General
What is Discovery Life Sciences™?
Discovery Life Sciences is the global market leader in biospecimen procurement, analysis, distribution, and scientific services for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostics industries. Discovery leverages deep scientific expertise and consultative services, combined with the largest repository of research-quality biospecimens—available and processed for analysis—to accelerate the discovery, research, and development of novel biomarkers, drug candidates, and diagnostics.
Are the products and services guaranteed?
Yes. We guarantee that the biospecimens we send meet the pathological, physical, and histological characteristics highlighted as important in advance by the client. If there is a discrepancy, we will replace the biospecimen at our cost. However, we cannot guarantee results or fitness for a particular purpose. If you are not entirely satisfied with the performance of any product, simply call our client services department. They can answer any questions and, if appropriate, arrange a prompt refund or exchange.
What products and services does Discovery Life Sciences offer?

Discovery Life Sciences offers a wide range of consultative research services performed by expert scientists, as well as vast access to human biospecimens, to quickly bring innovative solutions to the most complex research questions. Our research services include: genomic services (extraction, NGS, bioinformatics), cell-based services (flow cytometry, cell isolations, cell culturing), and histology-based services (IHC, ISH, histopathology consultation). We are regarded for our ability to conduct large, prospective, and highly targeted projects using custom protocols that meet client specifications.

Our catalog of biospecimens includes normal, suspect, and disease-state biospecimens, comprising rare diseases and racially and ethnically diverse exemplars. We have a particular emphasis in oncology and infectious diseases, as well as cardiology, neurology, and inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases.

Discovery’s inventory comprises tissue, blood and blood components, swabs (Pap, urine, stool and other biofluids), other types of fluids, and genomic information. We analyze both archival and new tissue in an in-house lab with full histology services and Board-certified experts in laboratory services, pathology, histology, genomic sequencing, and flow cytometry. Additionally, we can build custom cohorts with well-stratified, hyper-annotated® data and have access to historical, treatment, and follow up data.

How do I place my order?

Fill out our online order form or call us at +01 (866) 838-2798 for US or +359 2 870-2117 for Europe to get started.

Where do the biospecimens in your biorepository come from?

We have the largest biorepository of research-quality biospecimens—over ten million—available and processed for analysis. We obtain our biospecimens from existing inventories and prospective collections to ensure that we maintain their chain of custody and can track longitudinal data about them:

  • Our Discovery Partners®, a global, integrated network of nearly 300 clinical sources in dozens of countries, across the world.

Our Discovery Partners are the route to hundreds of thousands of patients to find the ideal attributes for even the most complex studies. We leverage this extensive network of hospitals, academic medical centers, blood banks, clinical laboratories, and community-based medical practices to locate the specific biospecimens that our research clients need to fulfill their protocol objectives.

  • Our onsite donor center is a large and growing hub for Discovery’s licensed medical staff to recruit and screen donors to ensure fresh biomaterial is available for customers. The donor center and adjacent processing lab recently tripled in size and facilitates Discovery’s ability to recall donors. From here, we can process the biospecimens or fresh-ship them directly to clients.

The Discovery Partners platform and donor center benefit from our thought leadership in protocol assessment; complex protocol development; IRB/EC submissions; global clinical trials; genomic services; and, human biospecimen project management, inventory management, distribution, and innovative, forward-looking biorepository practices.

I have a difficult request. Can Discovery help?
We specialize in custom and/or large studies. Our experienced procurement team will work with you to design your project strategy and oversee collection from start to finish. We can search electronic medical records to find the ideal patients with specific mutations or other characteristics, including the use of certain medications, and can access follow-up data for deeper insights. We can accommodate requests such as: biofluids (blood, urine, saliva, CSF, PBMC isolation), fresh tissue in custom media, matched pairs (frozen/FFPE, tumor/NAT), and multi-phase or longitudinal collections.
Are your biospecimens ethically obtained?
Discovery is committed to quality and integrity with CLIA-certified labs, stringent IRB and Ethics Committee compliance, and all of the applicable regulations, guidelines and best practices that meet or exceed the U.S. and international regulatory requirements. We have the highest ethical standards that will meet your requirements regarding biospecimen procurement and analytical services. In addition, navigating U.S. and international personal data protection regulations, including the EU’s GDPR, is a core competency, and Discovery is committed to the respect and protection of individuals’ privacy.
How are my products shipped?
Our logistics team works according to the standards required to ship each type of biospecimen. All frozen shipments are insured and shipped on dry ice unless a client prefers another method.
How do I become a Discovery Partner®?

