Kansas Bioscience Authority benefits from funding
Highlighting an ongoing commitment to use its unique bioscience strengths to address national challenges, Kansas made $40.1 million in new investments March 9 to expand cancer research and care and to develop innovative bioenergy solutions.
With the funding, the Kansas Bioscience Authority, which met in Washington, D.C., will advance the state's growing leadership in two key bioscience sectors and launch its first two centers of innovation to offer real-world solutions to the marketplace.
Drug discovery and delivery
Long known for its thriving clinical research organizations and nationally ranked pharmacy school at the University of Kansas, the state is now leveraging its drug discovery and delivery expertise to significantly expand cancer research and care as it pursues National Cancer Institute designation.
In support of this bioscience priority, the KBA approved $26.4 million for state-of-the-art cancer research space at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.; $250,000 for research to develop drug candidates that target the cells that start tumors and support tumor growth; $500,000 for an automated compound management system to facilitate national cancer research collaboration; and $5 million for the Kansas Bioscience Innovation Center in Drug Delivery.
The Kansas Bioscience Innovation Center in Drug Delivery is a collaboration of industry, the University of Kansas, and Kansas State University that will transform existing outstanding academic drug delivery capabilities into an integrated, high performance, world-class drug delivery organization.
This goal will be accomplished by overlaying the best practices of pharmaceutical project management on top of the outstanding academic drug development researchers and group centers. The center of innovation will facilitate go/no-go decisions as drugs or drug delivery systems move towards commercialization. Collaborators include the Kauffman Foundation, Medimmune, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, Elanco, and Bayer Animal Health.
Projected outcomes of the center of innovation include a $900 million economic impact over 10 years, 300 jobs, and hundreds of inventions, patents, and start-up companies.
On top of bioenergy investments totaling more than $2 million in recent months, the KBA March 9 approved $600,000 to support the research of the first Kansas Bioscience Rising Star, Dr. Krista Walton of Kansas State University, and $4.1 million for the Kansas Bioenergy and Biorefining Center of Innovation. The funding will enable the state to continue using its exceptional plant biology research to provide innovative bioenergy solutions to the nation.
With KBA assistance matching K-State funding, Dr. Walton will continue her work at the university in the design of adsorption systems for gas purification and storage. This expertise is vital to the development of bioenergy and biorefining, and Dr. Walton is the state's leading expert in the field, in addition to being one of the nation's most highly acclaimed young engineering faculty members.
The Kansas Bioenergy and Biorefining Center of Innovation is uniting key industry players such as Archer Daniels Midland with the world-class research and development efforts at the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. The center of innovation will use commercial biorefining to develop alternative fuels and chemicals, commercialize efficient biomass resources for cost-effective quality power, and improve carbon capture.
As with other KBA centers of innovation, the focus of this center is commercial viability, which requires the confluence of economic viability with technical feasibility and marketplace acceptance. Projected outcomes include three biorefineries and $600 million in sales of cellulosic ethanol over five years. Beyond five years, Kansas could add 1,800 direct jobs, 3,600 indirect jobs, direct revenue of $3.6 billion, and extra income of $30,000 per harvest per farm.
Also today, the KBA awarded $3.25 million over three years in matching funds for a Lawrence-Douglas County Bioscience Authority wet lab incubator at the University of Kansas. The incubator will facilitate the growth of the bioscience industry in Douglas County and supplement other existing or proposed incubators in the Kansas City metro region. The facility's location will allow it to attract customers who seek close proximity to KU, and the community and university will invest $4 million in the project.