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2018 Bioscience & Innovation Day Recap

Posted By BioKansas, Thursday, February 8, 2018

Last week, BioKansas and the Enterprise Center of Johnson County led a sizable delegation to Topeka for Bioscience & Innovation Day at the Capitol.  The day featured small group meetings with legislators throughout the morning, a legislator lunch featuring talks from the ECJC, JCB Laboratories and KCAS Bioanalytical & Biomarker Services, and a short debrief session where attendees discussed takeaways and action items. 

BioKansas would like to thank Shahira Stafford and Ron Seeber of the Kansas Agribusiness Retailer's Association for their help in coordinating the day's schedule, as well as Merck Animal Health and the ECJC, who helped to sponsor the Welcom Breakfast and Legislator Lunch, respectively.  We also must acknowledge Melissa Roberts of the ECJC, who was key to the success in organizing and marketing the event.  With her help, we were able to assemble an impressively large (more than 50 strong!) and diverse delegation who collectively educated legislators on the need for resources and continued support for innovators and innovative tech and life science companies in the state.  Melissa has written up a great summary of the messaging we heard that day, which is included below. 

Going forward, BioKansas will continue to engage with the legislature throughout the remainder of the session, and we will be in contact with our membership for additional follow up opportunities and/or when the need arises.  If you are interested in joining the BioKansas Public Policy Committee, please let us know.  The committee is integral in helping guide the organization’s positions on legislation and policy, and meets once a month while the legislature is in session. 

 

From:
Melissa Roberts
Vice President, Strategy & Economic Development
Enterprise Center in Johnson County
913-449-5307

This was the first time that we’ve collaborated with BioKansas on an event like this—it was a resounding success and collaboration strengthened both our messages. I’ve attached the leave-behind we used so that you can see what issues we promoted. We had almost 50 innovators in Topeka yesterday, meeting and greeting members of the legislature and speaking to a group over the lunch hour. In the morning, we were joined by Majority Leader Don Hineman, who shared his thoughts with us. Then, we broke out into small groups and met with 38 members of the legislature.

Here are some of the messages that came across loud and clear:                             

  1. The focus of the legislature right now is on the K-12 funding formula, which has large-scale implications on the state budget for years to come. There’s very little ability to talk about additional appropriations or workforce development issues until the next budget cycle, which will be the 2019 session (for FY20).
  2. There is a broad sense of optimism that the state is nearing the end of our financial crisis and that the legislature will be able to “get back to governing” again towards the end of the session. Many in leadership agreed that this is a great time to begin the conversation about what future appropriations to support this community could look like, and expressed an interest in being involved in that process.
  3. We were able to identify some legislative advocates who will be part of future efforts to include innovation and entrepreneurship funding priorities in the FY20 budget, many of whom have expressed interest in participating in an Innovation Caucus. We are working to organize a future meeting now, and I’ll keep you in the loop as that effort progresses.
  4. All legislators who were in office two years ago immediately recognized Angel Tax Credits as the policy that they had last heard from this community about. They were all quick to bring that up, which is a great indicator that our messaging has made an impact in the past.
  5. All legislators we talked to recognized that Commerce is desperately underfunded, and that resource crunch is impacting incentives like the Angel Investment Tax Credit. We will continue to stay in close contact with Commerce to understand how we can best help  them communicate changes in the implementation of this credit to entrepreneurs and investors.

Please feel free to get in touch with any questions, thoughts or suggestions for next year!

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Advocacy  Education  Entrepreneurship  Workforce Development 

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K-INBRE & BioKansas - Supporting regional research collaboration

Posted By BioKansas, Thursday, January 11, 2018

This weekend kicks off the start of the research competition season in Kansas – on Saturday, nearly 350 undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers from across the region will gather at the Sheraton in Overland Park, Kansas, for the Annual Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Symposium.  K-INBRE is a federally funded program designed to strengthen our region’s pipeline of scientists and researchers by promoting the development, coordination and sharing of research resources and expertise.  In layman’s terms, it means there is going to be a gaggle of amazingly brilliant students and professors gathered to talk about the amazing research they’re doing here in Kansas, and the resources and expertise that is available for collaboration. 

