2012 Census Provides Snap-shot of Region’s Growing Life Science Industry
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Region sees growth in total number of companies and employment

For Release January 31, 2013

Kansas City, MO. – Despite economic turmoil the past three years, the hub of life sciences in the Kansas City region continues to grow and reveals a changing landscape. According to the 2012 Life Sciences Industry Census released Jan. 31 from the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute (KCALSI) the number life science companies in the region grew 17 percent since 2009.  The increase in companies was accompanied by an increase of 21 percent in employment in the life sciences sector. When asked about future hiring trends, almost 90 percent of respondents indicated plans to add employees over the next 36 months.

“National statistics indicated that the biotechnology sector weathered the Great Recession very well,” said Dr. Keith Gary, KCALSI director of program development.  “It’s great to see that trend validated in our region.”

In 2009 the Kansas City region was home to 206 life science companies in 24 counties. Since then that number has grown to 240 companies in the same area. Fifty eight percent are located in Kansas and 42 percent in Missouri. The majority of life sciences companies are concentrated in the immediate Kansas City metropolitan area, with 62 percent of them in Jackson or Johnson County. 

The most significant cluster of animal health company employers is located in the St. Joseph, MO, area. Columbia, MO, is home to 13 percent of the total life sciences companies and has seen a net growth of 12 companies in the past three years.

Small medical device companies have seen the largest relative increase in terms of industry subsector and have grown 28 percent since 2009, totaling 53 companies in 2012. 

The market segment of companies in the biotechnology research and testing, and drugs and pharmaceuticals categories dropped seven percent since 2009. Despite the decline, the net number of firms in these subsectors has increased and combined they account for more than half of the total employment in life sciences. Nine of these companies employ more than 50 percent of the segment’s workers: Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., Cerner Corp., Clinical Reference Labs Inc., Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc., MRIGlobal, Quest Diagnostics Inc., Quintiles, and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research.

The ratio of companies focused on human health (69%) versus animal health (24%) has remained largely unchanged, with the numbers of companies in each area changing only by a few percentage points. Plant and crop science focused companies make up the smallest portion of the total regional life sciences company portfolio with seven percent.

“Another significant sector within the life science companies is known as contract research organizations (CROs) and like the branding of the Animal Health Corridor, this sector was branded BioResearch Central in 2012.  This sector contains over 90 companies, employs over 9000 people and generates over $1Billion to the regional economy. These companies are fulfilling the outsourcing demands of biopharma and device companies from around the world,” said Dr. Wayne Carter, President and CEO of KCALSI.

Innovative research in the area continues to blossom and provides a significant pipeline of new technologies and potential therapies for commercialization. The region contains 117 university research centers and 17 hospitals and medical centers that conduct clinical trials to advance research. The recently announced National Cancer Institute designation for the University of Kansas Cancer Center will enhance the region’s overall research capabilities.

“The value of performing this study every three years cannot be overstated, as it allows us to track and share the growth of the life sciences in the region,” said Gary.              

About the Life Sciences Industry Census: 

This is the fourth Life Sciences Industry Census that KCALSI has released since 2003. The goal of the data is to better define the scope of economic activity in the growing life sciences sector spanning from Manhattan, KS, to Columbia, MO. Companies studied must be engaged in research and development or directly support research and development activities. The census defines life sciences as any research activities related to the biology and/or chemistry of animals, humans or plants. KCALSI partners with Investment Resources to conduct the census project every three years.

The goal of the current census is to:

  • Update the previous census of life science companies completed in 2009. 
  • Provide an understanding of industry growth and expansion in the last three years.
  • Identify employment and research trends in the region’s companies.
  • Provide a resource that presents an updated snap-shot of the region for policymakers, economic and workforce development professionals, educators, scientists, and companies.

For a complete copy of the survey please visit: http://kclifesciences.org/news/industry-census/ 


KCALSI’s vision is to lead the transformation of the Kansas City region into a nationally-recognized center of excellence in life science research, development and commercialization. KCALSI holds the promise of a healthy future for the region through scientific research, next generation medicine, economic development, improved quality of life, enhanced education and new job opportunities. 

More info: www.kclifescienes.org

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