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Amendment 2: Stowers Institute Has For-Profit Division

I’m sorry I didn’t see this Saturday. If I had, I would have spent a good part of the show yesterday on this–the billionaire who’s funded 95% of the effort to pass Amendment 2 stands to profit from it:

Jim and Virginia run the Stowers Institute, a non-profit biomedical research organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, with a $2 billion endowment. It has been reported that the Institute has made a $300 million expansion project contingent on Amendment 2 passing. If Amendment 2 fails, the project could well be move to another state and jeopardize the Stowers’ long term goals.

The Stowers Institute has also formed the BioMed Valley Partnership, which includes a for-profit arm, BioMed Valley Discoveries Inc., set up to “patent, develop and market the discoveries of the Stowers Institute” and its partners to medical and pharmaceutical companies such as Merck or Pfizer. The BioMed Valley Partnership includes Kansas University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, whose researchers cede their intellectual property rights to BioMed Valley Discoveries in exchange for large endowments. Although Stowers officials claim that the conglomerate’s current business plan requires that profits be plowed back into Stowers Institute activities, this plan could be changed by its board of directors at any time.

BioMed Valley Discoveries could go public at any time and possibly create billions of dollars in value, much of it generated by the tax dollars provided by Amendment 2 that would finance research at Stowers Institute.

So the Stowers Institute may not be a selfless act by Mr. and Mrs. Stowers after all. Too bad the media didn’t report this until 72 hours before the polls opened.

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