Bioweapons expert Giroir considered for Texan of the Year

The Dallas Morning News recently named bioweapons expert and former head of the science office of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Brett Giroir as a finalist for its Texan of the Year.

Giroir is currently working in College Station, Texas, to help setup a major federally-funded center capable of mass-producing medical countermeasures in case of an emergency, such as the threat of an attack using biological weapons or a pandemic illness, according to

The Texas Center, one of three similar facilities, will be able to produce 50 million doses of flu vaccine within four months, approximately double the speed of the conventional process. Giroir said that the project was similar to a Manhattan Project for biological threats.

Giroir left DARPA in 2008, becoming vice-chancellor for the A&M System. There, he began to lay the groundwork for a new concept in drug manufacturing technology that uses interchangeable modules stored within a larger facility. Texas committed $50 million from its Emerging Technology Fund to build the massive National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing.

The center has placed Texas on the receiving end of a new federal contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The state plans to use the federal money to open other biotech facilities.

"It's more than I imagined could happen," Giroir said, reports.