Students researchers from 10 regional universities will be on hand at the Symposium on Saturday, and will provide two minute summaries of their research to judges throughout the afternoon poster session. Judges will be looking to identify the students with the best project, poster and presentation.  As an organization that strives to bridge the gap between industry and education, BioKansas is proud to support K-INBRE by providing industry STEM professionals to help judge and by providing funds for the winning students.  We also mix things up a bit by adding an additional component to the scoring rubric: commercialization.  We will also be looking for the best and brightest researchers the K-INBRE schools have to offer, but, in addition, we are also looking for those students who have taken the next step in the research process.  Students who have an eye toward the business of science, and are working to solve a problem or generate a product.  For these students, the projects weren’t just about understanding how things work (though that type of research IS important), but about leveraging that understanding to innovate and create something that can change the world.

We’ve seen some amazingly talented students grow up right here in our own backyards. From developing a new method of diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease using simple facial recognition software to creating new ways to prevent infections in joint replacements, Kansas can claim its stake at the forefront of innovation.  Registration is closed for K-INBRE this weekend, but we invite you to attend future research competitions, including others that we support such as the Capitol Graduate Research Summit, the Kansas Science & Engineering Fair and the Greater Kansas City Science & Engineering Fair, to catch a glimpse of the future of biotech and to see for yourself the incredible students and researchers being trained in Kansas and the surrounding region.

Tags:  BioGENEius  Connect  Education  Entrepreneurship  Training 

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The Importance of the Graduate Student Tax Waiver

Posted By Dennis Ridenour, President & CEO, Wednesday, December 13, 2017

By now, you're likely aware of the tax bill that is wending its way through Congress.  One change our members have identified that could have a major impact on both educational access and workforce/talent development is the elimination of the graduate student tax waiver.  Please see below to read our recent outreach to Kansas legislators, asking them to keep this crucial provision in any tax legislation that moves forward.  

Dear Kansas Representative/Senator:
As a representative of the life science and healthcare industries in the state of Kansas, and on behalf of the nearly 27,000 students who attend graduate school in the state of Kansas, I’m writing to ask that Congress not consider graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income.  As you know, in addition to a small stipend to help cover living expenses, graduate students in STEM fields (science, tech, engineering and math) often have their tuition waived in exchange for having the student teach, or perform research for the school.  Currently, this waived tuition is not taxed as income.  However, a provision in the recently approved House bill would change that, adding the amount of waived tuition to the student's taxable income.  If passed, this will have a profound impact on the ability of students to earn advanced degrees, and, subsequently, the talent pipeline that feeds into the industries these students hope to work in.  
As an M.S. degree holder, I can speak firsthand to the benefit this tuition waiver provides for graduate students, who already exist on a relatively meager stipend and who shouldn’t have to worry about finding enough money to cover taxes on money that they won’t actually see.  If this waiver is eliminated, we could see a drastic decrease in the number of students who are able to afford graduate school at Kansas institutions such as the University of Kansas, Wichita State, Kansas State, Emporia State, Pitt State, Fort Hays State and the University of Kansas Medical Center.  This could cause a profound decrease in the qualified talent available to the life science, healthcare and biotech industries across the country and in Kansas.  
During the reconciliation process, please ask your House/Senate colleagues who are Conferees to remove this clause of the tax bill, and continue to support education, and access to it, for students in Kansas and across the country.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if BioKansas can help provide more information or connections to students who would be directly impacted.  
Thank you for your time, and I hope we can count on your support.
Sincerely,

Dennis Ridenour
President & CEO, BioKansas

 

Tags:  Advocacy  Education  Workforce Development 

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The Intersection of Liabilities for Digital Health Companies

Posted By Travis Holt, Partner at Brush Creek Partners, Thursday, October 19, 2017

Are you providing a technology platform to improve the way physicians communicate with their patients? Does your website help employees better use their health insurance plan? Does your software analyze post surgical patient data and provide information to reduce the incidents of infection? If so, you’re one of many companies who may be wondering what type of exposure you have to professional liability claims related to a failure of your technology.

Let’s get one thing out of the way quickly, you should assume your general liability policy will provide no coverage for a technology failure or cyber incident. While general liability is intended to cover bodily injury, almost all general liability policies have professional liability and cyber liability exclusions. A failure of your technology is going to be considered a professional or cyber exposure, thus falling into one of those common exclusions.

