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Kansas biotech strength

OLATHE, Kan.--With the state's selection as the best home in America for a $650 million research facility to protect the food supply and agriculture economy, Kansas has moved up to number nine on Business Facilities' Top 10 list of states in the nation for biotechnology strength.

The ranking follows the site selection magazine's "Defying the Downturn" edition in May, which reported that Kansas is "quickly emerging as a new biotech powerhouse."

Kansas Bioscience Authority president Tom Thornton said the ranking was another external validation of the state's strategy of investing in researchers and businesses in its areas of bioscience strength.

"We are the 32nd largest economy in the nation but have been ranked number nine for biotech strength," Thornton said. "This is happening because we are leveraging Kansas' unique expertise and infrastructure to address key national challenges in health care, energy, and biodefense."

In the last year, the KBA approved more than $177 million in new investments, bringing Kansas' total commitments to $227 million in just five years and helping to stimulate 1,130 jobs, $94 million in capital expenditures, $38 million in research funding, and $12 million in equity investments.

Kansas leaders cited the national ranking as further evidence of bioscience leading the state's economic recovery:

Gov. Mark Parkinson: "As other states pull back from innovation investments, Kansas is staying the course, seizing new opportunities, and vaulting into national leadership."

U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback: "Kansas is right in the heart of the country and right in the middle of the best minds in bioscience. Kansas is the future of agro and bio research with new facilities coming online. Kansas is a great place to live and work."

Senate President Steve Morris: "When the Kansas Legislature created the Kansas Bioscience Authority five years ago, we made a deliberate and significant investment in bioscience growth. We are very pleased such positive results have come this quickly and dramatically, exceeding our expectations and substantiating our actions."

House Speaker Mike O'Neal: "Innovation is integral to our 21st century economy, and Kansas has the talent, know-how, and resources to deliver innovative solutions to the world in areas such as safeguarding agriculture and developing cancer-fighting cures."

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