COLLEGE STATION – Gov. Rick Perry today toured the Texas A&M National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing, one of the pioneering vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing facilities that comprise the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM).
The federal government has asked Texas A&M to submit a proposal to manufacture ZMapp, one of the most promising new drugs to treat victims of Ebola. If selected, the CIADM is prepared to take action immediately to ramp up production of the drug for clinical trials or experimental therapy for Ebola patients.
“Through the rapid and cost-effective manufacture of vitally-needed vaccines and treatments, the facilities here hold the promise of saving millions of lives in the event of a global pandemic,” said Gov. Perry. “Pending federal approval, the experts here will employ revolutionary methods and processes to quickly manufacture ZMapp at a scale that has national and potentially global implications.”
The Texas A&M CIADM, a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the State of Texas and biopharmaceutical industry collaborators, is responding to the need for rapid and flexible manufacturing to bolster the nation’s response to public health threats. The center was supported by a grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, as well as a series of significant investments by the state over the past decade to elevate Texas to the forefront of biotechnology research and development.
“Recent events with Ebola have heightened public awareness that bio-threats – whether naturally occurring or manmade – will remain a national challenge for the foreseeable future. However, this is a challenge we can overcome, because Texas has invested in the facilities and human talent necessary to engage disease threats head on,” said Dr. Brett P. Giroir, CEO of Texas A&M Health Science Center and director of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response. “What we are doing here is world leading, and a critical element to our national security strategy.”
Investments by the state created the infrastructure and capabilities essential for Texas A&M to be named one of three centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. These facilities work to enhance the nation’s emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases, as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
In addition to rapid and flexible vaccine manufacturing, the facility also provides valuable biomedical workforce training, and creates a recruitment opportunity for expert scientists and preparedness leaders.