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October 31, 2020

How Revenue is Spent at The Jackson Laboratory

by Anne Paddock

The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) is an independent, non-profit 501 (c) (3) biomedical research institute with three main research centers (Bar Harbor, Maine; Sacramento, California, and Farmington, Connecticut) that have more than 60 laboratories performing research in six (6) areas: cancer, reproductive biology, immunology, metabolic, neurobiology, and neurobehavioral disorders.

JAX is probably best known as the largest distributor of genetically engineered lab mice in the country with about 11,000 mice that are used for research, both at JAX laboratories and 1,700 research laboratories in 50 countries.

In 2018, JAX reported total revenue of $432 million (compared to $375 million in 2017) most of which came from two sources:  genetic resources ($285 million) and government grants ($95 million).

Expenses totaled $332 million (not including $35 million in depreciation) and can be categorized as follows:

  • $206 million (48% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ 58 million (13% of revenue):  Supplies
  • $ 29 million (7% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $ 16 million (4% of revenue):  Fees for Services
  • $ 14 million (3% of revenue):  Other Expenses (i.e. advertising and promotion, royalties, interest, etc)
  • $  9 million (2% of revenue):  Travel and Conferences

As illustrated above, compensation is the largest expense for JAX. 2,557 employees received $206 million, or 48% of revenue, as compensation, which means the average compensation was $81,000.  Given that the organization is focused on research, it is not surprising that compensation is the largest expense.  $58 million, or 13% of revenue was spent on supplies followed by $29 million (7% of revenue) on Office-Related Expenses.

JAX spent $77 out of every $100 raised in 2018, with the unspent revenue added to the general fund, which had a $740 million net asset balance at year-end.

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 48:  Compensation

-$ 13:  Supplies

-$  7:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  4:  Fees for Services

-$  3:  Other Expenses

$  2:  Travel and Conferences

-$ 77:  Total Expenses

 $ 23:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, nearly half of revenue was spent on staff compensation. Collectively, JAX spent $77 out of every $100 in revenue reported, allocating the remaining revenue ($23 out of every $100) to the general fund which had $740 million at year-end. It is worth noting JAX posted a $38 million dollar unrealized loss on investments in 2018 which means the general fund balance would have been considerably higher if this loss did not occur.

In summary, JAX is a well funded organization with a strong financial foundation.  As with most research laboratories, JAX spends a lot on staff compensation because at the heart of the organization’s mission is research conducted by employees.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018), click here.

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