Overland Park Kansas Bioscience Authority, the body charged with boosting the state's bioscience industry, is rounding a corner and advancing in its investment phase.
"We're probably at the point in time where we're starting to make commitments," Tracy Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp., said Thursday at the authority's quarterly meeting.
The authority is an outgrowth of the 2004 Kansas Economic Growth Act, which provides that growth in tax dollars from the state's biotechnology efforts will be reinvested in the life sciences. The life sciences include biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies and other fields. The board currently uses Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp. as its administrative staff.
The authority board - comprised of politicians, business leaders, university administrators and others - is tackling a long list of initiatives.
It's pursuing development of a bioenterprise organization, modeled after the BioEnterprise Corp. in Cleveland, to help lure venture capital to the state. The board agreed to continue looking at the model. At an upcoming meeting, the board expects to have detailed information, including a proposed budget, of how the model could work in Kansas.
On Thursday, the board approved spending $100,000 to help boost the state's presence at the upcoming BIO 2006, an annual international convention. Authority members hope a beefed-up presence there will show others that the state is serious about its bioscience goals.
Authority Chairman Clay Blair also suggested the board explore two incentive programs. One would distribute five $20,000 grants annually to the state's top academic entrepreneurs. The other would give communities incentives for supporting bioscience infrastructure, such as wet lab incubator space for conducting research.
Blair also said he expects an upcoming announcement from the authority about a business attracted to the area.