To better understand your professional liability exposure, you should first ask yourself.....READ THE ENTIRE ORIGINAL BLOG POST FROM BRUSH CREEK PARTNERS

Want to talk with Travis and other experts about cybersecurity and the liabilities of digital health companies?  Join us next week for breakfast on October 26th for the next installment of our Digital Health Business Series.  

Tags:  Cybersecurity  Digital Health  Education  Entrepreneurship 

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Supply chain lessons learned from this hurricane season

Posted By Journal of Healthcare Contracting, Friday, October 13, 2017

Repertoire/JHC Editor Mark Thill on Oct. 4 spoke with Scott Nelson, senior vice president of supply chain, North America, Cardinal Health; and Mike Wallin, operations manager, Penske Logistics. (Penske provides trucks and drivers for Cardinal Health’s medical segment, and helps optimize hospital delivery routes.) Here are notes from the Q&A with Scott Nelson. Click here for Penske Logistics storm stories and photos.

Thill: Any lessons learned to share with supply chain colleagues?

Nelson: Plan early and involve your customers and key business partners in that process. Look beyond what could come up as an immediate need during the situation itself and plan for multiple contingencies. Without the joint planning I described earlier between Cardinal, Penske and the providers we serve, this story would have had a very different ending.

Communicate realistic expectations with your customers. We were committed to being fully operational as quickly as possible; however we set a clear foundation that it would not be “business as usual” and there would be challenges with inbound freight and outbound volume surges from the backlog. That candor and opportunity to jointly prioritize actions to achieve stabilization built a stronger relationship with our partners.

Lastly, take care of your employees first and they will make sure that the customer is taken care of. The Penske drivers were rock stars throughout this ordeal. They were so willing to put their personal challenges aside and safety in question so our customers would get what they need.

READ THE ENTIRE STORY AT JHCOnline HERE......

Want to hear more about these topics?  Join us next week at our 2nd Annual Life Science & Healthcare Supply Chain Summit.  

Tags:  Connect  Education  Supply Chain 

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A Story of David and Goliath, Bio Sciences-style

Posted By Nancy Zurbuchen, Thursday, September 28, 2017
Updated: Thursday, September 28, 2017

At one time or another, most startup founders face frustration and road blocks, seemingly coming at them from all sides.  An unsupportive family member, being turned down for investment or a loan, unable to find qualified employees.  This is normal stuff, and entrepreneurs get creative at finding other ways to make it work.

However, sometimes entrepreneurial progress is stopped cold by federal government regulation, and this is especially true for the highly regulated bioscience sector. What’s a small bio start-up to do against a big bureaucracy? Complain to anyone who will listen? Call your Senator? Hire an attorney, for heaven’s sake? What you should absolutely do is contact the Office of Advocacy -- and that’s me, your new Region 7 Small Business Advocate.

Our sole purpose is to look out for the interests of startup companies, entrepreneurs, and small business. The Office of Advocacy employs a group of really sharp, engaged attorneys who are specialists in all of the regulatory areas, such as intellectual property, employment issues, OSHA regulations, food and drug, safety, international commerce, etc. They work directly with legislators and government agency employees who are writing new laws / rules / regulations, to help ensure that its effect on small business is taken into consideration to avoid unintended consequences. Advocacy also works to change existing regulations that are over burdensome to small business.

Think of the Office of Advocacy as a resource; we also have decades of small business research data that might be helpful to your bio start-up.

-Nancy Zurbuchen, Small Business Advocate, Region 7 (MO, KS, IA, NE)
Small Business Administration (SBA) // Office of Advocacy 
www.sba.gov/advocacy
nancy.zurbuchen@sba.gov
(314) 539-6615


Nancy and the regional SBA Office of Advocacy recently hosted a regulatory roundtable in Overland Park to help identify specific regulatory barriers to small business growth.  She'll be featured in Kansas City again on October 10th, when she will participate as a panelist at our Women in Science & Entrepreneurship event.  Click here for more information and to register.

Tags:  Advocacy  Connect  Education  Entrepreneurship 

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Supply Chain: Sprout Solutions - The answer to new FSMA regulations

Posted By Casey Chasteen - Sprout Solutions, Friday, September 22, 2017

As we approach our 2nd Annual Life Science & Healthcare Supply Chain Summit on October 17th, we wanted to highlight a few companies and organizations that will be in attendance and presenting on current trends, challenges and opportunities in life science, agricultural and healthcare supply chains.  Sprout Solutions is one of those companies, and has developed technology to help companies comply with requirements for the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.  We'll hear from CEO Gretchen Henry during the Supply Chain Summit.  Read below for a glimpse into Sprout Solutions, and get REGISTERED to attend the Supply Chain Summit to hear more.

