Top biopharmaceutical executives visit the Brazos Valley

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX)- Each year, dozens of top executives from biopharmaceutical companies around the world come together for BioPhorum. The annual conference allows them to discuss their best practices in producing vaccines, gene therapies, allergenics and more.

"We bring together the manufacturing and supply chain experts to collaborate on common issues and challenges, and one of the big new topics being discussed is gene and cell therapy," said Simon Chalk, the Director of the BioPhorum Operations Group. The yearly meeting is taking place in Houston, but the biopharmaceutical companies made a special trip all the way to the Brazos Valley to see the state of the art bio-research being done at the FUJIFILM Diosynth facility in College Station.

"We make products that impact people's lives. Everyday we come to work and we are making a product that could potentially cure a genetic disease," said Gerry Farrell, the Chief Operating Officer of FUJIFILM. According to Farrell, the company develops and manufactures recombinant proteins, vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and more using biotechnology and organic materials.

"We are the first biopharmaceutical company in College Station. [BioPhorum's visit] is part of developing the whole bio-corridor and getting more interest and developing more interest in the area and building on Texas A&M University, which we are also a partner with," said Farrell. The company works with the government as well to mass produce and deliver vaccinations if a pandemic breaks out.

"The future is high with Texas A&M and the technical expertise, the graduates coming out of there and the researchers here in town, the sky is the limit," said Farrell.

"Some of the results of that research and development is now reaching the markets so real patients can benefit from cell and gene therapies," said Chalk. According to Farrell, gene and cell therapy are two cutting edge practices being used around the world to help find cures for diseases. That research is happening right here in the Brazos Valley.

"We have our customers come in and give their patient testimonials about the mothers of the kids that don't understand the science, but they understand that we are making a product that could replace that gene that is missing," said Farrell.

The idea with the tour is to hopefully foster partnerships thanks to the Research Valley Partnership which brought in the biopharmaceutical companies.

"Of the group that is coming in from all over the world at this sea level group and top organizations from around the world many of them already have research agreements with A&M," said Matt Prochaska, the President and CEO of Research Valley Partnership.

"We are growing the town, we are creating jobs and we are keen to be a big part of the community here in College Station," said Farrell.