In 2015, Metacrine raised $36 million in Series A funding. Today, this clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company from San Diego are innovating differentiated therapies for patients with liver and gastrointestinal (GI) diseases.
As they continue to build a robust pipeline of innovative treatments for a range of liver and GI diseases, Metacrine required a purchasing solution that could scale quickly and efficiently.
Vice President of Finance
Kathie Huynh is the Vice President of Finance at Metacrine and has helped the fast-growing organization continue to scale since 2018. Kathie brings a deep understanding of finance and accounting best practices unique to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries to Metacrine, where she helps drive financial excellence.
Upon raising its $36 Million Series A round, Metacrine used the capital injection to scale up its operations. Inevitably, the quantity of its purchases, particularly lab supplies, equipment, chemicals etc., shot up dramatically.
Going from a handful of purchases in a week to several hundreds may not seem particularly challenging at first. However, as numbers of orders increased, Metacrine’s Research and the Accounts Payable teams had to deal with a new set of problems.
For researchers, getting their needs shipped to the lab on time was a matter of great urgency — in most biotech companies, researchers are busy working on scientific breakthroughs that are extremely time-sensitive. Metacrine’s researchers had to communicate their requests for chemicals, reagents and other needs to their managers for approval. The problem was that this form of communication was done via email and Excel sheets; this communication process or lack there of increased risks of losing the ball on orders.
Besides, under this process, there was no way for researchers to ascertain the status of their requests — for example, there was no easy way to find out if their request had been seen by their manager, let alone approved. When it came to Metacrine’s Accounts Payable team, the problems were even more acute. As the volume of orders increased substantially, the company’s AP coordinator found herself spending the majority of her work hours manually reconciling invoices and getting the CFO’s signed approval for every invoice, before greenlighting it for payment.
Having scaled up both in team size and volume of ordering, Metacrine, which was on the cusp of yet another round of funding, realized that it could no longer continue its purchasing in a manual way. The time had come for it to automate its Request to Pay process.
“For us Procurify was a system that was able to reflect our organization structure and help with efficiency. Efficiency was key.”
Earlier, Metacrine’s researchers would input their requisition on an Excel sheet. Approvals would be sought with their respective managers via email. Once, the approvals came in, the requisitions would be conveyed to the Purchasing Manager. This was a long and winding process.
With Procurify, all this information could be coursed through one system and at a fraction of the time. A researcher could simply place a requisition on Procurify, and the appropriate manager would either approve or deny it. In the absence of emails and spreadsheets, no longer did the researcher’s emailed requisition compete with other emails for the manager’s immediate attention. Instead, a simple push notification — either on Procurify’s mobile or Slack — would alert the manager that a researcher needed something; this, along with crucial details such as what was needed, by when it was needed etc., was conveyed in the easiest way possible.
The streamlined workflow didn’t just help in the quick approval and procurement of orders, it gave a sense of reassurance and certainty to the researchers and managers; to ascertain the status of any order, they could simply use Procurify to call on its status and find out at what stage it was stuck. If the process was taking longer than usual, and things needed to be hastened along, the researcher could send an instant message to the relevant approver on Procurify’s chat log. Furthermore, all such correspondence and any other actions taken by any party in the Request to Pay cycle would be stored in Procurify’s audit log and be a matter of record.
Earlier, Metacrine’s Accounts Payable coordinator was spending the majority of her time on manual processes related to reconciling and approving invoices. With most of her work day swallowed up by such non-value added activities, she had little time left for crucial areas like financial reporting, or strategic and professional development goals.
What took up a large chunk of her time was the three-way-matching process, which had to be done manually. Everytime an invoice was received by Metacrine, she had to personally scour the office to make sure the order had actually been received. Using Procurify and its best practices, an order’s status is updated soon as it has been received. After Metacrine switched to Procurify, the AP coordinator could match an invoice to its packing slip and its purchase order in just a few clicks.
The other area where Metacrine’s AP process suffered was invoice approvals. In their earlier, manual process, the AP coordinator had to get each and every invoice personally signed by the company’s CFO. Under Procurify, she could, at the click of a button, escalate the invoice — along with all other details — to the CFO for her approval.
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