Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing open for business

July 23, 2012

Federal, State and Local Officials Join to Open Biosecurity Center

COLLEGE STATION, Texas –Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Chairman Dr. Richard A. Box and principal investigator Dr. Brett P. Giroir welcomed distinguished guests U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison; Marjorie Petty, regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services; Dr. Robin Robinson, deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); and numerous state and local officials today for a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the Center for Innovation. Hutchison was honored with an award recognizing her extraordinary service in support of higher education and scientific research on behalf of Texas and the nation.

The Texas A&M Center for Innovation is a public-private partnership that will enhance the nation’s emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases, including pandemic influenza and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.  The $285.6 million contract for the Center for Innovation was announced by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on June 18 and includes an initial investment of $176.6 million from the U.S. government, with the remainder cost-shared by commercial and academic proposal partners.

“This is a great day for The Texas A&M University System, the state of Texas and the nation,” said Giroir. “As the only academic, non-profit lead for these HHS Centers, our project builds on the Texas A&M tradition of serving our nation and defining its future through research and scholarship.  Our selection also reflects positively on the specific, and often bold, investments that the A&M System and the State of Texas have made in the people, infrastructure and technologies necessary to meet 21st-century national security and public health challenges.

“This would not have been possible without the leadership of Gov. Rick Perry, the Texas A&M System Board of Regents, Chancellor John Sharp, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Speaker of the House Joe Straus and Texas A&M faculty, staff and students. And as Chancellor Sharp noted at the announcement in June, this Center not only places the A&M System and the state of Texas on the frontline of defense of the nation, it also brings significant economic opportunity and new jobs to Texas by creating an infrastructure for biopharmaceutical manufacturing,” Giroir said.

The purpose of the Center for Innovation is to perform research and advanced development to accelerate vaccines and other medical products through pre-clinical and clinical development and to produce these products in cases of pandemics or other national emergencies.

Among key resources for the new Center is the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM) on the Texas A&M University campus, a first-in-class, flexible-by-design biopharmaceutical research, development and workforce training facility funded by the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, the Texas A&M System and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

“The Texas A&M University System has a long tradition of serving our nation and defining its future through research and scholarship,” Hutchison said. “The State of Texas is proud to be of service to our nation through the Center for Innovation in the fight against infectious diseases and terrorism while providing hands-on training for the next generation of scientific, engineering, medical and policy professionals who will one day assume national leadership roles.”

As a public-private partnership, the Center’s personnel and core infrastructure is also available for academic and commercial projects, giving Texas an unequaled catalyst for the state’s rapidly growing biopharmaceutical sector. “Through our Center’s unique collection of talents, working innovatively and passionately, we will achieve the stated mission; but also, our goal is to develop and transition platform technologies that will profoundly accelerate new treatments for diseases as diverse as cancer and HIV,” said Giroir.

The A&M System is the prime contractor for a team of world-class academic, commercial and non-profit institutions. This highly integrated research and development team includes Texas A&M, the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), UTMB-Galveston National Laboratory, Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, the Texas A&M Institute for Preclinical Studies, Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, PPD Inc., NDA Partners and other institutions. For more information: http://ciadm.tamus.edu.

— Elisabeth Button