Biotechnology and the life science industry continue to expand in the Houston region with more than 100 institutions and companies attracting over $2.2 billion in research and development funding annually. Between 2005 and 2015, the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TET) allocated more than $205 million in funds to 145 early stage companies and $127 million in grant matching and research superiority funds to Texas universities.In 2015, the TET was replaced with a new program called the Governor’s University Research Initiative and the TET Fund was relocated under the management of the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company. In 2016, the Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI) grant program recruited nine top researchers to lead cutting-edge research in Texas universities to spearhead new breakthroughs in science, technology, engineering,mathematics and medicine. The GURI grant awards total $34.3 million with one-to-one matching grant commitments from each university. In November 2017, the Governor’s office awarded two grants, each totaling $3 million.
The state funded Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has invested $1.63 billion through more than 1,056 grants since 2010. CPRIT funding has attracted nearly 100 cancer researchers and their labs to Texas and prompted $910.8 million in follow on investment in CPRIT supported companies. Leading research eorts in the area represent established and emerging industries, including nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, genetics/genomics, biodefense and infectious diseases, stem cell research and oncology.
Outside of the TMC, Black Forest Technology Park, located in The Woodlands (30 miles north of downtown Houston), is a longstanding major research center designed specifically for scientific, research and biotechnology companies. Other established business parks/organizations geared toward biotechnology commercialization in the Houston region include the Genesis Biotechnology Park and BioHouston, Inc. Genesis Biotechnology Park comprises 16 innovative life science companies and researchers located just south of the TMC. The Park was developed to increase venture capital interests in Houston and is committed to supporting startup companies by providing tenant options for shared office, wet laboratory space (including equipment) and flexible leases. BioHouston, Inc., a nonprofit corporation founded by Houston area academic/research institutions, is actively leading a broad-based effort to strengthen Houston’s position as a global competitor in life science and biotechnology. BioHouston’s Resource Center, the first incubator facility serving the Houston life sciences community, is housed at the Genesis Biotechnology Park, adding a key component to ongoing commercialization efforts. The Center is specifically designed to serve startup biotech and life sciences companies by offering access to shared laboratory space, research resources and networking opportunities with a community of biotech entrepreneurs.
The BioScience Research Collaborative built by Rice University is an innovate-space where scientists and educators from Rice University and other TMC institutions work together to perform leading research that benefits human medicine and health. Shortly after opening in 2010, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) and Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Space Medicine joined the Collaborative. Funded by NASA in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, the NSBRI is studying and solving the health risks and problems related to long-duration spaceflight.
From its base of cutting-edge research, Houston has taken the next step in its evolution as a primary life-science cluster by creating an environment conducive for private companies to develop and market life science products. With key initiatives in place to bring together the public and private sectors, as well as signicant improvements to the scope of services and incentives available to private companies, the infrastructure is in place to capitalize on Houston’s strong research base and convert it into commercialized product. With this process now in motion, the biotech future in Houston looks bright.
This Port Houston overview is part of the annual 2018 Houston Economic Outlook. For the full report click here.
Sections covered in the full report include:
Population Growth | Employment Sector | Business Climate | Global Energy Capital | Petrochemical & Plastics Industry | Port Houston | NASA/Johnson Space Center | Mobility Infrastructure | Airport System | Texas Medical Center | Biosciences & Biotechnology