Big biotech meets the Little Apple


Scorpius Biomanufacturing, a biopharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization, chose Manhattan as the location for its $650 million commercial-scale facility, David Rosowsky, vice president for research at Kansas State University, said.

The biomanufacturing campus will consist of three buildings and be located east of town, right across the line into Pottawatomie County, Rososkwy said. The first building is planned to open by 2024 with buildings constructed every 18 months until all three are complete. 

Scorpius selected Manhattan out of 23 possible locations, Rosowksy said.

 “We were becoming sort of the center,” Rosowsky said. “Not just the geographic center of the country, but the center of this world in vaccine development and infectious disease.”

The state government, the governor’s office, the Kansas Department of Commerce and K-State put a package together to sell Manhattan to Scorpius, Rosowsky said.

“What we’re finding is that people are starting to discover that our research capabilities are actually quite sophisticated and in quite important areas, not just the prosperity of Kansas, but for the security and health of our nation,” Rosowsky said.

 Rosowsky said the people of Manhattan were another factor Scorpius resonated with.

“They just found Kansans to be really welcoming people that were hardworking,” Rosowsky said. “You know what, Kansans, they work hard. They commit themselves. They seek out education and they want to contribute to the betterment of their communities and their state.”

Rosowsky said Scorpious will create more than 400 new jobs, and these jobs pay close to $80,000 on average. 

“I think for Manhattan it provides an opportunity to grow our economy, to create new private-sector jobs and for us to be able to attract people back to the region who might have left or went to school here,” Rebecca Robinson, chief corporate engagement and economic development officer at K-State, said.

Scorpius has an agreement with K-State to allow their researchers to collaborate in drug discovery and vaccine evaluation, Rosowsky said.

“Obviously that has real implications for students engaging in research, whether they’re undergraduate students or they’re graduate students working in the laboratories,” Rosowsky said. 

The agreement in place is to create biomanufacturing training, education curriculum, certificates and degree programs with Scorpius to prepare graduates in sciences and engineering, Rosowsky said.

Rita Woster, sophomore in biological systems engineering, said she is excited to see Scorpius’ involvement with students.

“I think it increases my interest, specifically if it has to do with master’s programs,” Woster said. “I think that it’s a lot easier for students to want to stay in Manhattan if there’s gonna be a really good career opportunity for them.”

Rosowsky said Scorpius will also bring new educational opportunities for students in business, supply chain and logistics. 

“Scorpius is great for engineering, but frankly, it’s also great for our students in the life sciences over in Arts and Sciences,” Rosowsky said. “There’s going to be new opportunities for our students.”

Robinson said she wants other big companies to see the unique competitive advantages Manhattan can provide. 

“I hope that Scorpius is really successful here,” Robinson said. “One thing that Scorpius does is shine a light on Manhattan and K-State as a partner in economic development and in a place where companies like this can be successful.”