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Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure – European Research Infrastructure Consortium

SBP is a member of the BBMRI-ERIC network as the Swiss node and is an active partner in different activities, such as Common Service ELSI, Quality Working Groups and ADOPT Project. This participation allows SBP to follow the BBMRI-ERIC strategy and adapt it to Swiss needs.

Work program 2018

BBMRI – ERIC publishes each year its Work Program specifying the objectives expected outcomes and time plan of their different activities. Work Program 2018 focuses on the improvement of marketing and communication, stakeholder engagement and the main services and tools related to Quality, IT and ELSI. National nodes are requested to support biobanks locally by implementing the Work Program and to drive utilization of samples. Switzerland holds an observer status within BBMRI-ERIC, represented by SBP and its staff is actively participating in the different Common Services and Working Groups (WG).

SBP’ involvement in BBMRI-ERIC activities

1. Quality

Working Group Quality focuses mainly on the implementation of quality tools for biobankers and researchers. A quality grade – determined by self-assessment surveys for CEN Technical Specifications (CEN/TS) – will be introduced to enhance the visibility of European biobanks, by flagging them in the BBMRI-ERIC Directory. An audit program concept paper is under development, supporting the biobanks to reach certification and accreditation by authorized national qualification bodies.

In 2017 focus was laid on three main objectives:

  • Enhancing visibility of biobanks in the BBMRI-ERIC Directory by introducing a quality grade;
  • Concept paper development of the audit program: provide quality consultancy and peer-review audits;
  • Contribution to international standard developments: ISO/TC 276 Biotechnology as well as ISO/TC 212 Clinical laboratory testing and in vitro diagnostic test systems.

SBP participates in Sub-WG 5, which was initiated in 2016 and handles the general quality management for biobanks. In regular monthly telephone conferences the following topics were/are discussed:

  • Review of the self-assessment surveys developed to determine the quality grade of a biobank;
  • Presentation of the current activities in the national nodes: in each telephone conference a different country. In September 2017 it was Switzerland’s turn and SBP presented its quality strategy. In addition, the Liquid Biobank Bern gave insights on their quality management system;
  • Concept development of the audit program.

As part of this WG, SBP is strategically one step ahead and brought expertise in preparing for relevant future ISO standards before they are publicly available and allowing their development to be influenced according to Swiss stakeholders needs and expectations. In that context, SBP was the reference body for collecting comments on the future ISO 20387 for Switzerland in July 2017.

SBP was and will continue being active in the development of the BBMRI-ERIC self-assessment surveys. Moreover, SBP will advise on the construction of the audit program.

2. Common Service ELSI

Common Service (CS) ELSI focuses on the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI), by providing expertise as well as involving the stakeholders’ points of view in the development process of tools, services and policies. It aims to facilitate and support cross-border exchanges of human biological resources and associated data for research purposes, collaborations and sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices among Member States. The CS ELSI comprises experts from all BBMRI-ERIC member states; SBP has been integrated in January 2017.

In 2016, Task Forces (TF) have been formed to address specific topics along the objectives and timely needs of BBMRI-ERIC. Among them, SBP is part of TF International Organisations’ Policy Assessment and Monitoring and TF on Good Examples.

Task Force International Organisations’ Policy Assessment and Monitoring

The goal of this TF is to:

  • Establish permanent contact with relevant International Organizations acting in the biobanking field of ELSI;
  • Monitor and communicate on the relevant activities of the International Organizations with the CS ELSI;
  • Provide a coordinated expertise capacity at pan-European level on the topics addressed by the International Organizations, as a service (e.g. development/drafting of norms, public consultations, etc.).

Task Force on Good Examples

The goal of this TF is to enhance public debate and support policy makers by high-lighting and collecting good examples of what one can do with biobanks and personal data in order to produce benefits for patients.

Any biobank interested in promoting its success story can contact . Definition of good examples: “positive stories of biobanking-based-research with a healthcare impact”.

3. Common Service IT

Once the SBP interoperability strategy and business model have been validated, an active collaboration with BBMRI Common Service IT will be put in place.

4. ADOPT Project

The ADOPT BBMRI-ERIC proposal aims at boosting and accelerating implementation of BBMRI-ERIC and its services. SBP is mainly involved in WP 2 (Datasets) and 3 (IT Gateway to European Biobanks) related to the setup of a Colorectal Cancer Cohort, i.e. coordinates the participation of Swiss biobanks.

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