HSC Partner in Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine
(COLLEGE STATION) The Texas Enterprise Fund has awarded $50 million for the creation of the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine, a non-profit organization founded by two members of The Texas A&M University System The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT) in Houston’s Texas Medical Center and Texas A&M University in College Station and Lexicon Genetics Incorporated in The Woodlands. The Institute is designed to pioneer the development of life-changing medical innovation, accelerate the pace of medical discoveries and foster the development of the biotechnology industry in Texas.
Lexicon will create a comprehensive knockout mouse embryonic stem cell library for the Institute containing 350,000 cell lines. One copy of the library will be housed in remodeled facilities at IBT in Houston and another copy will be located at a new research and commercialization facility to be built at Texas A&M in College Station. When complete, the new library is expected to be the world’s largest collection of mouse embryonic stem cells that have been engineered for the study of gene function, allowing researchers to identify and study those genes that offer the most promise for future drug development.
“I am proud that Texas is committing $50 million from the Enterprise Fund to help establish the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine, a groundbreaking genetics research center that will bring 5,000 new jobs to Texas, attract millions of new dollars for medical research and lead to the development of life-saving medical treatments and therapies,” said Gov. Rick Perry.
“This is a historic day for the future of Texas biotechnology, and I want to commend the leadership of The Texas A&M University System for their vision in securing such far-reaching partnerships,” said U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady.
The library, constructed using Lexicon’s proprietary mouse gene knockout technology, will enable a researcher to develop a mouse that has a specific gene removed or “knocked-out.” The function of that gene can then be studied by comparing the knockout mouse to a normal mouse. Approximately 99 percent of human genes have a mouse counterpart, and research using this technology may lead to the development of drugs for a wide variety of human and animal diseases, including diabetes and obesity, infectious disease, cancer and heart disease. Institute researchers will have certain rights to utilize Lexicon’s patented gene targeting technologies. In addition, Lexicon will equip the Institute with the bioinformatics software required for the management and analysis of data relating to the library.
“We believe that this innovative model, combining the strength of the State of Texas, a flagship research university Texas A&M the Texas A&M System Health Science Center, and a visionary company Lexicon Genetics will benefit Texas, our nation and indeed all of mankind. In collaboration with other universities and companies emerging in the biotech area, the Institute truly has limitless potential to improve health care and the quality of life,” said John D. White, chairman of the A&M System Board of Regents.
The Institute is a 501(c)(3) public-private partnership managed by the A&M System and funded through competitive selection for a $50 million investment from the $295 million Texas Enterprise Fund, created by the 78th Legislature to bring jobs and employers to Texas. This matches the largest Texas Enterprise Fund grant ever awarded for a single project. The A&M System will receive $15 million to create facilities and infrastructure to house the library, and Lexicon Genetics will receive $35 million.
The A&M System conducts more than $500 million in research annually, much of which deals with the life sciences and biotechnology, said A&M System Chancellor Robert D. McTeer. “We are pleased to enter into this partnership with the largest biotechnology employer in Texas in an effort that is expected to benefit human health to an unprecedented degree and boost our state’s economy.”
The Institute is expected to bring 5,000 jobs to Texas over the next 10 years. In addition, it is expected to facilitate the creation of new biotechnology companies in Texas, strengthen partnerships between the state’s higher education institutions and corporations, and position participants to effectively compete for grant funding. Entities outside of Texas will be invited to participate in the Institute to further their scientific research efforts. The Institute will make cells from its library available to researchers worldwide.
The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a statewide network of nine universities, seven state agencies and a health science center. Texas A&M, the state’s first public institution of higher education, is a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution with more than 45,000 students in 170 fields of study in 10 academic colleges. The university has the state’s only College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. IBT, one of five components of the statewide A&M System Health Science Center, is dedicated to being a leader in biomedical research and biotechnology with an emphasis on developing technologies for the prevention and treatment of human diseases.