also installed two fireproof, seismic rated vaults for dedicated disaster recovery compound storage. The modular design of these vaults allows us the flexibility to add-on for additional clients, while keeping compounds from different companies securely isolated from each other.

Several large and smaller Pharma and Biotech companies and (non) governmental organizations have recognized our expertise in storing and handling chemical compounds and have outsourced (part of) their compound repository to either of our locations. Our automated storage facilities are capable of supporting vials, tubes and plates in different formats. Secure on-line ordering interfaces enable our customers to place orders, retrieve and track real time sample information, track shipments etc. After ordering, your compounds will be ready for shipment to research locations around the world in a typical turnaround time of 24-48h, depending on the geographical location.  

Outsourcing your compound storage and handling activities to Specs will not only reduce investments in personnel and infrastructure, it will also improve on operational efficiently. We have a proven track record for these operations and references are available on request.

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Compound storage

Specs is becoming increasingly recognized by the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry as one of the leading companies for outsourced compound management services. We now routinely store and handle hundreds of thousands, to millions of compounds for several of the top 10 pharma companies, biotech, research organizations and NGO’s in dedicated, climate and humidity controlled Kardex Remstar storage systems.

In addition to building yet another new Kardex storage system for a new US-based customer at our site in Cumberland, Maryland, we also have expanded our dedicated storage system with a sixth shuttle for one of our European partners at our headquarters in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands. Furthermore, we have installed a new, stand-alone Kardex system for third party compound storage at our Dutch site for companies that are looking to outsource the storage and handling of their small and middle-sized compound libraries.

In this compound storage facility setup, both solutions and solid compounds can be stored per dedicated shelf at room temperature as well as at -20°C, with 100% data segregation and tailor-made compound delivery SLA’s. This ‘rent-a-shelf’ principle is a very cost-effective way to outsource your compound management activities by reducing and controlling operational costs as well as investments in,


and maintenance of expensive infrastructure, dramatically lowering valuable capital expenditure.

If you are interested in outsourcing the storage and handling of any sized compound collection, ranging from less than a hundred to several thousand or over a million vails, as well as plates and/or tubes, feel free to contact us at info@specs.net.

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Quality control

As quality control (QC) plays an increasingly important role in the compound management community, Specs’ unique approach to assess both purity and integrity of incoming and stock compounds has set a standard within the industry.  Two fundamentally different analytical methods, LC-MS and NMR, are combined to ensure a robust quality control procedure.
We routinely use a Waters ACQUITY UPLC-SQD system which is uniquely set up to analyze samples from vials and 96-, 384- and 1536-well plates with a weekly average throughput of 3500 compounds. NMR spectra are recorded on a Varian 400 MHz NMR spectrometer with a capacity of

1000 samples per week. Analysis, interpretation and data output can be customized to meet our client’s in-house routine thus ensuring uniformity in their QC data.

Specs offers this expertise as an outsourced service and several large pharmaceutical companies have already recognized the ability to incorporate our services as integral part of their own quality assurance and have used our facilities and knowhow to analyze their own in-house collections and incoming samples. We have a proven track record for these services and references are available upon request.

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On site / Off site

Specs has 30 years of experience in processing and handling chemical compounds. Over the years, millions of compounds have been weighed and plated in nearly every storage format required by the pharmaceutical industry, meticulously tracking the entire process from compound registration to order shipment.  We have successfully completed extensive reformatting projects processing hundreds of thousands of compounds for several of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies at our facilities in the United States and Europe.

For compound libraries that are dedicated to ongoing research or screening activities and cannot leave your facility or your control, we can perform these activities at the customers site installing a stand-alone weighing and handling laboratory with dedicated Specs staff and logistic infrastructure. We will take over the overall organization, investments in and management of personnel, hardware and software at your site location. All we need is a room to set up shop in. We have a proven track record for these operations and references are available on request. 

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In the 30+ years of processing and handling chemical compounds for the Life Sciences industry, Specs has built up an extensive knowledge and experience in the field of cheminformatics.  This experience proved valuable in screening collaborations with universities, small biotech partners and to our customers, who effectively validated enhanced hit ratios in their screening campaigns after partnering with Specs.

We use a combination of open source, proprietary and in-house developed software to offer a broad range of cheminformatics services. 

In close collaboration we offer tailor-made solutions to mine, identify, select and assemble data from a wide variety of sources and offer customized solutions to fit your special needs.

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