A Texas A&M University System-led team has won a major federal contract to develop one of three new national centers — the only one led by a public university system — for developing and manufacturing medicine and vaccines to respond to pandemic diseases and bioterror threats.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the contract on Monday. The other contracts were awarded to Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore and Novartis in North Carolina.
After the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009, federal officials realized the need to significantly improve the speed of its response to pandemics. These three centers are expected to be the lead responders in the event of a major national biological outbreak, whatever the cause. The center in College Station is expected to first come online in December 2015.
A gathering of about 300 people watched a live feed of the announcement in the Stephen F. Austin Hotel in Austin, along with A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, who called it a “once-in-a-generation” announcement. He said the project is expected to create about 1,000 jobs, primarily in the Brazos Valley.