Join our Discovery Partners network, and help us help investigators accelerate the discovery, research, and development of novel biomarkers, drug and medical device candidates, and diagnostics.

Call us at 866-838-2798 and we can help bring your organization’s research capabilities to a worldwide scientific audience. There are no costs to participate, and we provide you with all the materials, program procedures, and operational guidelines to be successful.

Blood Products
What are your Standard collection tube types per product type?

Our Standard collection tubes types for blood products per product are as follows:

  • PBMCs - Sodium Heparin Tube.
  • Plasma - K2EDTA.
  • Serum - Serum Separator.

Please inquire if you need blood samples collected in other tube types.

What are your Storage and Shipping Temperature guidelines for whole blood, plasma, and serum products?

-80C storage is recommended for storing or shipping plasma or serum products.

Ambient temperature is recommended for storing or shipping whole blood products.

How fast can I receive whole blood post collection?

Our blood collections are overnighted from the site to your door via Federal Express.

Typical local delivery times are between 8:00am and 10:30am.

What disease areas do you include?

Currently, our disease areas for human blood products and components include: Oncology, Hematology, and Autoimmune disease. Normal controls with similar demographic data can also be obtained from Discovery’s healthy donor clinic.

How are your plasma products processed?

You can find our Plasma Protocols by clicking here.

We also have the ability to follow our clients’ custom processing protocols and help them develop new processing protocols based on their needs.

What are your Storage and Shipping Temperature guidelines for human plasma products?

When storing and shipping human plasma products, we recommend using -80/Dry Ice.

What are your Storage and Shipping Temperature guidelines for human serum products?

When storing and shipping human serum products, we recommend using -80/Dry Ice.

How is your serum processed?

You can find our Serum Protocols by clicking here.

We also have the ability to follow our clients’ custom processing protocols and help them develop new processing protocols based on their needs.

What are your Storage and Shipping Temperature guidelines for PMBCs?

When storing and shipping PMBCs, we recommend using Ln2/Dry Ice or Ln2.

How are your PBMCs processed?

You can find our PBMCs Protocols by clicking here.

We also have the ability to follow our clients’ custom processing protocols and help them develop new processing protocols based on their needs.

BMMCs
How are BMMCs processed?
  • You can find our protocols by clicking the links below:
  • We also have the ability to follow our clients' custom processing protocols and help them develop new processing protocols based on their needs.
How are the cell counts and viabilities of BMMCs determined?

Cell counts and viability are determined using AOPI staining on a Nexcelom Cellometer.

How is post-thaw cell count and viability performed?
Cryopreserved vials of BMMCs are pulled from vapor phase LN2 freezers, thawed, and assessed on a Nexcelom Cellometer.
What are the recommended storage conditions for the cryopreserved BMMCs?
All live-cell products should be stored in the vapor phase of LN2 until thawed for use.
How are Blast percentages determined?
Discovery BMMCs provide post-thaw blast (CD45lo) and plasma cell (CD138+CD38+) counts via flow cytometry. Additionally, blast percentages are taken from the diagnostic Bone Marrow report obtained from the patient's electronic medical record.
Are blast percentages available for diseased PBMC and BMMC samples?
Diseased PBMC and BMMC samples are occasionally collected at a different date from the initial sample utilized to establish blast percentages. Therefore, DLS is unable to guarantee blast percentages in diseased samples. However, for AML and multiple myeloma BMMCs, DLS performs flow cytometry following cryopreservation to characterize blast percentages, and these results are available to aid in sample selection.
Cell & Gene Therapy
How are your donors characterized?

Demographic information

  • Age
  • Height
  • Sex
  • Smoking status
  • Ethnicity
  • Blood type
  • Weight

HLA-typing to 6-digit resolution with NGS

Virus testing every 90 days

  • Hepatitis B Core Antibody (Anti-HBc EIA)
  • Hepatitis C Virus Antibody (Anti-HCV EIA)
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus Antibody (HIV 1/2 plus O)
  • Additional tests can be performed— please inquire.

