Texas A&M awarded US biodefense contract

June 18, 2012 by JIM VERTUNO

(AP) — The Texas A&M University System will be the home of one of three national biodefense centers to help the U.S. quickly develop vaccines in the event of a pandemic and strategies for responding to bioterrorism.

Texas A&M's Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing was one of three centers announced Monday by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.

A second center will be led by Emergent Manufacturing Operations Baltimore LLC in Maryland in partnership with Michigan State University, Kettering University in Michigan and the University of Maryland-Baltimore. A third center will be based in North Carolina, and led by Novartis, in partnership with North Carolina State University in Raleigh and Duke University in Durham.

The biodefense centers will work to develop and manufacture vaccines to rapidly respond and protect against influenza pandemics and conduct research and training for responding to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

"The threats we face today as a nation are constantly evolving," Sebelius said, calling the centers a "dramatic step forward in ensuring that the United States can produce life-saving countermeasures quickly and nimbly.

"They will improve our ability to protect Americans' health in an emergency," Sebelius said.

The federal government will spent about $400 million on the initial contracts. Texas A&M will get about $176 million in federal money with another $109 million from its commercial and academic partners. The state of Texas already has committed about $ 40 million to the project.

Texas A&M will partner with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline's facility in Pennsylvania, Kalon Biotherapeutics in College Station and more than 20 other public and private researchers across the country.

University system officials project a long-term investment in the billions and laud it as the biggest federal program to be awarded to the state of Texas since NASA.

"It's a game-changer for us, and, we think, for Texas," Sharp said. "This is just another war: A war against natural pandemics and not-so-natural terrorism."

In 2010, President Barack Obama said he wanted the U.S. to develop a new plan for a better and quicker response to threats and attacks. The move came after the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation gave the government a failing grade for its efforts to prepare for and respond to a biological attack.

Sharp said Texas A&M was well-positioned to bid for the project, given its historical connection to the military and its ongoing research in the fields of engineering, life sciences and veterinary medicine.

Explore further: Feds to halt Texas Women's Health Program funding


Related Stories

Feds to halt Texas Women's Health Program funding

March 16, 2012
(AP) -- The federal government on Thursday began making good on its promise to cut off all funding for the Texas Medicaid Women's Health Program amid an escalating fight over the state's ban on funding for clinics affiliated ...

Judge: Texas can't cut funds to Planned Parenthood

May 6, 2012
(AP) -- A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Texas cannot ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds, at least until a lower court has a chance to hear formal arguments.

Recommended for you

No evidence that widely marketed technique to treat leaky bladder/prolapse works

October 16, 2017
There is no scientific evidence that a workout widely marketed to manage the symptoms of a leaky bladder and/or womb prolapse actually works, conclude experts in an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

Ten pence restaurant chain levy on sugary drinks linked to fall in sales

October 16, 2017
The introduction of a 10 pence levy on sugar sweetened drinks across the 'Jamie's Italian' chain of restaurants in the UK was associated with a relatively large fall in sales of these beverages of between 9 and 11 per cent, ...

New exercises help athletes manage dangerous breathing disorder

October 16, 2017
A novel set of breathing techniques developed at National Jewish Health help athletes overcome vocal cord dysfunction and improve performance during high-intensity exercise. Vocal cord dysfunction, now also referred to as ...

Learning and staying in shape key to longer lifespan, study finds

October 13, 2017
People who are overweight cut their life expectancy by two months for every extra kilogramme of weight they carry, research suggests.

Blueberries may improve attention in children following double-blind trial

October 13, 2017
Primary school children could show better attention by consuming flavonoid-rich blueberries, following a study conducted by the University of Reading.

Menopause linked to changes in brain energy use

October 13, 2017
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine and the University of Arizona Health Sciences have found that women's brains use less energy during the menopause. The reduction in energy use by the brain was found to be similar to ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jun 19, 2012
Seems the appropriate place, at least for the official, publically announced program.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.