A $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced Friday, will help Kansas University Medical Center bring more biomedical startup companies to the Kansas City area.
The new $6.25 million wet-lab small business incubator that the grant makes possible is expected to help create 300 jobs and perhaps $44 million in private investment, according to the Economic Development Administration of the commerce department.
"The university will benefit, but the region will benefit more," said Paul Terranova, KUMC vice chancellor for research and president of the KUMC Research Institute. "When a company moves in, if they're successful, they bring in more capital and people until they graduate out of the incubator. Then they build a new headquarters building in Kansas."
Terranova said KU would seek funding from the Kansas Bioscience Authority as well as use internal funding to complete the project. An architect for the project has been selected and the new wet-lab space should be completed between two and two-and-a-half years.
In addition to laboratory space for research, the new incubator will have room for office and other ancillary space for a developing company. It will augment an existing 6,000-square-foot wet-lab incubator on the medical center campus. The existing space is not nearly sufficient for the number of companies that are looking for space.
"A consultant came into the area and determined KU Med Center was the best place for this incubator, and that there was a need for this type of incubator in the area," Terranova said.
The new incubator will include about 40,000 square feet and will be built in a building on the medical center campus that is currently vacant. Terranova said that the building needed to be almost completely gutted and remodeled - including new windows, a new roof, new elevators and new utility infrastructure to service modern laboratory needs.
"I don't think we'll take it down to four walls and a ceiling and floor, but it will be a state-of-the-art environment when we're done," he said.