Texas A&M bidding to become key biosecurity center

The Texas A&M University System announced Sunday that it has bid to become one of the key centers for defense against infectious diseases and other biological threats in the United States.

The A&M system has compiled a team of more than 20 companies, medical research centers and universities throughout the globe, in hopes to form a new National Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing. Proposals for such centers, which could receive more than $1.2 billion, were requested in March by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports the Texas Tribune.

After a frustratingly slow response to the swine flu pandemic last August, the HHS released a report calling for the production of medical countermeasures such as vaccines and that the national should have a “nimble, flexible capacity...in the face of any attack or threat, known or unknown,” according to the Texas Tribune.

Dr. Brett Giroir, the system’s vice chancellor for research, has been attempting to position A&M as a leader in pharmaceutical manufacturing with the ability to quickly develop and produce large amounts of vaccine.

“We’re now up at the plate to take a swing,” Giroir told the Texas Tribune. “The only reason we’re in the game right now is because of the investments that have been made and all the things that have gone on the last few years.”

Other states making proposals include North Carolina and New Jersey. Proposals for the new center are due June 29 and no specific date has been given for when the federal government would make a selection. Giroir said that the government has indicated it would happen by the end of 2011.