Sprout Solutions - The answer to new FSMA regulations

At Sprout Solutions, our mission is to help you advance agriculture through technology.
 
We’ve developed a customizable software solution for both feed mills and commodity traders – one that helps you gain Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification and creates transparency in the production and delivery of animal feed.

Our two products, CommodiTrade and Milling Station, provide mills and merchandisers with accurate, Web-based tools and systems to ensure the food they produce is not only safe, but traceable – from the farmer to the end user.


This full-service solution eliminates the need for your own IT and gives you the freedom to access the product anywhere, from a computer, tablet or your mobile device.

Long-term objectives

Efficient farm management and resource efficiency – Fewer farmers have to produce more for a growing population. Technology can have a significant impact in streamlining processes for feed mills and commodity traders.

Traceability – People want to know what is in their food and where it comes from, requiring tools that manage, monitor, trace and report food safety and product quality.

Optimize daily processes – Feed mills and farmers no longer have to notify milling operations on manufacturing requirements and recipe usage. We take care of daily logistics, automatically generating bill of lading and batching documentation.

Interested in learning more? I would love to connect and talk more about your experience and potential technology solutions that can help your business become more efficient, more agile and more profitable.

Feel free to reach out to me directly or visit our website to set up a time for a free demo.
 
Thanks for your time,
Casey Chasteen
Business Development Manager, Sprout Solutions

Tags:  Connect  Education  Entrepreneurship  Supply Chain 

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The R&D Tax Credit - A First Time Opportunity for Early Stage Companies

Posted By Dennis Ridenour, Monday, September 18, 2017

Earlier this year, we here at BioKansas heard about a change to the R&D Tax Credit that could have a significant impact on the finances of many of our smallest and most innovative members.  You see, until recently, the R&D tax credit could only be used to offset income tax.  Therefore, even though many start-up and early stage companies were eligible for the credit, they could not take advantage of it because they did not pay income taxes.  As of the 2016 tax year, eligible start-up companies can use the credit to offset up to $250,000 per year in payroll taxes.  

Because of this significant change, BioKansas is teaming up with RubinBrown to host a Lunch & Learn focused on educating our members on the awesome opportunity the changes to the R&D Tax Credit present.  We hope you'll join us next Thursday, September 28th, from 11:30 am to 1 pm for free lunch, a breakdown of the opportunity and how to go about making sure your company is taking advantage of credit.  

In the meantime, here's a short synopsis of the credit, courtesy of RubinBrowns' own Richard Wile:
"On March 30, 2017, the IRS released interim guidance explaining how eligible small businesses can take advantage of the Research & Experimentation (R&E or R&D) tax credit by electing to offset their 2017 payroll tax liability instead of their income tax liability. Previously, the R&E tax credit could only be used to offset income tax liability. This prevented many startup companies from taking advantage of the R&E tax credit since they are often in a pre-revenue or early stage revenue phase and paying little or no income tax.
The R&E tax credit is a dollar for dollar reduction of tax. The net benefit of the credit is approximately 6% of qualified expenditures coming from qualified wages, supplies and contract research. The payroll tax credit is claimed on the 941 payroll tax return filed on the quarter following that in which the corporate return was filed. Excess credits can be carried forward to subsequent reporting periods.
If a qualified small business timely files its 2016 return without making the payroll tax credit election, it may make the election on an amended return filed on or before December 31, 2017."

Come out and JOIN US next Thursday, September 28th, from 11:30 am to 1 pm to hear more about the changes and how your company might benefit.  
-Dennis Ridenour, CEO of BioKansas

 

Tags:  Education  Entrepreneurship  R&D Tax Credit  Tax 

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Topeka Science and Technology Park Task Force

