Texas A&M to form National Biosecurity Foundation

Officials with the Texas A&M University System have announced the formation of the National Biosecurity Foundation, a nonprofit organization that will work to enhance biosecurity and to fight against naturally emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorist attacks.

Dr. Brett Giroir, vice chancellor for research for the Texas A&M System and executive director of the system’s Institute for Innovative Therapeutics, announced the formation of the foundation during a recent address to BioHouston.

One of the primary goals of the foundation, Dr. Giroir said, is to develop a coalition of academic, commercial and nonprofit organizations to implement ways to enhance national biosecurity. Giroir said another goal of the foundation is to facilitate collaboration, research and commercialization of technology across diverse organizations.

“The threat of a new emerging epidemic or intentional biological attack is among the greatest facing our nation,” Giroir said. “This summer, the comprehensive biosecurity review sponsored by the federal Department of Health and Human Services indicated that the United States needs a new model, as well as significant investment, to provide the flexible, assured capability required for lasting biosecurity.  We in Texas have anticipated many of these national needs and are well prepared to answer our nation’s call.  The formation of the Foundation is the next step in the A&M System’s commitment to accelerating new therapies on behalf of global health and biosecurity, and the work ahead for the Foundation will be my highest priority.”  

Giroir said that the A&M System has recently established research and development programs and infrastructure to lead the national efforts in biosecurity and global health.

Additionally, research teams are already working on several biosecurity projects, including creating a cell platform for discovering new drug and vaccine targets against biothreats and a project to demonstrate the production of at least 10 million doses of pandemic flu vaccine made from plants per month.