Tech talk: Kapa Biosystems

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Decembrele_Chris_Color_Casual_From Chris Decembrele
Vice President
Suburban Brokerage
One of the benefits of our work in the dynamic New England tech sector is the opportunity to help so many firms create the perfect space to support their continued growth. I recently connected with John Foskett, a co-founder and technical director of Kapa Biosystems, to get his thoughts on their new U.S. headquarters at Ballardvale Office Park in Wilmington, Massachusetts.

Kapa Biosystems' new space Ballardvale Office Park in Wilmington, Mass.

Q What type of firm is Kapa Bio?
A Kapa Biosystems is a high growth, life science and genomics company with expertise in protein engineering, protein production, and applications development. Kapa employs a suite of high-throughput, directed evolution technologies for the discovery and optimization of novel enzymes for DNA amplification, next-generation sequencing, and molecular diagnostics. Kapa products are manufactured in-house, conform to internationally-acceptable standards of quality and are distributed worldwide.

Q Can you provide a brief history of your firm describing its evolution and growth?
A Kapa Biosystems was founded in 2006. We are a U.S. company headquartered in Boston with a research, development and manufacturing facility in Cape Town, South Africa. The first two years of the business was focused on technology development, employing primarily a small team of senior R&D scientists in our Cape Town facility. As the company began commercializing products from these early research efforts, we added direct sales, support and logistics functions to our Boston facility. From the original four founders, the global team has grown to over one hundred employees and we continue to hire across all functions of the business. The company has also expanded its initial market focus from PCR and qPCR to include molecular diagnostics and next-generation DNA and RNA sequencing.

Q How do you envision using your new space?
A Our new facility will accommodate both office and lab functions. While the majority of our research and development will continue in the Cape Town facility, we are excited about the opportunity to have scientific support and applications capabilities in the Wilmington office.

Q How do you foresee your new headquarters enhancing the culture of your company?
A One of the challenges of managing a rapidly growing business is accurately forecasting operational, functional and headcount requirements, and balancing these requirements with the timing of investment. Our U.S. headquarters was overdue for expansion and the move really helps to improve team morale and productivity. The move is also a physical reflection of every team member’s contributions to the growth and success of the business. Our new space was designed to be both a functional and fun environment and we ensured there was sufficient communal space to accommodate dining, lounge and game room. The open floor plan, high ceilings and natural light help to create a more exciting working environment and a better sense of community.

Q How will the space impact the productivity of your operation?
A In addition to the direct impact that a new space has on team morale (and the implications for productivity), operationally each function of the business now has dedicated space, designed with their specific workflow in mind. The open floor plan and glass walls also facilitate communication and collaboration across the teams.

Q What was your main motivation for your recent relocation?
A We needed to accommodate continued growth and improve productivity for the expanding functions of the business. We were looking for a unique space that could be designed with an open office layout and yet still handle multiple functions.

Q Does your space support collaborative space?
A The facility was designed to accommodate mixed use that includes office, logistics, shipping, receiving, and laboratory. The walls separating each functional space are half glass to create a sense of openness and continuity across the entire facility. The office space is open floor plan, without designated offices for individuals, to encourage informal discussions and interaction across teams. We also share a large common kitchen, dining and lounge area to facilitate community and collaboration throughout the day.

Q What’s your favorite thing about your new space?
A Natural light, laboratory and ping pong table.

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