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Boost for Biotech

  • News Image
    Rep. John Carter announces a grant to Southwestern for the TLCC.
  • News Image
    President Schrum speaks at the grant announcement.

Southwestern receives $461,340 to equip labs at the Texas Life-Sciences Collaboration Center

Southwestern has received a $461,340 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to purchase laboratory equipment for the Texas Life-Sciences Collaboration Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit educational entity that is a partnership between Southwestern, the City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce.

The funds will enable the TLCC to equip a full-service biotech wet lab, tissue culture labs and nanotech clean room for use by researchers at its member companies. 

“This grant is the beginning of the next chapter for the TLCC,” said Mel Pendland, president of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce. 

TLCC was founded in 2007 to help companies with commercially viable biotechnology products take them to the marketplace. It currently has five member companies: Deaton Engineering, Orthopeutics, Quantum Logic Devices, Radix BioSolutions and Turnco Tool & Instrument Co. A sixth member company, Molecular Templates Inc., will be moving to Georgetown from Canada to commercialize drugs for cancer therapy and will be the first company to use the new shared laboratory resources. 

“This equipment will help us bring additional companies to the TLCC,” said Martín Gonzalez, a member of the TLCC Advisory Council and an associate professor of biology at Southwestern. “Having access to this modern laboratory facility at TLCC will save start-up companies a lot of money.”

Southwestern faculty members and students also will have access to the equipment, and the grant will enable Southwestern students to intern at the TLCC.

“This grant is good for Southwestern because we do not currently have some of this equipment,” Gonzalez said. “Even if we do already have certain pieces of equipment, it will be good to have this back-up just a few miles down the road.”

Rep. John Carter (TX-31) announced the grant at a press conference held at the TLCC’s facility in the Georgetown South Commercial Park. Carter has supported the TLCC since its inception and helped secure the new grant.

“The Texas Life-sciences Commercialization Center will allow for even more innovation and cutting edge research to take place at Southwestern University,” Carter said. “This will benefit not just Southwestern, but the entire economy of Central Texas, and the national scientific community.”

Georgetown Mayor George Garver said the city was very grateful for Congressman Carter’s leadership and support on the grant request. “This is a wonderful example of inter-institutional cooperation among all the entities involved,” Garver said.

Southwestern University President Jake B. Schrum said the University is proud to partner with the TLCC in its efforts to bring economic development to the Georgetown area.

“This grant is a visible symbol of the marvelous partnership that Southwestern is sharing with the TLCC, and City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce,” Schrum said. 

Russ Peterman, executive director of the TLCC, noted that the center also has established ties with other local educational institutions, including Austin Community College, which is training technicians to work in laboratories, and Texas A&M University, which is building a medical school in Round Rock. It is even working with students at the high school and junior high school level to interest them in science careers. 

He said the federal grant is part of TLCC’s strategic plan to move from local public-sector funding to funding from private investors and federal grants.

For more information on TLCC, visit http://www.texaslifesciences.com/