Kansas Reaches Deal to Build $650 Million, 500 Job Biomanufacturing Facility

MANHATTAN — Governor Laura Kelly spearheaded Monday’s announcement of an agreement to build a $650 million, 500-employee manufacturing facility supporting vaccine development to counter global biological threats.

The 500,000 square foot Scorpion Biological Services facility near Kansas State University and the National Biodefense and Agrodefense Installation represented a significant expansion of biopharmaceutical operations through the parent company Heat Biologics of Morrisville, North Carolina. Manhattan and Kansas State beat the other leading bidder for the commercial plant – Iowa City and the University of Iowa.

“There is strong demand for world-class biomanufacturing, which we believe will continue into the future,” said David Halverson, president of Scorpion Biological. “Powered by a great Kansas workforce, we look forward to seeing Scorpion grow and expand rapidly.”

Scorpion Biological, based in San Antonio, Texas, is expected to increase the number of jobs at the Manhattan plant to 500 within seven years. The company is completing construction of a small, clinical-scale biologics manufacturing facility in San Antonio.

Kelly, who has touted its record of economic development, said the Scorpion Biological Project is a “groundbreaking facility that will have a massive positive impact on our state.”

“Being in the center of the country with quick access to either coast, there is no better state for Scorpion to locate in order to address potential public health threats,” said the governor.

Scorpion Biological supports drug development from concept through clinical trials and commercial production with the goal of bringing products to market faster and more reliably. Scorpion Biological is focused on expanding the reach of precision medicine for incurable or treatment-resistant conditions.

The Kansas Department of Commerce said Scorpion Biological qualified for a set of state economic development incentives used to attract large employers to the state.

“It is absolutely essential that we as a nation increase our domestic production capacity for these types of vaccines and we are extremely proud to see this work happening here in Kansas,” said David Toland, Secretary of the Department of Commerce. and the state. lieutenant governor.

The project was a partnership with K-State, Kansas State University Innovation Partners, City of Manhattan, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Pottawatomie County and County Economic Development Branch, Manhattan Area Technical College, and several private companies .

The combination of a public research university and private sector partners was important to the site selection decision, officials said.

“This facility represents the next step in our evolution, allowing us to combine speed and agility with the full integration of discovery, development and manufacturing,” said Jeff Wolf, Founder and CEO of Heat Biologics.

Wolf also founded Seed-One Ventures, a company focused on forming and managing new biomedical ventures; co-founder of Avigen, a NASDAQ-listed gene therapy company; co-founder of TyRx Pharma, specializing in the development of biocompatible polymers; and co-founder of EluSys Therapeutics, a biodefense company focusing on a medical countermeasure to anthrax exposure after a natural incident or intentional attack.

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