A bill in the Kansas legislature if passed would dissolve the Kansas Bioscience Authority, which has recently served as a venture capital organization investing in early-stage bioscience firms.
The measure — SB 305 — would shut down the organization and transfer its funds and obligations to the Kansas Department of Commence.
Proponents of the KBA say that the dissolution of the KBA aims to help fill a projected $406 million shortfall in the Kansas budget. The bill’s sole supporter, Steven Anderson, a lobbyist for the Kansas Policy Institute and formerly Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director, said the KBA’s mission is better served by the private sector, according to the Wichita Eagle.
Founded in 2004, the KBA invests in animal and human health, agribusiness and life sciences. It’s invested in such companies as Flow Forward, Metactive, Aratana and Innara Health.
KBA chief executive Duane Cantrell said the current value of KBA assets held in startup investments is $32 million to $34 million, according to the Kansas City Star. Cantrell reportedly testified to the Legislature that his organization has nabbed back assets worth $19 million through portfolio companies’ initial public offerings or exits.
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