John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, today announced that the A&M System has been awarded a contract to develop one of three U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing. The $285.6 million contract includes an initial investment of $176.6 million from the U.S. government, with the remainder cost-shared by commercial and academic proposal partners.
“We have long served our nation and risen to defend our country against national security threats,” said Sharp. “Our selection for this Center reflects that tradition and means we are enhancing the nation’s ability to counter biological and pandemic threats, both known and unknown, with vaccines manufactured here in the United States. We would like to thank President Obama and his administration; we are honored to be selected and to have the Texas A&M System’s unique capabilities leveraged to meet critical 21st-century challenges.”
The Center will utilize rapid, nimble and flexible approaches to: (1) develop and manufacture vaccines to protect against pandemic influenza; (2) provide therapies in the event of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats; (3) perform advanced development, accelerating vaccines and other biosecurity products through pre-clinical and clinical development, leading to licensure; and, (4) train the next generation of professionals in areas required to sustain this national capability, including process engineering, pharmaceutical manufacturing, veterinary sciences, quality, and regulatory affairs.
The contract, with a duration of up to 25 years, builds upon investments by the A&M System and the state of Texas in growing new jobs in the burgeoning biopharmaceuticals industry.
The need for this advanced public health and biosecurity capability was identified following a comprehensive review of federal public health emergency medical countermeasures called for by President Barack Obama in his 2010 State of the Union address. The Department of Health and Human Services issued a request for proposals on March 30, 2011, and the contract was awarded following a year-long competitive nationwide process.
The A&M System is the prime contractor for a team of world-class academic, commercial and non-profit institutions that will bolster the nation’s domestic manufacturing and surge capacity. This highly integrated research and development team will utilize state-of-the-art processes for development and testing of new vaccines and therapies for public health emergencies such as an outbreak of pandemic influenza.
The Texas A&M System was well positioned to compete for this award with its history of national service and members who are leaders in national research and education with a demonstrated commitment to applied life sciences research and the development of commercial biopharmaceutical and national biosecurity solutions, particularly at Texas A&M University, the A&M System’s flagship institution, in the critical engineering disciplines required for this program.
“The Center for Innovation will enhance the nation’s emergency preparedness by providing surge capacity for vaccines and medical countermeasures to chemical and biological events,” said Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives Brett P. Giroir, M.D., and the principal investigator for the Center. “We also will leverage these unique capabilities to create a broad positive impact on global health and advancing applied academic research.”
Sharp said this award is a result of a decade of visionary leadership by Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker of the House Joe Straus, backed by the Texas A&M System Board of Regents and faculty and researchers throughout the A&M System to position Texas and the A&M System as leaders in biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals.
“It begins with Governor Perry and his vision to establish Texas as the ‘third coast’ of the biopharmaceuticals industry,” said Sharp. “Over the past decade the State of Texas has methodically cultivated and grown the biopharma and technology industries in Texas, and the fruits of those labors are being born today. Texas would not have been competitive for a national center if not for investments by the Emerging Technology Fund, the Texas Enterprise Fund and other related programs such as the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.”
The Center will bring significant economic opportunity to Texas, creating an infrastructure for biopharmaceutical manufacturing, opportunities for workforce development and a path to market for life-saving therapies. For more information: http://ciadm.tamus.edu.
For more information, contact Steven B. Moore at (979) 458-6023 or via email at Syscomm@tamus.edu.