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Archive for Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kansas Bioscience Authority sees 45 percent revenue drop

October 29, 2013

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— The Kansas Bioscience Authority has seen a 45 percent drop in total revenue compared with 2012, with most of the loss coming from a decrease in state funding.

The KBA's board of directors met today to discuss the KBA's latest financial report and other items. The report showed a decrease in state support of nearly $11 million, from $14 million in the 2012 fiscal year to $3.2 million transferred in 2013.

That has left total revenues for the KBA at about $8 million, down from $14.5 million in 2012. Expenses have decreased slightly, from $3.3 million at this time last year to $2.8 million in 2013, but that still leaves revenues after expenses less than half of what they were in 2012.

The KBA is a state-funded business accelerator that invests in ventures related to animal and human health, agriculture and bio-energy. It was created in 2004 with the aim of expanding the state's presence in the bioscience industry. Since then it has invested $272 million in 90 companies and institutions.

KBA funding has been capped by the state at $35 million annually, though the state government determines how much is actually allocated each year. KBA Chief Financial Officer Kevin Lockett said each year the organization assumes it will receive the maximum funding from the state unless told otherwise.

"We are always sort of in limbo, waiting to see what it is we're going to receive," Lockett said. With lower funding, "We have to do a good job of managing the cash flow and making good decisions on what investments we can and cannot make," he said.

Some of the state funds, provided by state income taxes and authorized through the Kansas Emerging Industry Investment Act passed in 2004, have been diverted to other state organizations. That includes money to create the Midwestern Stem Cell Therapy Center at the Kansas University Medical Center.

In April Gov. Sam Brownback signed a law establishing the center, which would focus on adult stem cell research and treatments and prohibit research on embryonic stem cells, at an initial cost of $1.1 million and $750,000 annually to maintain it thereafter. Although the center was supported by conservative and religious groups, KU did not request the money or the center.

At today's meeting the board also moved to accept recommendations outlined in its most recent yearly audit report. The report, carried out by Wichita-based Allen, Gibbs and Houlik, will be made public in the coming weeks.

In addition, the board directed KBA staff to continue discussions with a potential investment partner. Details on the possible partner were discussed in closed-door sessions and were not available to the public.

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