The leader of a highly-praised technology and bioscience incubator on Kansas University’s West Campus is leaving his post to take a leadership role with a local high-tech company.
Officials with the Bioscience & Technology Business Center at Kansas University confirmed Matt McClorey, director and CEO of the center, is leaving to take another job.
“Matt has been a tremendous asset for the entire city for many years,” said City Commissioner Mike Dever, who also serves on the Lawrence-Douglas County Bioscience Authority. “He’ll be missed from an energy standpoint and a business-savvy standpoint.”
McClorey on Friday afternoon said an announcement on his new position still was being finalized by the company, but he said leaving the center was difficult.
“It was a difficult decision because there are so many good things happening with the BTBC, and so much more that can happen out there,” McClorey said. “We’re really starting to build some momentum in the technology sector of the economy, and I’m confident that will continue.”
McClorey has helped raise more than $180 million in capital for area start-up firms since joining the Lawrence Regional Technology Center — the predecessor of the BTBC — in 2002.
“I’m sad we’re losing Matt, but very pleased we’re keeping him in the community,” said Douglas County Commissioner Jim Flory, who also serves on the local bioscience authority board.
McClorey was instrumental in raising money and guiding the operations of the Bioscience & Technology Business Center, which provides laboratory and office space to start up firms in a new 21,000 square foot building across the street from KU’s pharmacy school.
The center, along with three satellite locations, has attracted nearly 20 new technology and bioscience business, and was completely full after 16 months — nearly four times faster than leaders had projected.
The center has attracted several drug-development start-up companies but also has attracted large companies, including Garmin, ADM and insurance giant Assurant Employee Benefits, which are seeking to tap talent and research at KU.
McClorey has been leading an effort to garner approximately $10 million in funding for a 31,000 square-foot expansion of the West Campus center.
Both Flory and Dever said they did not think McClorey’s departure would slow those efforts. LaVerne Epp, executive chair of the Bioscience & Technology Business Center remains on the job and has been actively involved in the expansion plans.
“I don’t think this will delay us,” Epp said. “Many of those plans are well on their way to being in place.”
Both the city of Lawrence and Douglas County have committed $1 million to help finance the expansion of the center at 2029 Becker Drive. McClorey had been in discussions with various KU entities, private investors and other parties to secure the remaining funding.
Epp said he hopes to have the capital plan for the expansion finalized in the next two weeks to 30 days.
McClorey is expected to remain with the center for several weeks to help facilitate a smooth transition, Epp said.
The Lawrence-Douglas County Bioscience Authority is expected to meet Monday to discuss plans for a search to replace McClorey.
“I think the loss of Matt will have less of a severe impact now that we have this center up and running,” Dever said. “With what we have built here, this job is really a great opportunity.”