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SBIR-STTR-Tibbetts Award Winner - RockStep Solutions, Inc.

Date Posted:

2020 Tibbetts Award Winner

Maine-based RockStep hopes to help improve the success rate of drugs entering clinical trials with its flagship SaaS platform, Climb – allowing research teams to collaborate across sites with state-of-theart tools that organize their work and data, and provide real-time awareness and better control of laboratory operations.











Department of Health and Human Services

Impact & Achievement

Maine-based RockStep hopes to help improve the success rate of drugs entering clinical trials with its software as a service (SaaS) offering, Climb. The company is revolutionizing human health research with a scientific collaboration and data platform that helps accelerate research and get therapies and cures to patients faster. Climb targets in vivo research and drug discovery which has been suffering from a state of data chaos and operational inefficiencies. As technical, complex, and precise as this type of research is, the tools used to capture this critical data and manage studies are anything but. In vivo researchers use a patchwork of processes and tools from spreadsheets, binders, pen- and-paper record keeping, project management systems, and dozens of other digital tools that don’t sync their information. This is why data scientists spend an estimated 80% of their time just wrangling data. Climb aggregates, harmonizes, and delivers all this critical data, across all teams and throughout every step of the in vivo research process. It runs on all modern devices — desktop, tablet, and mobile — allowing team members 24/7 access and insights into data, complete with automated email alerts and SMS notifications.


Experiments designed to uncover the causes and find the cures for human suffering are getting increasingly complex. Therapies for diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders, often require targeting multiple gene pathways with sophisticated drug delivery systems and dynamic dosage regimes. Pre-clinical drug testing is thus getting more complex and challenging to manage and more difficult to prove drug efficacy and safety before testing in patient clinical trials. Until the release of Climb, developed with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding, the tools available for managing lab operations and large volumes of data consisted of a collection of general-purpose products like spreadsheets and legacy tools built with outdated technologies. Climb is now transforming human health research with a single platform hosted on secure global cloud infrastructure designed specifically for preclinical in vivo studies. With Climb, research teams can collaborate across sites and time-zones with state-of-the-art tools that organize their work and data and provide research program managers and scientists real-time awareness and better control of laboratory operations.


For RockStep, the guidance, expertise, and insights the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) provided every step of the way was invaluable. From vetting the application and validating the need to transform biomedical research workflows, to setting RockStep’s strategic direction and helping open doors to the market - NIH’s role in gaining this critical market foothold cannot be understated. In October 2016, RockStep partnered with Nobel Laureate, Dr. Stanley Prusiner’s lab to implement Climb at the University of California San Francisco. There, it effectively meets the rigorous demands of a large research program. Climb has also been adopted by several other large research universities and biopharmaceutical companies. RockStep has had Phase III funding of more than $1.5 million, and the company has seen revenues double from 2018-2019. The company has more than 30 clients in 14 states and Europe, and expects to grow its staff to 270 full time employees in the next five years.

Funding Agency

Small Business Administration

RockStep Solutions, Inc.


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