As the biomanufacturing industry experiences unprecedented growth, Scorpion Biological Services Inc. is preparing to break ground on a state-of-the-art biomanufacturing facility in Manhattan this fall. The domestic need for a commercial-scale facility such as this is great.
“One thing we learned from the global pandemic is that the capacity of the U.S. to manufacture vaccines and biological medicines is fairly limited,” David Halverson, president of Scorpion Biological Services, said. “A large percentage of that capability sits in China, Korea and India. Putting biomanufacturing back in the U.S. will enable us to hold our own in the event of another national emergency.”
On-shoring that capability will also enhance the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), further protecting the country in the event of a public health crisis. The company intends to acquire or develop vaccines that can contribute to the SNS.
“The proximity of Fort Riley was one of our selection criteria when we were scouting potential locations. Having access to the airstrip and railhead, plus being centrally located in the U.S. with equal access to both coasts, was a very important consideration for us given our goal to be a pivotal provider for the SNS,” Halverson said. “The distribution of vaccines and medications that we’ll manufacture is going to be paramount.”
As part of the effort to increase domestic biomanufacturing capabilities, the company has made working with U.S.-based vendors a priority.
“We’re going to great lengths to keep our supply chain within the U.S. wherever possible,“ Halverson said. “I think it’s really important to have a biomanufacturing facility in the U.S. and to have it centrally located with a local contingent to support the infrastructure.”
In addition to being a strategic location for logistics, the Greater Manhattan region appealed to Scorpion Biological Services for its access to assets at Kansas State University like the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI).
“We’re working on a partnership with BRI. That’s an important piece for us because they’re doing investigational research and development in the areas we’re working in,” Halverson said. “K-State has a tremendous amount of expertise. Having them available with their core competencies and labs is an invaluable asset for us.”
The company is also working with K-State and Manhattan Area Technical College (MATC) to deliver training to the local workforce.
“K-State and MATC have been phenomenal,” Halverson said. “We’ve offered to be a commercial partner in some grants to supplement their ability to bring core classes and instrumentation to students in the near term.”
Scorpion Biological Services, a subsidiary of Nighthawk Biosciences Inc., is a contract research organization (CRO) and contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), meaning they will work with third parties to produce vaccines, therapeutics and other biopharmaceuticals for humans.
“We’re not beholden to one company’s drugs. We’re constantly getting new drugs from large pharma, small pharma and academia,” Halverson said. “We’re building, developing and researching drugs to get them to market. It’s a rewarding position. If you work on a drug that gets to market, you could personally have helped tens of thousands of people. That’s what keeps me getting up in the morning every day.”
To learn more about Scorpion Biological Services, visit their website.
To see how your company can benefit from having a presence in the Greater Manhattan region, contact us online or call 785-776-8829.