Scientific organizations: Here’s how to save on 2.5 million lab-related products

Jan. 30, 2020

This paid piece is sponsored by South Dakota Biotech.

Whether you’re a startup lab or a big bioscience operation, you can start saving in a significant way thanks to a partnership between Fisher Scientific and South Dakota Biotech.

The state affiliate of the national BIO organization has partnered with Fisher Scientific, an industry-leading provider of lab supplies, chemicals, equipment and safety products, to offer an incredible value to businesses.

“This opportunity can make a very real, measurable difference in our members’ budgets,” said Joni Johnson, executive director of South Dakota Biotech. “In many cases, the dollars they are saving on equipment and supplies are able to be channeled directly back into bolstering their research efforts.”

That has been the case for SDSU Research, which is a member of South Dakota Biotech and takes advantage of savings at Fisher Scientific on its laboratory equipment and supplies.

“Fisher Scientific works with our staff members who do scientific purchasing to apply the discount,” said Daniel Scholl, SDSU’s vice president of research and economic development.

“We see the largest savings in our human and animal biomedical research areas, with substantial savings also observed in general biology and biotechnology, and chemistry and biochemistry.”

SDSU takes advantage of the South Dakota Biotech Fisher Scientific discount for anything from major laboratory equipment acquisitions, such as sophisticated laboratory freezers, to everyday lab supplies. Scholl estimates the savings adds up to nearly 1 percent for a $68 million annual budget for the research engine at the university.

“Research budgets are always tight; in order to do research, we must compete with other institutions for research funds. Consequently, researchers are always under pressure to stretch research sponsorship funds as far as possible,” he said.

“The Fisher Scientific discounts are a very big help in reducing the cost of research, enabling a larger share of research sponsorship funds to be used for expert personnel, other costs of data collection and for disseminating the results, among other expenses.”

SDSU Research is one of dozens of organizations and businesses in South Dakota that take advantage of the Fisher Scientific discounts through South Dakota Biotech.

Participants save a percentage of the list price on the 2.5 million products offered by Fisher Scientific. South Dakota Biotech members also receive free standard freight on standard catalog products, and additional shipping fees are waived for hazard chemicals and orders requiring ice. Fuel surcharges are waived as well.

“It’s a considerable savings,” said Jeannine Marko, industry director for Fisher Scientific. “Collectively, South Dakota Biotech members last year saved 32 percent off list price and nearly 60 percent on their freight. It can really add up.”

Fisher Scientific’s  parent company, Thermo Fisher Scientific, also has put together a program to help biotech companies budget their needs. Through a leasing approach, businesses can rent equipment as it’s needed or on a rent-to-own basis.

“So let’s say you’re a small biotech company and you need a $500,000 piece of equipment,” Marko said. “You can’t spend that up front, so there are various leasing models. Think of it like leasing a car. You can lease it to own, lease and upgrade every few years or lease for a designated amount of time.”

The program also extends to basic equipment and supplies, she said.

“So for example, if you’re starting a lab and you need gloves and beakers and glassware and lab coats, rather than pay $50,000 up front, for instance, you can pay on this financing program.”

Scholl, who sits on the board of directors for South Dakota Biotech, said the savings can make a significant impact for many organizations.

“Research and development is a fundamental tool for many South Dakota Biotech members,” he said. “The Fisher Scientific relationship helps members to reduce the expense of research and development, making it easier to discover and develop new technologies that will enhance their businesses and build the South Dakota bioeconomy.”

At SDSU, while the discount is a tangible benefit that pencils out every year, “the larger benefits are the relationships with other institutions and the leading bioeconomy enterprises in the state,” he said.

For Fisher Scientific, partnering with organizations such as South Dakota Biotech allows the company to connect with biotech businesses at every stage of development, Marko said.

“We have hundreds of sales representatives nationwide, but we can’t get to every single account, so this helps us access companies we wouldn’t normally have access to or even some we don’t know exist,” Marko said. “It gets us in at the ground floor and allows us to support our state associations, which receive a portion of revenue when members do business with us.”

The partnership is invaluable to all, Johnson agreed.

“It’s truly a win-win-win. We’re able to offer our members outstanding savings on equipment they need to advance their work, and Fisher Scientific supports us, which allows the association to continue its work to support our industry in everything from advocacy to networking to marketing. We’re grateful for the relationship and know we’re going to continue to build on it.”

Ready to start taking advantage of a South Dakota Biotech membership? Current members, want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the savings available? Reach out to Joni Johnson at

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Scientific organizations: Here’s how to save on 2.5 million lab-related products

Whether you’re a startup lab or a big bioscience operation, you can start saving in a significant way thanks to this biotech partnership.

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