Other genomic or flow cytometry characterizations available as add-on services

Your samples are all from healthy, normal donors—how do you define “normal"?

For a donor to qualify as normal, they cannot be currently diagnosed or have a history of cancer, autoimmune disease, or any major comorbidity (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.). Contact us to learn more.

Can I follow the same donor from RUO to GMP?
Yes. Discovery Life Sciences owns and controls our entire supply chain from donor recruitment, donor screening, donor collection, and logistics to the end user. As a result, our operations are highly efficient and we can ensure a good relationship with our donors, with many returning again and again. Thus, you have the potential to use the same donor from RUO (Research Use Only) collections to GMP compliant collections for clinical use.
Has COVID-19 affected your collection, processing, and/or analytical facilities?
Our collection clinic, cell processing, NGS, and flow cytometry facilities have not been negatively impacted by COVID-19. We are located in Huntsville, Alabama, and have been considered an essential business by the state, enabling our facilities to remain open and fully operational. In addition, we have been able to continuously maintain our supply chain for lab consumables, keeping all projects running on schedule.
Where are you located?
Both our research use only (“RUO”) and our Good Manufacturing Processes (“GMP”) collections are done on-site in Huntsville, AL, in two separate suites in the same building. Our Cell Biology and HudsonAlpha Discovery, Sequencing and Bioinformatics, laboratories are also co-located in the same place, allowing for real-time fresh processing or downstream manipulation and analyses as needed.
Cryo Leukopaks (RUO)
How long until I receive my first shipment of Discovery Cryo Leukopaks?
Once we receive your purchase order, we can start collections within 2 – 14 days. Depending on your location, we provide same-day or next-day delivery.
Do you have a specific thawing protocol?
Watch a demonstration on our recommended method for handling and thawing.
What cryopreservation protocol do you follow?
We use a controlled rate method that quickly freezes leukopaks after collection to maximize viability, resulting in ~95% viability post-thawing.
Where are your sites?
Our Research Use Only (“RUO”) and our Good Manufacturing Processes (“GMP”) collections are both done in Huntsville, AL, in two separate suites in the same building. Our Cell Biology Lab is also co-located in the same facility, enabling real-time fresh processing or downstream manipulation as needed.
Your samples are all from healthy, normal donors—how do you define “normal"?

For a donor to qualify as normal, they cannot be currently diagnosed or have a history of cancer, autoimmune disease, or any major comorbidity (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.). Contact us to learn more.

Can I follow the same donor from RUO to GMP?
Yes. Discovery Life Sciences owns and controls our entire supply chain from donor recruitment, donor screening, donor collection, and logistics to the end user. As a result, our operations are highly efficient and we can ensure a good relationship with our donors, with many returning again and again. Thus, you have the potential to use the same donor from RUO (Research Use Only) collections to GMP compliant collections for clinical use.
Has COVID-19 affected your collection, processing, and/or analytical facilities?
Our collection clinic, cell processing, NGS, and flow cytometry facilities have not been negatively impacted by COVID-19. We are located in Huntsville, Alabama, and have been considered an essential business by the state, enabling our facilities to remain open and fully operational. In addition, we have been able to continuously maintain our supply chain for lab consumables, keeping all projects running on schedule.
What anticoagulant do you use for Discovery Leukopaks™?
We use ACD-A.
What apheresis equipment do you use?
We use Spectra Optia apheresis machines.
Which collection protocol/program and consumable sets are you using?
We use the CMNC (Continuous Mononuclear Cells) Protocol. This allows us to use only one separation process which is far more efficient than the MNC Protocol.
How often can you perform apheresis on a specific donor?
There must be a 61 day delay between one leukopheresis to the next donation. In addition, we require that our donors wait 21 days after a standard venipuncture (whole blood collection) before donating a leukopheresis product.
DTCs
How are dissociated tumor cells (DTCs) generated? What protocol is used?
Following surgical resection, tumors are placed in a proprietary tissue storage solution and shipped in a NanoCool™ Cooling System to Discovery’s expert Custom Biospecimen Processing Laboratory. Upon receipt, tumors are minced into small pieces and undergo a proprietary mechanical and enzymatic digestion to the single cell level. This digestion takes approximately 1 hour. Following digestion, cells are washed and cryopreserved.
Are dead cells or debris removed prior to cryopreservation?
Dead cells or debris removal is not performed, as previous attempts at these protocols have only provided modest reductions in the number of dead cells or amount of debris while negatively impacting cellular yields and composition.
How are DTCs cryopreserved?
DTCs are cryopreserved in CryoStor© CS10.
What are the recommended storage conditions for the cryopreserved DTCs?
DTCs are shipped on dry ice. Upon receipt, they should be used immediately or placed in liquid nitrogen vapor phase for long term storage.
How are the cell counts and viabilities of DTCs determined?
Cell counts and viability are determined using a Nexcelom Cellometer® with acridine orange and propidium iodide to identify live and dead nucleated cells, respectively, per the recommendations provided by Nexcelom. Given the cellular debris that can be present, we do not recommend the use of trypan blue-based cell counting methods, as this will overestimate the number of dead cells.
What cell surface markers are cleaved during the dissociation process?
We have profiled the sensitivity of numerous cell surface markers to the enzymatic cocktail used to dissociate tumors. For inquiries on specific markers, please contact info@dls.com.
My cell surface marker of interest hasn’t been tested for sensitivity. Can you test it?
Yes, we are able to test receptor sensitivity using samples with known expression, such as PBMCs or cell lines. For more information, please contact info@dls.com.
My cell surface marker is cleaved during the dissociation process. Are modified protocols available?
Yes, modified dissociation protocols are available that may maintain the expression of sensitive cell surface markers. While expression is preserved, the overall viability of the sample may be negatively impacted. For more information, please contact info@dls.com.
Do you have any recommendations for culturing DTCs?

