Major Flu Vaccine Plant Will Be Built At Texas A&M

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GlaxoSmithKline will build a major biopharmaceutical plant at Texas A&M in Bryan-College Station. The partnership with the university system is part of a major federal grant to grow the nation’s biological defenses against natural threats like epidemics or bioterrorism.

After the plant is up and running in 2018, it will manufacture seasonal flu vaccines. But during a national health emergency, like a serious flu outbreak, the company will be expected to churn out 50 million vaccine doses within four months.

Governor Rick Perry said the $91 million project will create 6,800 jobs in Texas.  A&M Chancellor John Sharp said it will make Texas competitive with bio-tech regions like Boston. “This is something that 20 years from now, I believe people will say this is one of the significant economic development moments that ever occurred in Texas,” Sharp said.  “Because what we are creating here and will create is the Third Coast of biopharmaceuticals. It will be game-changing not just for Texas, but for folks everywhere.”

The GlaxoSmithKline plant will use a new process to create flu vaccines from animal cell lines, rather than fertilized chicken eggs. The cell process is quicker, cleaner and protects against more strains of flu than regular flu vaccines.  

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Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...