GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) and The Texas A&M University System announced today that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has approved the establishment of a $91 million influenza-vaccines manufacturing facility as the anchor of the Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) in Bryan-College Station, Texas.
The announcement was hosted by Governor Rick Perry at the Texas State Capitol, and was attended by a number of dignitaries including Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, Dr. Robin Robinson, DHHS Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and Antoon Loomans, Senior Vice President, GSK Vaccines.
“Today’s announcement is a huge win for Texas and for the nation,” Governor 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.”
The TAMUS influenza vaccines manufacturing center will afford GSK the capabilities to eventually manufacture influenza vaccine based on a proprietary cell-culture line, EB66®. Most existing influenza vaccine is manufactured using fertilized chicken eggs. The cell-culture process will supplement the vaccine supply from eggs, and facilitate a rapid national vaccine response in the event of a pandemic.
GSK Vaccines produces 30 vaccines worldwide, eleven of which are licensed by the FDA. The Texas A&M-GSK venture will complement and support the company’s existing influenza vaccines operations, based in Quebec, Canada, and Dresden, Germany. GSK’s operations hub in Marietta, Pennsylvania will package, inspect and distribute influenza vaccine manufactured at the Texas A&M Center. In 2012, GSK provided more than 20 million flu shots for the U.S. market and recently became the first major U.S. vaccines provider to gain FDA-approval for a broader-protection, four-strain (quadrivalent) influenza vaccine shot that will be available in time for the 2013-14 flu season.
“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,” noted Loomans. “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.”
One of only three CIADMs to be developed in the U.S., the Texas A&M Center is at the vanguard of U.S. pandemic-preparedness efforts and represents unprecedented public-health collaboration among state and federal governments, academia and private industry. Once constructed and operational, the Center’s influenza manufacturing facility will be able to supply 50 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine within four months of an outbreak. BARDA 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.
“We are honored to welcome GSK to Texas A&M as a key partner in the Center for Innovation,” said Sharp. “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.”
The Texas A&M Center for Innovation is lead by Dr. Brett Giroir, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives at the Texas A&M System, and a core team of A&M experts in biotechnology, infectious diseases, facilities planning and construction, federal acquisitions/contracting, and government affairs. The partnership with GSK was founded on a long, collaborative relationship between Texas A&M and the Wallonia Region of Belgium, with specific planning for this project beginning in the spring of 2010.
“GSK’s decision to partner with Texas A&M and bring their vaccine manufacturing to our state is a testament to the investments that the A&M System and the State of Texas have made in the people, infrastructure and technologies, much of which came from critical state programs such as the Emerging Technology Fund,” Giroir said. “GSK brings unequaled influenza vaccine development, manufacturing, and regulatory expertise to our Center. Equally important, GSK brings its cell based influenza vaccine development program, which we have assessed to be the most promising near term influenza vaccine technology to improve upon current egg based vaccines.”
The Texas A&M Center for Innovation represents the largest commitment of a global biopharmaceutical company to partner within Texas, and will be an important catalyst to the future growth of this industry within the State.
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