The Kansas State University campus has been officially named as the home of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced. The Manhattan campus bested six finalists vying for the $650 million federal biodefense lab that will employ hundreds of scientists and other workers and will replace the aging facility at Plum Island, NY.

"With this new lab, Kansas will cement its reputation as the nation's leader in plant and animal health research and the biosciences," said U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). "We will reap the benefits of a cutting-edge industry while protecting the nation's food supply and agricultural economy for years to come. Kansans can be very proud. This is a historic day."

The Kansas City Business Journal reported that the facility is expected to be a boost for the region’s animal health corridor – which stretches from Manhattan, KS, to Columbia, MO – and is home to more than 13,000 employees and more than 125 animal health companies. The corridor accounts for about 34% of sales in the $16.8 billion global animal health market, according to the Kansas City Area Development Council.

Construction of the facility is expected to be completed in 2015, but research probably will begin before then at KSU’s existing Biosecurity Research Institute, which is adjacent to the NBAF site, the article says. The 500,000-sq.-ft. NBAF is expected to employ 250-350 people and have an annual operating budget of $125 million. Its economic impact is estimated to reach $3.5 billion in the first 20 years.