Case Study

Fig. 1

How much excess is there?

Excess reagents occur as a natural byproduct of engaging in scientific research. But how much excess are we talking about? We visited a local biotech company to find out.

Fig. 1   In this refrigerated room scientists store reagents to be used in their experiments. A cold room this size is shared by several laboratories and represents just one of many in the building. It is also often the site of forgotten reagents- usually brand new or lightly used that could have been useful to another researcher. 

 

75%

Wasted reagents: expired, brand new or lightly used

100%

Wasted reagents that could have been donated.

0%

System in place to streamline reagent donations


Fig. 2

What types of reagents are being wasted?

Scientists often purchase kits to test their hypotheses which can cost thousands of dollars. The kit pictured below was purchased to measure inflammation in humans. Today this kit costs $2,440. It was found, still wrapped, in a cold room in 2015, fourteen years after its expiration date.


Fig. 3

What can we do about the waste?

This kit was purchased to measure the human response to a viral infection. It costs $3,195, on sale. Once the experiment was complete, the kit was no longer needed but still contained expensive and useful materials.

The Reagent Project sent it to a scientist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who had no funding to purchase this kit yet needed it to progress their work. 

 
 

Summary

There is currently no system in place to streamline donations from well funded labs to those in need. The Reagent Project answers this need by providing a mechanism through which reagents are donated, inventoried on our website and made available to vetted scientists and educators.