ST. LOUIS – Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a bill Thursday which will bring pharmaceutical and high-tech computer chip production to the Cortex District and jobs to the state.

Organizers said they credit COVID-19 as the catalyst for the Cortex District, after learning the economy had become reliant on other countries to manufacture the things we need.

“I am so proud to be able to sign this bill today,” said Missouri Governor Mike Parson. “$15 million is going to go a long way to help a lot of industry in our state and a lot of manufacturing of cutting-edge technology.”

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approximately 78 percent of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacturers are located outside the United States. Organizers said the money will help to bring high-tech jobs to Missouri.

“St. Louis, I refer to as the Silicon Prairie,” said St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “With this House Bill 3007, we are strengthening that reputation and solidifying St. Louis as a leader in bioscience, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.”

The ceremonial bill signing of House Bill 3007 went into effect on July 1. It approved $15 million in grant funding for the Cortex Innovation District on four fronts. Some are API, substances or mixtures used in the manufacturing of a drug product.

Lomustine is a chemotherapy drug used for the recurrence of glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. There is no U.S. manufacturer of this drug.

Semiconductor, a computer chip is made by Rolla-based Brewer Science.

“This is a silicon wafer,” said Dan Brewer, CEO of Brewer Science. “This is where the computer chips start their life. There’s probably about 10,000 chips or more on this particular wafer that we manufacture today.”

The legislation aims to support efforts to drive national health security and establish the Show Me State as the hub for the advanced manufacturing of essential medicines.

“First of all, it’s an investment in what we’re trying to do,” said Parson. “We don’t want to be dependent on one company that’s not even in the United States. So, I think that’s why we’re here today investigating in these types of drugs to make them affordable. To be able to do that, that’s why we’re making investments in St. Louis and talking here today to make that more available, because we know the more available it is the lower the prices get.”

Parson told a crowd Thursday that Missouri rank in the top 10 for site selection for businesses. Missouri also ranks above 40 other states, for anyone who’s looking to set up shop or expand their footprint.

The Cortex District’s original $168 million TIF package was approved in 2013. The District is facing a February deadline for legislative action to keep the use of the remaining $79 million in tax increment financing incentives.