Kerafast just celebrated its fifth anniversary of working with the global community of scientific investigators to disseminate research reagents for the development of treatments and cure of disease. Kerafast, which now collaborates with nearly 150 academic research institutions, hosts an online catalog of thousands of reagents, including cell lines, antibodies, dyes, small molecules and other research tools, most of which are not available elsewhere.
We spoke with Kerafast’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Jennifer Rossi, to learn more about the company.
Q: Is there a global need for these types of reagents?
A: Yes, there is a great need. Most of our reagents come from freezers at academic institutions – other researchers don’t even know they exist. Instead, they re-create similar materials in their own laboratories, which is both costly and time-consuming. We help to provide visibility and exposure to these materials, helping investigators discover new research tools they may not have seen yet in the scientific literature. They can then use these materials in their research to better understand and treat diseases such as cancer, infectious diseases and immune disorders.
Q: Why do researchers choose to sell their reagents through Kerafast?
A: Many researchers want to share materials they have created with the global scientific community to advance the progress of science and help find cures to disease. Traditionally, scientists who want to share their reagents with a colleague at another institution must first work with their technology licensing office and the corresponding office at the acquiring institution to complete a material transfer agreement (MTA). In many cases, this is time-consuming for all involved. The Kerafast program helps streamline the entire process. When we enter into an agreement with an academic institution, we complete a master agreement that enables researchers to list their reagents on our catalog. Any investigator interested in the reagent can then agree to the research-use-only terms via our online “click license” and procure the material without additional time and paperwork. Additionally, once the product is sold, we give generous royalties back to the contributing institution and investigator, providing an extra stream of funding for new research.
Q: How has Kerafast changed over the five years?
A: We certainly have grown our number of employees to handle our growing catalog, customers and inquiries. We moved from the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area to Boston’s Innovation District, the Seaport. Focusing recently outside the United States, we have partnered with new academic institutions in Japan, the United Kingdom, India, Australia, Germany and Israel, to name a few. Products from our catalog now ship to 57 countries worldwide. In addition, over the past couple of years, we have grown our fellows program, a part-time initiative in which Kerafast supports grad students and postdocs at academic institutions to work with potential providers of materials, exposing these individuals to careers in science outside the laboratory.
Q: What does Kerafast hope to accomplish over the next five years?
A: Our mission is to advance life science research by facilitating access to reagents from leading laboratories around the world. We plan to continue to grow our community of investigators providing Reagents for the Greater Good. This includes increasing our international activities exponentially to expand our catalog. We also hope to open new doors of collaboration and partnership on all sides between researchers providing reagents and those procuring them from our catalog. By making more reagents readily available, we hope to advance scientific research and help researchers find cures to disease.Activate Social Media: