Peak Serum, Inc. President & CEO, Tom Kutrubes, shares his industry insight and experiences with CEOCFO Magazine during an interview with Senior Editor, Lynn Fosse outlined below:
CEOCFO: Mr. Kutrubes, what is Peak® Serum, Inc?
Mr. Kutrubes: Peak Serum was founded in January of 2015. We are a privately-owned biotechnology company and small business. Our facility is located in Northern Colorado (Wellington), specifically. The core focus of Peak Serum is to provide the highest quality Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS), which is a biological reagent used in research laboratory settings. We have built, in a short time, a strong reputation to service our customers in the research community with the highest level of industry compliance, honesty, transparency and solution-based approach to fulfill their research needs in this area.
CEOCFO: For what type of research is fetal bovine serum useful?
Mr. Kutrubes: Fetal Bovine Serum is utilized by research laboratories nationwide and globally. For example, serum is utilized within in-vitro tissue culture applications in cell biology, stem cells, immunology, pathology, veterinary medicine, cancer and vaccine development research. Biotech and pharma companies also utilize Fetal Bovine Serum in Good Manufacturing Practice settings and clinical trial research studies.
CEOCFO: Why fetal bovine? Why is it good for these processes?
Mr. Kutrubes: Fetal bovine serum is the most widely used serum supplement for in-vitro cell/tissue culture. This is due to the growth factors, allowing for much versatility in different cell culture applications. FBS is utilized in order to help the cells grow and thrive in that environment to enable innovative research to be conducted.
CEOCFO: When someone is speaking with you and ordering, are there different types of serums? Do you help customers recognize what might be best for their project?
Mr. Kutrubes: Fetal Bovine Serum is the main product. Now, within this product you have various origins that are commonly utilized and carry different raw material costs, such as United States and USDA Approved FBS. These classifications simply imply the serum that is either collected within the continuous United States of America or is imported from approved USDA countries (authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture). USDA Approved FBS has been granted approval and comply with health, traceability and regulatory regulations set forth by USDA/Animal Plant and Health Inspection Services (Which Peak Serum is in current / good standing via annual facility audits).
CEOCFO: Why purchase from Peak Serum?
Mr. Kutrubes: We are a very specialized and unique company. Our team has superior industry and product concentration specifically with Fetal Bovine Serum. These attributes enable us to engage with the customer and share full transparency of the collection process (raw materials) through sterile filtration into the end product and sales / distribution and research use.
At Peak Serum, our vision is oriented to quality thinking, great communication reliability, technical skills and market intelligence. My entire experience and career (15 years) has been specialized in the biotechnology industry with emphasis on Fetal Bovine Serum and key market analysis.
What we can offer our customers is a very solution-based approach, very customized to every individual’s needs, because many of the laboratories’ largest annual purchase is Fetal Bovine Serum from a monetary standpoint.
Therefore, we can offer market competitive products, exceed all quality/industry standards and specifications as our competitors. However, since we are specialized and operate with boundless supply chain relationships, we are able to streamline or focus on cost savings without sacrificing quality. One of the many benefits as a small business we enjoy is our flexibility to operate in a fast pace environment and pass along the savings due to our low overhead structure.
CEOCFO: How do you work with a customer on a solution? What might be involved? Your site mentions sharing technical knowledge. How do you individualize your customer engagement?
Mr. Kutrubes: We excel by understanding the specific needs of each customer and situation. Every scenario is different, and our relationships are extremely important to us, we thrive to satisfy in this setting. Customers have needs with regards to grant spend as far as how to allocate funds, we are able to work with them to holding specific lots for lengths of time to insure their research has as little variation as possible.
With pride, we act as a link between the end user and the supply of products. We keep our communications lines open and honest. We share industry knowledge and trends to further assist our customers to make the best-informed decision.
It is easy for our customers or the specialists in procurement, to gain access to our products and understand from a higher level of compliance what they are really purchasing as well as trying to customize their needs to meet and exceed their research goals.
CEOCFO: What have you learned from client feedback that has made a change?
Mr. Kutrubes: We would not be successful without our customers and we are blessed to have made many friendships over the past ~5 years. We are grateful to all our clients (and potential clients) along with the opportunities that we are presented with each day.
Peak Serum is an aggressively evolving company, and feedback is always crucial. We want to be part of the innovation and new solutions to service the ever-changing needs of the industry. We give nothing but our best to ensure those needs can be customized to the best ability to better our connection with the research community.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us a little bit about your facilities? How do you provide a high level of quality?
Mr. Kutrubes: At Peak Serum, we receive an annual inspection for compliance by the United States Department of Agricultural, the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service. We securely store our products on site in a temperature validated and monitored freezer.
FBS has to be kept frozen at a specific temperature range to insure the quality of the product is intact. Therefore, we have very stringent operational procedures as well as quality manuals that essentially guide us through this process of regulator and product compliance.
We also do have several other audit certifications that allow us to export our product to the European Union as well as additional certifications for Taiwan. We pride ourselves with meeting all aspects of compliance and our ability to, again, from a regulatory standpoint, ensure that the product’s integrity is kept.
CEOCFO: What about the accessories you offer; your Peak products?
Mr. Kutrubes: In 2018 we launched a new division within Peak Serum called Peak Products. This is to complement most of our customers who utilize laboratory accessories and plastics with everyday use. Specifically, we are very passionate about introducing eco-friendly and sustainable items, such as the new biodegradable nitrile gloves and recyclable pipette tips.
This breakthrough innovation gave a rise to the world’s first fully biodegradable nitrile gloves composed of organic materials that essentially accelerate the biodegradation of nitrile into plant fertilizer.
It is very innovative and first of its kind technology. The benefits include 100% biodegradability within twelve months after use and disposal. The patented technology also decreases risks of allergies while maintaining high performance and protection that is comfortable to wear for the client.
CEOCFO: Are you reaching out for customers for your Peak Products separately from the fetal bovine serum?
Mr. Kutrubes: We are always seeking new opportunities to diversify and broaden our reach / new interests. We recently became active good standing members within a new organization called “Good Business Colorado Associations.” We are proud to be an advocating voice for the strong economy, communities and most importantly, conducting operations for a sustainable environment.
The great benefit about Peak Products is that we can support different market segments that differ from laboratory specific settings. For example, these settings include (but not limited) to breweries, distilleries, restaurants as well as other segments that also utilize nitrile gloves on a regular basis specifically.
For that, we are very excited to be able to branch out into different areas to offer our products at a cost savings while maintaining a high quality, but also to consciously be aware of our focus and our passion with introducing new sustainability efforts with innovative products that are eco-friendly.
CEOCFO: Is the technology applicable to other items? You have these biodegradable gloves, but where else might that technology work?
Mr. Kutrubes: That is to be determined. The technology is new, and we are authorized to distribute the product. I am optimistic the technology can be utilized to help from a sustainability standpoint, but in other avenues and product categories.
CEOCFO: What is Cares for Cures?
Mr. Kutrubes: Cares for Cures is an initiative and grant that I introduced in 2017 to further support the research efforts of the community. With this annual grant, Peak Serum awards a year donation of Fetal Bovine Serum (upwards of $10,000.00) to a laboratory which is carefully selected from a number of applicants.
The applicants that we select from are innovators within the research community that are generally seeking groundbreaking research to cure diseases worldwide for the better or humanity. Again, as we know, FBS is the single most expensive item that a lab must commit to purchase. It is truly my belief and responsibility to go the extra mile in supporting research that could change the world and give back to humanity. I am humbled and whole heartedly thankful for those who supported our organization, we are grateful to give back.
CEOCFO: What surprised you as Peak Serum has grown and evolved?
Mr. Kutrubes: The positive outpour of relationships that have been made and built upon since inception. We are fortunate to operate with a close core / team – it’s of the utmost importance to maintain internal and external relationships within our industry. When confronted with a decision, problem or question I prefer to take the approach of “Do the next right thing.” Managing our core beliefs and ethics and staying humble, consistent and honest, enables for a very positive, open and team environment to support our ideals and company vision.
CEOCFO: How is business?
Mr. Kutrubes: We are very fortunate to be in the position to see the positive outcomes from long hours, great sacrifices, family support and faith. This has contributed to the establishment of our success and optimistic trend. We are very grateful for all the opportunities that we have received and for the new relationships we have built over the years. Again, we are truly blessed for this opportunity to be in this position and we hope to always give back with regards to our community and various grants and charities and look forward to trying to continue that effort throughout.
CEOCFO: Why choose Peak Serum?
Mr. Kutrubes: We are a result driven and innovative company while being conscious of new technologies that can be utilized to displace dated methods.
We live in a global world and people really find comfort in routines and simplicity. What they can find unique about Peak Serum is our passion to provide innovative, educational and cost-effective new products that are more efficient, reliable and time saving.
Click HERE to view the Peak Serum page and interview via CEOCFO Magazine online.