San Antonio The Texas Biomedical Research Institute is a nonprofit infectious disease facility in San Antonio that has worked in the field of life-saving science.
Among the many diseases the institute has worked on, the organization’s research on COVID-19 has helped develop the Pfizer vaccine, as well as treatments.
Texas Biomed President and CEO, Dr. Larry Schlesinger, joined Leading SA on Sunday to talk about the vaccine development process and what comes next for the institute.
“A lot of contributions to the institute launched our animal studies and within two months, these animal studies were validated. This enabled us early on to interact with Pfizer BioNTech, with Regeneron and Novavax and start those studies in late spring (2020). It was the success in those animal models that resembled the success we see in humans that enabled those clinical studies to begin in the summer of 2020. It’s hard to believe that the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine that Texas Biomed has now made is a year in administration for humans. Half a billion of these are vaccines worldwide, and I am very proud of this achievement alone,” said Dr. Schlesinger.
Currently, Texas Biomed is in the second year of a 10-year strategic growth plan that is expected to have a $3.2 billion impact on the local economy.
“The Animal Care Complex is the first major capital project in our 10 year strategic plan in which we will actually rebuild the campus. This is a great project at the south end of the campus. It is really four buildings, 18,000 square feet in size, and it will enable us to greatly expanding the scope of the national and global shortage.”
The plan also includes the construction of a new veterinary hospital, where 150 employees will work to care for animals involved in medical studies, according to Dr. Schlesinger.
Animal caretakers can come together and provide state-of-the-art humane care to these animals as we work with them to make a great discovery that helps humans. This would be for the buildings, and it was actually launched with a federal grant from the Department of Economic Development and then generous donations from donors in the community, as well as the institutional resources that enable us to build this building. This is really just the beginning of many of our capital projects. Stay Connected: Our Center Research Building, which will be our new front door building, is really what we are developing research resources for at the moment. So, you know, these are game-changing opportunities for the institute in San Antonio,” said Dr. Schlesinger.
This is just the beginning of the Texas Biomed and biomedical sector here in the Alamo, Dr. Schlesinger said.
“This is a massive economic development plan for the city. We are talking about moving from less than 400 current employees to 700. These are high paying jobs. We expect our plan to create about 1,700 new jobs, directly or indirectly for the institute. I think it’s a great opportunity,” he said. Dr. Schlesinger: “There are three things I would like to stress about Texas Biomed in terms of science and our future growth, and that is economic development.”
The future is bright for the Medical Research Institute and education plays a major role.
“It’s education, you know, we currently have about 10,000 students that we interact with in San Antonio and all of our 17 STEM school districts. We have internships and offsites and students on campus. We’re doing outreach; it’s a very important part,” said Dr. Schlesinger. From Texas Biomed.
San Antonio is the military city of the USA and this connection is vital to the biomedical industry.
Currently, we have grants with the military and expect to expand them. Then finally, it’s San Antonio culture. We talk a lot about the four heads of the city’s major research institutions. We have a collaborative research arrangement. It’s about utilizing all the talent resources that San Antonio has to put up with. And then, it’s about telling the world about us. We are not a secret. “We are actually a great economic driver of the future in biomedical sciences and healthcare and I think our future is very bright and wonderful,” said Dr. Schlesinger.
You can watch the full interview with Dr. Schlesinger in the video player above.
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