University-Industry Engagement Week

Kansas State U is drawing big investments from big biotech

By David Schwartz
Published: March 7th, 2023

A newly announced drug development and manufacturing facility is just the latest indication that Manhattan, Kansas – anchored by Kansas State University — is becoming one of the country’s most active centers of biotech activity.

Scorpius Biomanufacturing, a biopharma contract development and manufacturing organization, has selected Manhattan as the location for its $650 million commercial-scale facility, reported David Rosowsky, vice president for research at Kansas State.

The first building of a three-building biomanufacturing campus will open next year, with the other two buildings constructed every 18 months until all three are complete. 

Scorpius selected Manhattan out of 23 possible locations, Rosowksy said noting that the Manhattan area is both the geographjc center of the U.S. and becoming “the center of this world in vaccine development and infectious disease.”

The state government, the governor’s office, the Kansas Department of Commerce and K-State put a package together to sell Manhattan to Scorpius, Rosowsky noted. “What we’re finding is that people are starting to discover that our research capabilities are actually quite sophisticated and in quite important areas, not just for the prosperity of Kansas, but for the security and health of our nation,” he said.

Rosowsky said Scorpious will create more than 400 new jobs paying close to $80,000 on average. 

“I think for Manhattan it provides an opportunity to grow our economy, to create new private-sector jobs and for us to be able to attract people back to the region who might have left or went to school here,” said Rebecca Robinson, K-State’s chief corporate engagement and economic development officer.

The Scorpius decision may also have been influenced by its existing agreement with K-State to collaborate with university researchers in drug discovery and vaccine evaluation, Rosowsky observed. And that’s good news for K-State students as well. “Obviously that has real implications for students engaging in research, whether they’re undergraduate students or they’re graduate students working in the laboratories,” he said. 

The existing agreement involves biomanufacturing training, curriculum development, and certificates and degree programs in which Scorpius helps to prepare graduates in sciences and engineering, Rosowsky said, which will also bring new opportunities for students in business, supply chain and logistics. 

Robinson said she hopes other big companies will see the unique competitive advantages Manhattan can provide.  “One thing that Scorpius does is shine a light on Manhattan and K-State as a partner in economic development and in a place where companies like this can be successful,” she stated.

Source: The Collegian

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week