Texas Biomedical Industry Breeds Innovation
Texas is at the crossroads of science and technology, a destination for world-class biomedical research, biotechnology firms, medical device manufacturing and life science startups that deliver an impressive $75 billion annual economic impact statewide.
Spearheading the innovation and growth are organizations such as the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. From its 200-acre campus in San Antonio, the institute unites hundreds of researchers and institutions around the world to focus on advances in the treatment and prevention of a host of diseases.
Kenneth Trevett, the institute's president and CEO, attributes success of the Texas biotech industry to its roster of prized institutions with an outstanding tradition of innovation.
"The bedrock of any vibrant biomedical sector is the creation of intellectual property in academic organizations, research institutes and research hospitals," Trevett says. "New ideas generate new companies, well-paid jobs, and even patients from other parts of the country who want to be at a place where the most modern medical care is provided."
Texas: Medical Device Leader
That success has caught the attention of companies across a range of biotech and life sciences specialties.
Medical device manufacturers Hanger Inc., for one, relocated its prosthetic and orthopedic manufacturing company to Austin from Maryland in 2010.
"We were drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit of Texas and especially of Austin," says Hanger CEO Tom Kirk. "Our company has been in existence for nearly 150 years, but we still operate with the same values of entrepreneurial spirit, flexible operations and
innovation that drove the founding of our company. ... These same values are also evident in central Texas and that is why this metro area is one of the most dynamic regions in the world."
Kirk says Austin has provided ample networking and partnership opportunities, space for future growth, improved operational efficiency and an enhanced quality of life for corporate employees. In addition, Austin's central U.S. location improved communication with Hanger's national footprint of more than 700 patient-care clinics and supporting operational locations.
The medical device sector of the Texas biotech industry has seen rapid growth. Surgical sutures, syringes, eye-care products, cardiac catheters and medication delivery systems are just some of the products made by the 1,250 medical equipment and electrical instrument establishments in the Lone Star State.
The device sector employs more than 35,000 workers, or approximately one third of Texas' biotech employment. The segment's average annual salary is more than $70,800.
In 2012, wound care and therapeutic support system manufacturer Kinetic Concepts moved into a new, 100,000-square-foot global headquarters building in San Antonio. The 30-year-old medical technology company, which employs 2,000 people in San Antonio and more than 7,000 around the world, develops and manufactures high-technology therapies and products for the wound care, tissue regeneration and therapeutic support system markets.
And Kinetic Concepts is in good company. Dallas-based Celanese is a specialty materials manufacturer whose products are used in a variety of applications, including medical products. In 2011, the Fortune 500 company expanded its headquarters in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, in part because of the availability of the skilled workforce it needed.
Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark, a Fortune 500 consumer products giant, manufactures a cross-section of professional health-care and personal-care products around the globe.
In Fort Worth, Alcon Laboratories manufactures and markets surgical equipment and devices, pharmaceuticals and vision-care products. The company, a subsidiary of French health-care company Novartis, employs more than 3,200 people in Fort Worth, where it has its research facilities. The company is undertaking an $11 million renovation and expansion of its Fort Worth campus that would add 750 jobs.
Support for Texas Biomeds
With more than 108,600 employees in some 3,500 companies statewide, Texas' biomedical and life sciences industry is well backed by a number of industry-specific networking and support organizations.
The state undergirds biotech growth and innovation on a number of fronts. The Texas Emerging Technology Fund, created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 to promote growth of technology-oriented companies, has invested more than $130 million in biomedicine and pharmaceutical-related projects .
In the Bryan-College Station area, home of Texas A&M University's flagship campus, the Research Valley Partnership oversees an active bio corridor with ample services in place to support innovation.
In Georgetown, the Texas Life Sciences Collaboration Center helps take companies with commercially viable biotechnology and life-sciences products to the next level.
Founded in 2007, the center is now one of the most successful life science incubators in the state, and works closely with the Texas Healthcare Bioscience Institute, Southwestern University in Georgetown and Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Round Rock.
"As companies grow, we help nurture and give them every kind of assistance we can," says Russ Peterman, TLCC executive director.
In 2012, Peterman also helped launch the I-35 Texas Bio Corridor Alliance. Founded by a group of life science leaders from Interstate 35's 275-mile stretch from San Antonio to Dallas, the alliance is helping accelerate commercial success and promote the corridor as a recognized global leader in the health-care industry.
"The corridor is an extension of what we're doing in Georgetown, but on a statewide level," Peterman says. "This is an industry where collaboration is the norm, and we're all in the same boat trying to recruit companies to Texas. It's a very exciting time for the state."
Number of employees in the Texas biotech sector
Biotechnology-related manufacturing, research or testing firms in Texas
Average annual salary for biotech worker in Texas
Estimated annual economic impact from Texas biotech industry
Texas Medical Device Manufacturing
Medical equipment and electrical instrument establishments in Texas
Number of employees in the Texas medical device sector
Average annual salary for workers in the sector
Total value of Texas medical equipment manufacturing in 2009