The reemergence of B2B marketplaces offers new options for buyers and sellers. Even while mega players like Alibaba and Amazon are getting the headlines, dozens of specialized vertical marketplaces are emerging in their shadows. As part of our ongoing coverage of global eCommerce trends, we’ll be spotlighting different industries where marketplaces are starting up, getting funding, and becoming go-to sites in their sectors. Clients can see the full range of verticals we are tracking and options for indirect and direct purchasing in our latest report, “Forrester Infographic: Master Emerging B2B Marketplaces.”

In this post, we’ll explore the life sciences sector. The stress of the pandemic has been pushing the healthcare and life sciences sectors to the brink of capacity. We have seen hospitals rushing to scale to meet overwhelming patient demand and also look for new ways to source essential supplies. Meanwhile, life sciences firms are racing to develop testing kits, therapeutics, and equipment to enable frontline workers. Online marketplaces have become a key lifeline for buyers and sellers in this environment — both those that stood up specifically in response to COVID-19 as well as established sites that have quickly pivoted to feature items such as sterilizers, masks, and thermometers. Here are several options we are tracking:

  • is a French marketplace developed via a partnership between Mirakl and the French Ministry of the Economy and Finance. Two weeks after launch, over 550,000 liters of gels and hydro-alcoholic solutions, over 1 million surgical masks, and 130,0000 alternative masks for non-health-professional use were distributed. The marketplace also grew quickly to 150 registered sellers and more than 1,600 customers.
  • Fisher Scientific is part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, based outside of Boston. Its marketplace offers over 2 million products and extensive support services to the scientific research, healthcare, and education markets globally. The parent company has also partnered with Science Exchange (see below) to build an online marketplace for R&D services.
  • LabX is a marketplace for science and laboratory products specializing in scientific, process, electronic testing, and medical equipment. Privately held LabX is headquartered in Ontario, Canada, and supports buying and selling in North America and Europe. It offers over 200,000 products with nearly 2 million annual transactions and is estimated to bring home about $13M in revenue.
  • Science Exchange is a California-based R&D services marketplace founded in 2011. It has raised an estimated $92 million in funding to date and has partnered with big-name firms such as Brex, Box, Amazon Web Services, and WuXi LabNetwork (profiled in our last post), as well as Thermo Fisher Scientific. The company also recently joined Accenture’s INTIENT Network, which is focused on accelerating drug discovery and development.

As we have predicted, marketplaces will gain momentum across multiple tech and industrial categories, and we see upward of hundreds of B2B marketplaces being launched in the next year. Future blogs will spotlight the construction, aerospace, and electronics marketplaces, to name only a few. In the meantime, we welcome an inquiry on our research, and for more information on how to rethink your marketplace strategy as a seller or buyer, clients can check out our foundational research below:

(Alessia Stewart contributed to this blog.)