At Horizon 2021, we announced Biologics as a next sector strategy for KC Rising. A next sector is an emerging industry for the KC region and has growth potential in global markets. To identify where the puck is going and how to position KC to lead in this sector, the Traded Sector Driving Committee (TSDC) reviewed metrics and connected with business leaders to review opportunity (job quality), talent, and innovation within the biologics sector. The selection criteria include: 

  • Ensuring KC has a distinctive and competitive advantage
  • The sector isn’t tied to traditional industry codes, but likely a cross-sector
  • Looking at global trendlines around the future of the sector A rallying cry that positions KC for a strong, inclusive economic recovery 
  • Helps to move the Horizon Goals 

Sonia Hall, president & CEO of BioKansas, served on the TSDC and offers the following insight into the emerging Biologics opportunity in KC:  Contract Research Organizations (CROs) have become an increasingly significant component in the development of new pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical devices in the life sciences industry. Large pharmaceutical companies started reducing their internal R&D capacity in the late 1990s and increasingly rely on the basic research services, clinical trials capabilities and regulatory science expertise of CROs.  

KC is home to more than 90 CROs that serve U.S. and international companies, generating regional revenue in excess of $1 billion per year. Their presence here is due in large part to Marion Laboratories, founded by Ewing Kauffman. As a result of its growth and multiple acquisitions and mergers, many former Marion employees stayed in KC to start their own CROs – making the region a prime location to support the broader pharma industry. 

To compete in the biologics sector, regions need to have strong research and development efforts in both animal and human health. Kansas City’s exceptional collection of specialized contract research organization enable us to maximize the volume of R&D activity needed to advance the sector. 

Biologics provide novel, personalized, alternative and directed therapies to treat disease. Within human and animal health, these novel products include vaccines, blood and blood components, gene therapies, recombinant proteins and more.  

Biologics are the cutting-edge of biomedical and animal health research, often building upon our fundamental understanding of genetics and cell biology and applying the most recent biological and technical advancements. Biologically based drugs and therapeutics, such as Humira, Lantus, Enbrel, and Avastin, now dominate health care product growth. The growth of biologics has been rapid and will be sustained.  

The Kansas City region is well poised to build upon its existing strengths and the opportunities to capitalize on the increasing worldwide growth of the biologics industry. 

Additionally, growth and sustainability of the biologics sector requires that a region house numerous transport, warehouse and IT assets, that taken together, provide optimum solutions for the logistics, storage and transportation of biologics products.  

Rounding out our region’s competitive profile is our competitive advantages in manufacturing and specialized expertise in design and engineering of facilities engaged in biologics related R&D and manufacturing. 

Given the assets that exist in KC, our region is well positioned to meet the growing needs of the biologics industry with extensive global demand.