Texas A&M vaccine center awarded billion dollar grant

Texas A&M University has won a major federal grant to create a Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing for vaccine production and bioterror preparedness.

The contract, granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is worth approximately $1.5 to $2 billion over the next 25 years. The College Station, Texas area will experience an increase of approximately 1,000 jobs during the five year construction phase of the center, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"It's the biggest federal grant to come to Texas since NASA, quite frankly," John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University system, said, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Jacqueline Northcut, the chief executive and president of BioHouston, referred to the announcement of the contract as a game-changer.

"This is a major win for Texas and Houston," Northcut said, according to the Houston Chronicle. "This is one leg of the stool that was missing for Texas - the ability to manufacture biologics on a major scale. What A&M and College Station have assembled is the right cornerstone we need for industrial development of biotechnology in Texas."

The center will be tasked with aiding in building a countermeasure stockpile to develop advanced manufacturing techniques for chemical and biological threats, including anthrax, antibody therapies and treatments for radiation poisoning.