Bioscience and Technology Business Center to get twin

By Giles Bruce

The Bioscience and Technology Business Center on Kansas University’s west campus will soon be getting a twin.

A new facility that will be a mirror image of the one currently at 2029 Becker Drive will be built right next to it — the two structures will be connected by a corridor — with construction set to begin this summer.

BTBC officials made the announcement at an event with Lawrence Chamber of Commerce members at the facility Tuesday morning.

The BTBC acts as an incubator for up-and-coming technology and life-science firms, providing them with business consulting and education as well as access to capital and KU. So far, the BTBC has helped develop 29 companies, creating more than 121 jobs with a total annual payroll of nearly $5 million and raising roughly $7 million in capital.

But “We’re running out of space,” said BTBC president and chairman LaVerne Epp.

Which is why the center, which relies on a mix of private and public funding, is set to build the 30,000-square-foot addition that will more than double its capacity for business startups, providing both wet and dry laboratory space. The $10 million in capital for the new structure has already been raised, Epp said.

The space will be able to accommodate 15 to 18 new companies predicted to create a total of 120 to 150 jobs. The first of those companies has already been identified, with the second one not far behind, Epp said. Construction is expected to last 12 to 15 months.