News Column

Texas A&M Partners With GSK for Flu Facility

March 26, 2013

Allen Reed, The Eagle, Bryan, Texas

The Texas A&M University system has announced a partnership with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to establish a $91 million influenza vaccine-manufacturing facility in Bryan-College Station. Gov. Rick Perry said the company will generate billions of dollars worth of expenditures per year and will create close to 7,000 jobs.

The TAMUS influenza vaccine-manufacturing center will facilitate a rapid national vaccine response in the event of a pandemic.

The announcement was made at a press conference in Austin Tuesday morning, more than a hundred miles away from the the Center of Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing in the Bryan-College Station biocorridor.

The 196-acre corridor is along the shared border near Easterwood Airport. City officials worked alongside Texas A&M for years to develop the area in hopes of luring biotechnology companies and startups to Bryan-College Station.

Those efforts were, in part, realized on Tuesday.

"We are honored to welcome GSK to Texas A&M as a key partner in the Center for Innovation," said system Chancellor John Sharp in a press release. "GSK's dedication to public service is well-aligned with the Texas A&M tradition of serving the nation and defining its future through research and scholarship. Equally important is the cultural and philosophical match between GSK and the A&M System, as reflected by GSK's desire to collaborate with academia and the U.S. government, and their ongoing commitment to helping address global health scourges such as pandemic influenza and malaria."

Antoon Loomans, Senior Vice President, GSK Vaccines, represented GSK at the event.

"GSK is privileged to deepen our commitment to U.S. public health, as part of this unprecedented public-private collaboration to protect against pandemics and bio-threats," said Loomans in the release. "In Texas A&M we have found a partner with a rich tradition of service, and with pioneering technologies that will benefit the entire pharmaceutical industry in making vaccines available and accessible to all in need."

The center's influenza manufacturing facility will be able to supply 50 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine within four months of an outbreak, according to the release. The federal government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority conceived the public-private formula to assure a strong biosecurity product development and manufacturing base on U.S. soil, ensuring that the nation would have rapid access to vaccines and therapeutics in the advent of influenza pandemics, or chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks.

"Today's announcement is a huge win for Texas and for the nation," Perry said. "The Texas A&M Center, anchored by this facility, is expected to bring more than $41 billion in expenditures within the state of Texas over the next 25 years, and will add more than 6,800 direct and related jobs to Texas."

Source: (c)2013 The Eagle (Bryan, Texas) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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