Posted By BioKansas & GoTopeka, Monday, August 14, 2017
The BioKansas network stretches across the region, from St. Louis to western Kansas.  While a majority of our members are located in the Kansas City metropolitan region, one of the most interesting aspects of our role in the community is hearing about (and spreading the word about) all of the great initiatives and programs being developed in communities outside of KC.  One such community is Topeka, which boasts of major life science and healthcare organizations (Hill's Pet Nutrition and Stormont Vail Health, among others), and a number of active and engaged community leaders.  These leaders, along with community groups like GOTopeka and the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, recognize the opportunity for the city and are coming together to raise awareness of the opportunities in animal health, workforce development and entrepreneurship.  We hope you'll join us in Topeka on Thursday at the Q3 BioKansas Board Meeting & Networking Reception, where you'll have a chance to hear from these community leaders on the local efforts to raise the profile of Topeka through a number of initiatives.  You can register online for free HERE.  
-Dennis Ridenour, President & CEO, BioKansas

Given the ever-expanding Animal Health Corridor, the development and expansion of the Kansas State University north campus (adjacent to NBAF facility), along with the development of the University of Kansas west campus, there is an obvious gap (Topeka) in the expansion and growth of the corridor from Kansas City to Manhattan.

A group of business and community leaders, along with the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, have begun the process of determining how Topeka can/should participate in the continued and future growth of the Animal Health Corridor along with emerging opportunities in AgTech and Translational Health in the region. To that end:

  • A Task Force has been formed
  • Visits to proximate communities in the Corridor and adjacent communities to access and understand the economic benefit of an entrepreneurial incubator environment
  • Have hired a consulting firm to do a feasibility study and development plan to determine
  • Areas of opportunity
  • Resources required (financial, city, county, private sector)
  • Location options (possibly in conjunction with a broader re-development initiative)

While the precise nature of the opportunities and focus are still to be determined (i.e. Fintech, AgTech, logistics, etc.), it seems abundantly clear that the biosciences should/will be an area of focus.

In conjunction with the efforts of the Science and Technology Task Force, an Entrepreneurial Task Force (ETF - similar to Wichita) has also been formed and has begun to map the local resources available for start-up efforts.

Additionally, Mid-America Angels has opened a satellite effort in Topeka, and a small seed fund also has been established to begin to lay the foundation for the necessary early capital critical for attracting and retaining entrepreneurial efforts.

While still in the early stages of exploration and determination, there is a great deal of energy around this initiative.

-Duane Cantrell, CEO, Fulcrum Global Capital and Co-Chair of the Topeka Science and Technology Park Task Force

 

Tags:  Connect  Education  Entrepreneurship  Workforce Development 

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Building a Better Benefits Package

Posted By Connie Jabara, Employee Benefit Professionals, Monday, July 31, 2017

BioKansas members are a very diverse assortment of organizations from across the region, from single person startups all the way to enterprise size multinationals.  One of the primary roles we play within the community is to facilitate connections between relevant industry groups.  This may include connecting organizations to 1) potential future employees 2) potential collaborators 3) potential funding sources or even to 4) knowledgeable and effective service providers who can help our members navigate certain aspects of their businesses.  This Thursday, we are hosting one of these providers, Employee Benefit Professionals, for a Lunch & Learn on how to develop a benefits package that can help you recruit (and retain) productive employees.  We hope you’ll consider joining us for lunch and a great presentation on the ever-changing world of employee benefits. 
-From Dennis Ridenour, CEO of BioKansas


As a business owner, you know that your employees are crucial to your success.  You appreciate your employees and the work they do for you.  When people feel appreciated they are happier, and happy employees tend to be productive employees.  As a business owner, you also understand the effort, stress, time and money that goes into finding, hiring and training a new employee.  What if you could offer benefits that show your employees how valuable they are to your organization and how much you appreciate their hard work, thereby reducing employee turnover and increasing employee satisfaction? 

It is estimated that 78% of employees base their job decision on the benefits package. At Employee Benefit Professionals, we help you build a benefits package that not only helps you recruit new talent, but keep the talent you have happy and healthy!  In addition to health insurance, dental and vision, you can also offer other benefits similar to large corporations without breaking your bank account.  Benefits such as life insurance, legal protection, critical illness, accident insurance, and even pet insurance can be offered at no cost to you!

Join us for an interactive presentation on August 3rd to learn about how we help our clients build custom benefit packages unique to their business’ and their employees’ needs!  We can work with companies who have 1 employee or 1000 employees.  You provide the awesome career, we will help you discover benefits that will help you keep your employees happy, healthy and productive!  Click HERE for more information and to register.
-From Connie Jabara, Independent Life and Health Insurance Broker at Employee Benefit Professionals

Tags:  Benefits  Connect  Education 

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