Kansas Bioscience Authority approves $1.8 million in investments, loans

? A Kansas Bioscience Authority committee Monday approved about $1.8 million in investments and loans for three companies, including manufacturers of biodegradable plastics and medicine capsules for livestock.

The biggest investment approved by the KBA’s executive committee was a $750,000 purchase of shares in Green Dot Holdings, a plastics manufacturer in Cottonwood Falls. The purchase gives KBA a 3.6 percent stake in the company.

Green Dot, incorporated in 2009, specializes in bioplastics — plastics made with biodegradable and compostable resins. The company’s environmentally friendly plastics are flexible and not hard, which differs from most bioplastic manufacturers, said Tony Simpson, a director of commercialization for the KBA.

The company is seeking investments to increase sales and expand its line of manufactured products, Simpson said. Among other things, the company makes a compostable iPhone case.

The KBA had awarded Green Dot a $140,000 proof-of-concept investment in 2011.

The KBA board also approved a $700,000 loan to SmartVet USA Inc., a company based next door to the KBA’s headquarters at the Kansas State University Olathe campus.

SmartVet, a division of an Australian company, plans to use the loan to open a manufacturing facility in the Kansas City area. The facility will encapsulate pesticides and anti-parasite medication for cattle. The company will move that work to Kansas from overseas, where a third party currently handles production.

The KBA projects the new SmartVet facility to create 51 jobs in the state by 2016, with an average wage and benefits of about $64,000. The KBA will require SmartVet to put matching funds into the new facility, and SmartVet is to repay the loan via royalties on the capsules produced in the new plant.

The third move approved Monday was an investment in a company whose identity was kept secret for now at its request, KBA staff said. The staff referred to the group as “Project X” and said the investment, a stock purchase, would be about $300,000. The percentage of the company’s stock that KBA will own was not revealed.

Simpson said the identity of the company would be revealed publicly soon.

The stock purchases and loan were approved after the KBA adopted a new investment strategy this spring that focuses more on making investments that will provide returns rather than awarding grants.