Bob Bondaryk, PhD, President and CEO – September 24, 2014
It started as an idea more than six years ago. Can we find a new way to help fund academic scientific research at a time when NIH and philanthropic funding is not only failing to keep pace but actually declining in constant dollars?
So we took a look at a unique asset of the academic bioscience laboratory: the freezer.
We asked, “Can we tap into this vast worldwide reservoir of existing materials as new research tools for the Good of Science?”
Now scientists have been collegially sharing these kinds of materials, gratis, since the dawn of the experimental age. But these days, due to the Bayh-Dole Act, to share reagents with other labs requires a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA). Although the logic behind MTAs is sound, in practice their execution has in many cases caused delays, aggravation and undue burden on laboratories and technology transfer offices. Many of us are aware of horror stories of MTA timelines stretching to 6 or even 9 months between a request and delivery of material. And labs are often frustrated having to scramble to find packaging materials to fulfill requests or wrestle with the intricacies of international shipping. Scientists have better things to do with their time.
We said there had to be a better way.
So we began to work with universities and research institutions, combining a new source of funding for them with a way to streamline access to laboratory-derived research materials.
The result was our mission of promoting “Reagents for the Greater Good” where we partner with universities and research institutions to sell bioresearch materials stored in their freezers and then split the profits with them.
Scientists all over the world now have rapid access to new tools to advance their work. Our website incorporates a ‘click license’ which substitutes for the MTA so that customers can click and buy without waiting for paperwork; products ship within days of order. Investigators across the US and worldwide who buy from Kerafast have shown they are more than happy to trade dollars for time and trouble: We now have thousands of satisfied customers on five continents from 44 countries.
And every calendar quarter we share our good fortune with our academic partners in the form of double-digit royalties, fulfilling our Mission to give back to Science.
This September we celebrated the 100th academic institution to partner with us, The University of Texas at Austin. We celebrated at a party in Boston commemorating the notion that all the Good Guys wear white hats, our signature trademark for everyone advancing our Mission.
The University of Texas at Austin now joins a host of other prestigious and respected universities, research hospitals and institutions across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia whose materials are available on our website for scientists to use in their work.
As I write this we are already up to 110 institutions in our program, so our Mission continues to expand its reach. We are providing new and important reagents for research toward the cure of disease worldwide, together with our growing support for the Greater Good of Science.
Want a hat to join and celebrate our cause? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you one.