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History of Life Sciences and Bioscience in KC

by Angela Orr | Jul 17, 2014

Life sciences, and in particular, animal health, have a long history in KC.

In 1863, Bayer HealthCare AG was established and the bioscience industry in Kansas City was born. Bayer began developing animal health products as early as 1919 with the introduction of Neguvon, a product to combat mange in animals. In 1923 Bayer released Naganol, the first veterinary product specifically produced to protect animals against blood parasites. Since then, Bayer has released a number of animal health products and vaccinations.   

Meanwhile, MRIGlobal was founded in 1944 in an attempt to bolster the Midwest economy.  

MRIGlobal’s first project emphasized chemistry and drew from Kansas City’s agricultural roots.  Major breakthroughs were made in the 1950s. Chemists introduced soluble coffee for J.A. Foldger & Co., and perfected the M&Ms chocolate candy coating process. 

Bioscience kept growing in Kansas City, and more breakthroughs were made. More companies and research organizations established themselves in the KC region between the 1960s and today including Cerner, IVX Animal Health, Quintiles and the Stower’s Institute for Medical Research

In 2004, Kathleen Sebelius signed the Kansas Economic Growth act which committed the state to the advancement of the bioscience industry. More than $500 million were invested to ensure the progress of bioscience.

Step-by-step animal health in KC:

  • Livestock economy began in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1846.
  • In 1871 the Kansas City stockyards opened their gates.
  • Concentration of millions of livestock created demand for other agricultural and veterinary products.
  • Veterinary medicine at the University of Missouri began in 1884.
  • In 1886 Kansas State University offers its first animal health courses.
  • First animal pharmaceutical company opened in 1921- Haver-Glover
  • MRIGlobal opens in 1944 with a focus on agricultural science.

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