A new 74-page report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) says America’s biopharmaceutical companies produced more than 8,200 clinical trials of new medicines in the state of Texas over the past 13 years. This research activity, conducted in collaboration with state’s vast network of public universities and other health-related institutions, is an important creator of jobs, generator of tax revenue, and source of research spending, with The Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) having invested over $130 million in pharmaceutical-related startups since 2005.
In 2010, Texas public institutions of higher education invested more than $2.5 billion on medical and life sciences research, which accounted for for 61 percent of all higher education R&D expenditures in the state. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested over $500 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $49.5 billion in 2011 alone.
The biotech research industry’s importance as a contributor to Texas economic prosperity and Texas institutions’ scientific leadership stature, was underscored by the PhRMA report’s “Research in Your Backyard: Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in Texas,” being released on Monday, March 25 at a news conference held in the Lt. Governor’s Press Conference Room at the State Capitol at Austin, and attended by Sen. Bob Deuell, (R – Greenville), Rep. Jim Murphy, (R – Houston), Tom Kowalski, President of the Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute, and Dr. Curtis Triplitt, Asst. Professor, Diabetes/Medicine, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Texas Diabetes Institute.
The Texas Healthcare & Bioscience Institute (THBI) was created in 1996 as a non-profit public policy research organization composed of biotechnology, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies, universities and private research institutions, and companies that provide goods and services to core organizations, is the the Texas Healthcare Bioscience Industry’s leading voice and only provider of statewide resources to its members and the industry. With a focus on advocacy as well as industry vitalization, THBI works with government and industry leaders to recruit the life sciences to Texas and to promote effective government legislation on the behalf of the industry at the state and federal level.
The “Research in Your Backyard” document notes that according to U.S. News and World Report, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas ranked 20th, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston 21st, the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston 55th, the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio 67th, and the Texas A&M Health Science Center in Bryan 83rd among this year’s top 100 research-oriented medical schools in the United States. Other listed medical schools included Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
Legislation currently being considered by Texas lawmakers would allow businesses performing research and development (R&D) the option of either a sales tax exemption on R&D equipment, or alternatively a franchise or margins tax credit on R&D expenditures, including salaries. Advocates believe the legislation would enhance the state’s competitive edge in biotech.
The 2012 Texas Biotechnology Industry Report from the Office of Governor Rick Perry found that some 125 biopharmaceutical companies have created a large pharmaceutical manufacturing workforce in the state, employing more than 9,500 Texans and making Texas one of the top 10 states in America for pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs. The report cites Governor Perry observing that “Freedom fuels innovation, and through our proud tradition of bold thinking and personal freedom, Texas is a natural fit for industries looking to create cutting-edge treatments, develop cures and improve lives.” Private sector investment by 850 private scientific R&D companies in Texas employs more than 21,300 workers, and in addition to R&D facilities,Texas has more than 2,000 medical and testing laboratories, which include blood, pathology, imaging, diagnostics and device test ing facilities, employing more than 32,200 workers
In 2010, the total value of Texas pharmaceutical shipments exceeded $4.7 billion, with manufacturers making total capital investments of nearly $100 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The report’s findings show the state’s clinical tests of new medicines have been beneficial to patients — not only Texans, but with a reach far beyond the state’s borders, as well as the advancement of science and the economy. Clinical testing may provide a new avenue of care for some chronic disease sufferers who are searching for the best medicines them. In 2012,Texas was ranked second nationally for the number of all clinical trials, with more than 14,000 studies underway, according to the National Institutes of Health database. More than half of the Texas clinical trials have targeted devastating chronic diseases, with more than 4,300 aimed at asthma, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and mental illness.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 110,000 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in Texas this year, and 37,000 Texans will die of the disease. Biopharmaceutical companies and their local linstuitutional research collaborators, including the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas and the Texas Tech University Health Science Center, are currently conducting more than 600 trials of new cancer medicines that are recruiting patients. Among the 914 clinical trials of new medicines for the six most debilitating chronic diseases in America currently recruiting patients in the state are studies of a genetically-modified vaccine to treat melanoma, a fusion protein to treat diabetic macular edema and a new antibody that targets lupus and various cancers. Since 2005, the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) has invested over $130 million in pharmaceutical-related startups. Funded companies have developed a wide range of technologies, including treatments for cancer, liver disease and obesity.
Nearly 10 percent of adult Texans have been diagnosed with diabetes, which killed killed 5,105 in the state in 2007. Currently, 92 diabetes-related clinical trials are recruiting patients in Texas.
More than 189,000 Texas patients died of heart disease in 2009 and 46,000 from fatal strokes. There are currently 49 heart disease and 15 stroke clinical trials ongoing in the state and seeking patients.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 60 million Americans including some 833,000 Texas adults struggle with serious mental illness, plus about 288,000 Texan children are afflicted significant mental health conditions, with 96 clinical trials of new mental illness medicines seeking patient participants in the Lone Star State.
One million Texan adults and nearly 600,000 children suffer from asthma, and more than. 29 clinical trials of new asthma treatments are underway and recruiting patients at institutions such as Alamo Clinical Research in Austin.
Among the dozens of institutions conducting clinical trials of new medicines in collaboration with biopharmaceutical companies in Texas, are:
• Allergy and Asthma Research Institute, Waco
• Baylor Research Institute, Dallas
• M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, Houston
• Central Austin Cancer Center, Austin
• Lone Star Heart Center, Amarillo
• The Methodist Health Systems, San Antonio
• University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
A full listing of clinical trials that are recruiting patients and their locations within Texas as well as more information on clinical trials, can be found on Clinical Research and Trials resource page here:
The report notes that many of the medicines being tested in Texas are cutting-edge biotechnology drugs, with America’s biopharmaceutical research companies using biotechnology to develop hundreds of medicines and vaccines. Biotechnology medicines are developed through biological processes using living cells or organisms, rather than traditional chemical synthesis, the traditional mainstay of pharmaceutical development.
Biopharmaceutical companies’ close collaboration with clinicians and research institutions in Texas benefits patients, the state’s economy and the advancemen of science and patient care. Clinical trials provide stimulating biopharmaceutical research work and a reliable source of revenue for the state’s university medical schools and science centers, hospitals and clinical organizations and the medicines being tested are often cutting-edge cell and protein treatments with the potential to be safer and more effective than older chemical compound drugs.
Texas is one of the states spearheading this new-generation R&D work. Through biotechnology, the report says, new ways are being developed to not only more effectively treat disease, but also to predict it and eventually to prevent it.
Biotech-developed medicines in clinical testing at Texas medical schools and research centers include:
• A genetically-modified virus-based vaccine to treat melanoma.
• A monoclonal antibody for the treatment of cancer.
• An antisense medicine for the treatment of cancer.
• A recombinant fusion protein to treat diabetic macular edema.
• A monoclonal antibody in the pipeline targets lupus and various types of cancer.
• A therapeutic vaccine, designed to jump-start the immune system to fight disease, is in development for lung cancer and melanoma.
These are just a few examples of new ways biopharmaceutical companies and Texas research institutions work together to attack disease, with biotechnology medicines and vaccines in development helping to expand the frontiers of science and potentially bring more and better treatments to patients as well as enhanced prosperity to the state’s economy.
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