New company on the block

Scorpion Biological Services brings research opportunities to state and university community

By Erin Pennington

This rendering shows the 500,000-square-foot Scorpion Biological Services Inc. commercial-scale facility in Manhattan, Kansas. (Image credit: Scorpion)When Scorpion Biological Services Inc. set out to build a new facility, company leaders considered locations in 23 states. Ultimately, the company chose Manhattan, Kansas, as the location for a new $650 million commercial-scale facility. And Kansas State University was a big reason why.

Scorpion is a biopharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization. According to the company, it selected Manhattan because of the area’s concentration of biodefense organizations, including the K-State Biosecurity Research Institute and the National Bio and Ago-Defense Facility adjacent to the K-State Manhattan campus. Once fully operational, Scorpion’s 500,000-square-foot facility is expected to employ more than 500 people with average salaries of more than $75,000 per year.

K-State Innovation Partners played a key role in attracting Scorpion to the region through a series of presentations and visits. Other important partners included the K-State Office of the Vice President for Research, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corp. and Kansas Department of Commerce.

“Our team immediately saw what an excellent fit Manhattan could be for Scorpion and its goals,” said Rebecca Robinson, chief corporate engagement and economic development officer with K-State Innovation Partners. “The opportunities for partnerships between the company and K-State for research, talent development and job opportunities for graduating students are very exciting and will be mutually beneficial.”

Scorpion’s sister company, Heat Biologics Inc., already has signed a master research agreement with K-State for work that will be done in the Biosecurity Research Institute. The company also has advanced conversations with the university to develop biomanufacturing programs at K-State and Manhattan Area Technical College to help train Scorpion’s future workforce.

The master research agreements will lead to scientific collaboration that can help solve biosecurity challenges and develop new technology for economically important animal and zoonotic infectious diseases, K-State leaders said.

“The attraction of Scorpion to Manhattan is one of the early success stories of K-State’s Economic Prosperity Plan, which includes a strong focus in biosecurity and biodefense” said David Rosowsky, vice president for research. “This is only the beginning of the growth and opportunities we are cultivating and hoping to create for our faculty, students and community.”

Scorpion is a subsidiary of Nighthawk Biosciences Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops novel biodefense assets and therapies to modulate the immune system. Scorpion projects that the Manhattan facility will be complete, fully functional and staffed by April 2027.