Houston-based eHRI‘s inaugural meeting at the BioScience Research Collaborative facility attracted biotech influencers across the state of Texas to talk about how the Texas biotech sector can collaborate in order to collectively develop the statewide industry and deliver improved care to patients.
BioNews Texas was among a gathering of top Texas biotech influencers who attended the eHealth Research Institute’s (eHRI) inaugural meeting last week, in an effort to kick off an audacious effort to foster increased collaboration between the top research institutes, businesses, and governmental organizations across the state, as well as improving the delivery of medicine to patients in Texas, all of which centers around the advancement of technology and communication in the biotech sphere.
This new group, which was founded in April, has already pulled in three of the state’s top research organizations: the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, who hosted the event, the Center for Space Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and Rice University’s Kennedy Institute. The meeting also included powerbrokers in the finance industry, private sector biotech firms, the medical community, and the media.
The effort to galvanize the biotech industry in Texas is not dissimilar from the same efforts made decades ago in establihsing the Lone Star State as a leading producer of energy, according to Jan Odegard, the executive director of the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology at Rice University. “This is what energy did 40 years ago,” he recently commented, adding that Texas succeeded in developing the energy industry by fostering a “. . . layering of companies growing and creating an ecosystem. We don’t want our innovators to move out to the Bay Area or Boston and sell it back to Houston.”
Dr. Odegard is one among an impressive collection of health and technology professionals who are investing their individual skills into the eHRI project. Another contributor, Dr. Robert Satcher, an orthopedic oncology surgeon and former NASA astronaut, called for the “democratizing of specialized medical care for all the people of the world” through the establishment of the group, focusing his attention specificially on how cancer has come to surpass even heart disease as the number-one killer in the world today — and how Texas is helping to lead the way with cutting-edge cancer research and treatment. “We want your time, and we want your investment,” Dr. Satcher said. “Our goals are ambitious. It takes a lot of money to recruit the best researchers and fund such collaborative projects.”
This inaugural meeting of eHRI was indeed heavy on expectations and intentions, but light on details in terms of how the group will attain its audacious goals. To be sure, the group has pulled together significant Houston-based biotech assets that will be used in the future to make eHRI’s ideas into reality. BioNews Texas will continue to cover future eHRI events and report on the group’s progress.