For short term cultures using DTCs, we recommend using ultra-low attachment plates, such as Corning™ Costar™ Ultra-Low Attachment Microplates. Conventional tissue culture-treated plates should be avoided. Serum-free media is also recommended, and we highly recommend using penicillin, streptomycin, gentamicin, primocin, and amphotericin B to limit bacterial and fungal growth, as sterility cannot be guaranteed. For more information, please contact info@dls.com.

Do you provide normal dissociated tissue cells or diseased dissociated tissue cells from indications other than cancer?

Yes, we have validated dissociations of certain normal tissue, including lung and colon. Autoimmune dissociated tissues are also available, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. For more information, please tell us more about your project.

Are red blood cells lysed prior to cryopreservation?
Red blood cell lysis is not performed.
Fresh Leukopaks (GMP)
Your samples are all from healthy, normal donors—how do you define “normal"?

For a donor to qualify as normal, they cannot be currently diagnosed or have a history of cancer, autoimmune disease, or any major comorbidity (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.). Contact us to learn more.

Has COVID-19 affected your collection, processing, and/or analytical facilities?
Our collection clinic, cell processing, NGS, and flow cytometry facilities have not been negatively impacted by COVID-19. We are located in Huntsville, Alabama, and have been considered an essential business by the state, enabling our facilities to remain open and fully operational. In addition, we have been able to continuously maintain our supply chain for lab consumables, keeping all projects running on schedule.
What anticoagulant do you use for Discovery Leukopaks™?
We use ACD-A.
What apheresis equipment do you use?
We use Spectra Optia apheresis machines.
Which collection protocol/program and consumable sets are you using?
We use the CMNC (Continuous Mononuclear Cells) Protocol. This allows us to use only one separation process which is far more efficient than the MNC Protocol.
How often can you perform apheresis on a specific donor?
There must be a 61 day delay between one leukopheresis to the next donation. In addition, we require that our donors wait 21 days after a standard venipuncture (whole blood collection) before donating a leukopheresis product.
Fresh Leukopaks (RUO)
Where are your sites?
Our Research Use Only (“RUO”) and our Good Manufacturing Processes (“GMP”) collections are both done in Huntsville, AL, in two separate suites in the same building. Our Cell Biology Lab is also co-located in the same facility, enabling real-time fresh processing or downstream manipulation as needed.
Your samples are all from healthy, normal donors—how do you define “normal"?

For a donor to qualify as normal, they cannot be currently diagnosed or have a history of cancer, autoimmune disease, or any major comorbidity (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.). Contact us to learn more.

