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December 25, 2022

How Revenue is Spent at the Jackson Laboratory (2020)

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) in the US and two overseas in Japan and China 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 12,000 strains of genetically-specialized mice that are used for research, both at JAX laboratories and  2,000 research laboratories in 64 countries.

In 2020, JAX reported total revenue of $528 million (compared to $460 million in 2019 and $432 million in 2018) most of which came from two sources:  genetic resources ($295 million) and government grants ($108 million).

Expenses totaled $416 million (not including $48 million in depreciation) and can be categorized as follows:

  • $245 million (47% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ 96 million (18% of revenue):  Supplies
  • $ 35 million (7% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $ 22 million (4% of revenue):  Fees for Services
  • $ 18 million (3% of revenue):  Other Expenses (i.e. advertising, royalties, travel, interest, etc)

As illustrated above, compensation is the largest expense for JAX. 2,904 received $245 million (compared to 3,150 employees who received $225 million in 2019), or 47% of revenue, as compensation, which means the average compensation was $84,400.  Given that the organization is focused on research, it is not surprising that compensation is the largest expense.  $96 million, or 18% of revenue was spent on supplies followed by $35 million (7% of revenue) on office-related expenses.

JAX spent $79 out of every $100 raised in 2020 (compared to $80 out of every $100 in 2019), with the unspent revenue added to the general fund, which had a $835 million net asset balance at year-end.

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

$100:  Revenue

-$ 47:  Compensation

-$ 18:  Supplies

-$  7:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  4:  Fees for Services

-$  3:  Other Expenses

-$ 79:  Total Expenses

 $ 21:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, nearly half of revenue was spent on staff compensation. Collectively, JAX spent $79 out of every $100 in revenue reported, allocating the remaining revenue ($21 out of every $100) to the general fund which had $919 million at year-end. It is worth noting JAX posted a $19 million dollar unrealized gain on investments in 2020 which contributed to the increase in net assets.

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. And, yet the organization has managed to accumulate nearly $1 billion in net assets by only spending about 80% of what they raise annually.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2020), click here.

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