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Kansas recognized for biotech strength


Kansas has taken a "major leap forward" in the last year, zooming up to No. 5 on Business Facilities' Top 10 list of states in the nation for biotechnology strength, according to the site selection magazine's annual rankings report released recently and highlighted at the Kansas Bioscience Authority's annual meeting.

According to Business Facilities editor-in-chief Jack Rogers, Kansas' upward movement was "one of the most significant improvements measured" this year.

"Biotechnology strength is one of our most important and fiercely competitive rankings categories," Rogers said. "Kansas clearly has shown that it is a biotech force to be reckoned with, and it has staked a claim to a leadership position for years to come."

Rogers noted the KBA's role in Kansas' success as well: "Kansas has an impressive and expanding program, spearheaded by the Kansas Bioscience Authority, that brings together industry, higher education and government in a coordinated, targeted effort."

Also at the KBA's annual meeting, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service announced its selection of the KBA as one of only nine partners nationally for an exciting program designed to boost economic growth by spinning technologies out of federal labs and into the commercial marketplace.

The agreement will build on a groundswell of bioscience innovation by partnering members of Kansas' entrepreneurial community and higher-education institutions with ARS scientists conducting world-class research at more than 100 locations nationwide.

As part of ARS' Agricultural Technology Innovation Partnership network, the KBA will serve as a portal for moving federal research outcomes to the private sector. Strong economic impact is expected as the KBA and ARS work to protect the food supply and agricultural economy and bring bioenergy solutions to the marketplace.

Kansas Bioscience Authority President Tom Thornton said both the No. 5 national ranking and the KBA's selection for the USDA commercialization program were clear proof that the authority's strategy of focusing on key national bioscience challenges was working.

"I couldn't be prouder of how far we have come in just a few years. Bioscience researchers and businesses in Kansas are achieving amazing outcomes, and it's creating a strong magnetic affect nationally in our state's focused areas of bioscience success," Thornton said.

For example, in the area of human health, Thornton noted that Kansas ranked #1 in the nation for its increase in funding from the National Institutes of Health, jumping 37 percent from fiscal year 2004 to fiscal year 2009.

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