Can I follow the same donor from RUO to GMP?
Yes. Discovery Life Sciences owns and controls our entire supply chain from donor recruitment, donor screening, donor collection, and logistics to the end user. As a result, our operations are highly efficient and we can ensure a good relationship with our donors, with many returning again and again. Thus, you have the potential to use the same donor from RUO (Research Use Only) collections to GMP compliant collections for clinical use.
Has COVID-19 affected your collection, processing, and/or analytical facilities?
Our collection clinic, cell processing, NGS, and flow cytometry facilities have not been negatively impacted by COVID-19. We are located in Huntsville, Alabama, and have been considered an essential business by the state, enabling our facilities to remain open and fully operational. In addition, we have been able to continuously maintain our supply chain for lab consumables, keeping all projects running on schedule.
How often can you perform apheresis on a specific donor?
There must be a 61 day delay between one leukopheresis to the next donation. In addition, we require that our donors wait 21 days after a standard venipuncture (whole blood collection) before donating a leukopheresis product.
What anticoagulant do you use for Discovery Leukopaks™?
We use ACD-A.
Which collection protocol/program and consumable sets are you using?
We use the CMNC (Continuous Mononuclear Cells) Protocol. This allows us to use only one separation process which is far more efficient than the MNC Protocol.
Matched Sets
For FFPE + Plasma matched sets, when is the blood collected?
For FFPE + Plasma matched sets, blood is collected pre-surgical intervention.
What anticoagulant is used for FFPE + Plasma sets?
EDTA is used for FFPE + Plasma sets.
How quickly is the plasma processed post blood collection?
Plasma is processed within 2 hours after the blood is collected
PBMCs
What is your Standard Collection Tube for PBMCs?
Our standard collection tube for PBMCs is a Sodium Heparin Tube; however, prospective collections can utilize any commercially available blood collection tube.
What are your Storage and Shipping Temperature guidelines for PMBCs?
We recommend shipping PBMCs on dry ice or, if possible, in liquid nitrogen. PBMCs should be stored in liquid nitrogen immediately upon receipt
How are your PBMCs processed?

You can find our PBMCs Protocols by clicking here.

We also have the ability to follow our clients’ custom processing protocols and help them develop new processing protocols based on their needs.

How is post thaw QC performed for PBMCs?

Following at least 24 hours in liquid nitrogen, one vial is removed from storage and quickly thawed in a 37°C water bath until only a small frozen crystal remains.  Vials are transferred into a biosafety cabinet and diluted with an appropriate volume of DMEM/F12 + 10% FBS in a 15ml conical tube to ensure linearity with the Nexcelom Cellometer.  20µl of the cell suspension is mixed with 20µl of acridine orange/propidium iodide and counted on the Nexcelom Cellometer to determine cell counts and viability.  All cell counts are performed prior to any pelleting and washing of the samples.  These counts are estimations of the total live cell yield.

Are red blood cells lysed prior to cryopreservation?
Red blood cell lysis is not performed.
How are PBMCs cryopreserved?
PBMCs are shipped on dry ice. Upon receipt, they should be used immediately or placed in liquid nitrogen vapor phase for long term storage.
How are cell counts and viabilities of PBMCs determined?
Cell counts and viability are determined using a Nexcelom Cellometer® with acridine orange and propidium iodide to identify live and dead nucleated cells, respectively. Unlike dissociated tissue, which is prone to cellular debris, PBMCs can be counted using trypan blue exclusion. If flow cytometry is used to determine cell count and viability, it is recommended that proper FSC thresholds be established to remove platelets, which are present in cryopreserved PBMCs.
What is the difference between PBMCs and MNCs?
At Discovery Life Sciences, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) notates cells isolated from whole blood, while mononuclear cells (MNCs) represent cells isolated from apheresis material. During the apheresis process, granulocytes, red blood cells, and platelets are reduced in the specimen, and are further removed during the processing. Therefore, MNCs will have drastically reduced levels of platelets compared to whole blood PBMCs.
Are blast percentages available for diseased PBMC and BMMC samples?
Diseased PBMC and BMMC samples are occasionally collected at a different date from the initial sample utilized to establish blast percentages. Therefore, DLS is unable to guarantee blast percentages in diseased samples. However, for AML and multiple myeloma BMMCs, DLS performs flow cytometry following cryopreservation to characterize blast percentages, and these results are available to aid in sample selection.

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