The Kansas City region of the US is highlighting its strengths in contract research and related services through BioResearch Central, a new collaborative network of more than 90 service providers stretching from central Kansas through to central Missouri.

The initiative was launched by the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA), set up in 2004 to expand the US state’s research capacity and bioscience clusters, support the growth of bioscience start-ups and stimulate bioscience business opportunities.

Further support for BioResearch Central comes from the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, the Kansas City Area Development Council, Kansas BIO, MOBIO, Missouri Technology Corp., the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, local economic development organisations and associated CROs.

According to BioResearch Central, the network represents one of the 15th largest concentrations of contract research organisations (CROs) in the United States.

Concerted effort

The initiative, it says, is a “concerted effort by the contract research community in Greater Kansas City to come together to help the pharmaceutical and medical device industries accelerate their pipelines and improve their process for the development of treatments and therapies that will positively impact global health”.

The Kansas City area offers “a diverse network of CROs and service providers in one central location who generate an estimated US$1 billion in revenue every year and employ more than 9,000 people”, noted Tom Krol, director of commercialisation for the KBA. “We expect BioResearch Central will facilitate continued growth for this important sector.”

A recent KBA-commissioned study by Tufts University found “tremendous breadth and depth of expertise” among the region’s CROs and related service providers, covering the range from discovery, formulation and toxicology to bioanalytics, clinical trials, regulatory services and commercial support, the Authority pointed out.  

In recent years, it added the 16 largest global pharmaceutical companies have enlisted BioResearch Central members for contract research services, while network companies have contributed to the development of more than 60 products currently used to treat patients for a variety of conditions.

Kansas City life sciences

Overall, there are 200 life science companies operating in the Greater Kansas City region and employing more than 20,000 people. Public and private research spending in the area exceeds US$1.8 billion per year.

The Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area accounts for the highest concentration of companies in the BioResearch Central network