The biotech companies surviving recent hard times know a thing or two about managing costs and saving money. Some are capitalizing on the failure of their peers by tapping into a growing supply of used manufacturing equipment.
Thanks to the recent turnover among fledgling biotechs [see our Biotech Graveyard report], some "previously owned" gear has become available at steep discounts. And brokers say that, given economic realities, the stigma of buying used equipment has diminished greatly.
In the Boston area, for example, which is rife with biotech turnover, everything from lab benches and microscopes to centrifuges and complete vaccine manufacturing set-ups can be had without that new equipment smell. Dealers are increasingly open to offers rather than sticking to pre-set prices.
The Boston Globe reports that refurbished equipment sales are up and likely to stay that way. Equipment sells for around half price, the article says, but some buyers have realized savings as high as 90 percent. Some companies buy used equipment directly from failed biotechs; others find the used and refurbished gear through online auctioneers, universities and even eBay.
The drug industry is not alone in seeing growing stores of used equipment and a more willing buying public. Supplies of refurbished semiconductor manufacturing equipment are on the rise at the same time the negative connotation is disappearing. Some suppliers, in fact, cite a glut of used equipment.