Boston BioProducts, Inc.

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December 19, 2016 Issue



Ready-to-use Buffers and Reagents for Research Labs in Academia, Biotech and Pharmaceutical Laboratories



C. Pal Sharma, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer


Boston BioProducts, Inc.


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – December 19, 2016


CEOCFO: Dr. Sharma, would you tell us about Boston BioProducts?

Dr. Sharma: Boston BioProducts is a R&D reagent manufacturer that provides ready-to-use buffers, solutions, media, and reagents for research labs in academia, biotech and pharmaceutical laboratories. Being a scientist, I had to make these reagents myself in the lab for my experiments. In 1994, I decided to commercialize these reagents in order to provide these solutions to multiple scientists so that they could spend more time on their research instead of on making products. Back then, no company was selling these.


CEOCFO: Are most research labs, biotechs and pharma comfortable with a readymade formulation today?

Dr. Sharma: Mostly yes. Firstly, what we do is not rocket science. Since we are following established protocols and science, researchers are comfortable swapping their own “homebrew” for readymade versions that are shipped to them. Some researchers are very specific about their formulations, and for them we offer custom versions that are tailor to their experiments.


CEOCFO: Would you give us an idea of the range of products you provide?

Dr. Sharma: We have 5,000 products on the catalog today and growing. Since we also create custom formulations, we like to tell our customers that whatever they need, we will make it. In that sense, there is no limit to the number of products we provide.


CEOCFO: How do you know maintain inventory?

Dr. Sharma: Right now we are implementing an ERP system. One big part of this implementation is that it will keep track of inventory. Although our customers would consider us a high quality and reliable manufacturer, we are still a smaller company. Up until recently we were still tracking inventory manually. Our growth has made it necessary to start automating more processes to keep up with demand.


We keep inventory of our highest sellers and replenish these based on order frequency. For our non-high sellers, we can make these products within 24-48 hours. We have established protocols, and great scientists in the lab that help us stay this efficient.


CEOCFO: Is there a shelf life for your products?

Dr. Sharma: Yes. Technically, everything needs a shelf life. Most of our products are stable chemical formulations with many years before expiration, but certain products are low-shelf life. Either way, we make it very transparent to our customers.

CEOCFO: How have you have reached the point of growth where you need computerization?

Dr. Sharma: We have so many formulations to make. In addition, we also make custom formulations of products not found in our catalog. In fact, a lot of our business is coming from scientists in biotech and pharmaceutical companies asking us to make special formulations. I think the manufacturing of catalog products and custom products, QC/QA documentation, and overall logistics have caused us to need an automated way of tracking. This way we can focus on good science and less on spreadsheets.


CEOCFO: Are there many companies in your arena, either selling or customizing?

Dr. Sharma: There are multi-billion dollar companies that now sell and offer custom buffers as a very small portion of their business. There is a lot of private labeling in the life science tools business. Since we are a true manufacturer, we actually sell our products to some of these companies for private label. In addition, you will see smaller companies, like Boston BioProducts. So yes, there is competition out there. To be honest, we don’t focus on the competition. We only focus on the customer.


CEOCFO: How are you reaching out to people that do not use your services?

Dr. Sharma: Our quality is arguably unbeatable. Our marketing could use some work. However, we do have a few methods of reaching new customers. We work with national and international distributors to ship our products globally. We work with eProcurement companies that add our products to their larger catalog for easier ordering for both academia and pharma. We also have Sales representatives that visit our key account customers.


We are not very keen on marketing emails and promotions. Our biggest contributor to new customer acquisition truly is word of mouth.


CEOCFO: How are you making it easy for customers to do business with you? Why do they want to come back?

Dr. Sharma: Let me tell you a wonderful story about a scientist. When we started the company, I used to walk door-to-door to different labs. The most difficult question asked to me was, “Why should I buy from you?” That was a difficult question for us because it is very difficult to change a scientist. Scientists are skeptics. They question everything, and if something works Scientists do not change, period! That was 22 years ago.


The good news today is that Scientists do not change. After a lot of hard work, scientists now do not want to stop using our product for someone else’s. The most important part of any life science tool, whether it be a reagent or even an instrument is that it must work again, and again, and again. Money is never the issue. It is the quality of the products, and quality of the service that is key to success.


CEOCFO: What types of regulations are in effect for your services?

Dr. Sharma: There are regulations, but our products service researchers mainly in the ‘RUO’ (Research Use Only) space. In addition, we are operating in a ISO certified laboratory.


CEOCFO: What challenges do you see going forward?

Dr. Sharma: Right now, the process of customer order to production to packing to shipping has become quite streamlined. A challenge is that our business has focused on providing very simple reagents for scientific research. There are new technologies in the market that don’t necessarily compete with us, but we are not taking advantage of it to help us in the lab. We have a strong team of scientists, so our plan is to develop more complex reagents and assays for our customers.


CEOCFO: When someone asks for a custom product, are they providing you with the exact formulation or do you assist them with that?

Dr. Sharma: Either or and sometimes both! Some customers know exactly what they want and will detail the formulation out for us. Some customers have an idea for their experiment and are trying to determine the formulation they need so they will call us. We have been in the business for almost 22 years, and I have been in the lab for many years before that. I would consider our group of scientists to be experts who can help customers with their experiment design.


CEOCFO: What is next? If we talk a year from now, what should we expect?

Dr. Sharma: We would definitely have grown our business by 15% at that point. We would expect to have grown our product offering, as well as, our customer base. In addition, we would have by that time invested in new equipment and lab space for research and manufacturing.


CEOCFO: Final thoughts? What should our readers remember about Boston BioProducts?

Dr. Sharma: The reason for starting the business was respect and dignity. Money was not at the main focus in our mind. Money was a byproduct of the process. Therefore, even in the difficult times we were still happy. We have grown our business from nothing. Wherever we are today is because of the customers who recommended us to their colleagues, and I believe that speaks to the quality and reproducibility of our products.


“So yes, there is competition out there. To be honest, we don’t focus on the competition. We only focus on the customer.”
- C. Pal Sharma, Ph.D.


Boston BioProducts, Inc.



C. Pal Sharma, Ph.D.








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