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THBI Newsletter

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

THBI is actively working with elected officials, state agencies, industry partners and Texas entities to ensure the state of Texas is on the forefront of combating coronavirus, and taking proper action to keep the state safe during the global outbreak.

   

Public Health Committee Hearing

THBI was invited to testify in front of the Texas House Committee on Public Health on Tuesday, March 10. Tom Kowalski was joined by Amy Walker, Senior Manager of Infectious Diseases Policy for Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) to provide an update on how the Texas life science industry is responding by working to create vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to combat COVID- 19. Tom Kowalski's testimony demonstrated the importance of life science innovation in our state. To hear Tom and Amy's testimony, tune in at 3:28 for their comments. 


"[Texas has] a vital role in the research, testing, and manufacturing of these products. A number of the biotechnology companies answering the call on COVID-19 have research and manufacturing facilities in the state. Texas’ academic institutions have laid the foundation for later stage work in partnership with biotechnology companies."- Amy Walker, BIO


"The Texas Legislature plays a key role in creating favorable policies for innovation. We need to preserve and foster Texas investments, encourage research and development and the incentives Texas companies need to compete in the drug and medical device process. Texas should also continue to fund research to ensure national competitiveness and to improve the ability of our higher education systems to continue technology transfer and the commercialization process. Those ideas become companies, and when those companies stay in Texas our communities and patients are better for it."- Tom Kowalski, THBI


   

Texas' Response to COVID-19

Governor Abbott, TDI Ask Health Insurance Providers To Waive Costs Associated With Coronavirus

"We must ensure no Texan is denied access to testing resources relating to coronavirus," said Governor Abbott. "Texans who are concerned that they may have coronavirus should seek medical attention in the most appropriate setting, and telemedicine is a good first medical encounter for anyone experiencing mild symptoms. 

Congressman Roger Williams praises passage of coronavirus emergency supplemental bill

“The safety and health of Texans will always be my top priority, which is why I called for clean legislation without political gimmicks to address the coronavirus. I know my colleagues–both Republican and Democrat–care deeply about their constituents, and I’m pleased to see the House work together to pass a bipartisan funding bill that will combat the virus’ spread in our communities."

THBI put out a survey to about 3000 Texas Life Science organizations, research institutions and companies to collect data on the state's response to the virus. Here is an overview of the findings from the companies who participated:

Which product area(s) your company is involved in?

If your company is involved in addressing coronavirus outside of these specific categories, please indicate with your response (some responses included)
  • "VGXI is involved in expedited manufacturing of a DNA vaccine against the novel coronavirus as part of a collaboration funded by a $9M CEPI grant."
  • "We have developed a novel oral drug that may useful in improving the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines for at risk subjects, such as the elderly."
  • "Developing improved personal protection apparel and environmental control systems."
  • "Established a team of scientists to assess internally available antiviral candidates and vaccine assets for potential to impact the COVID-19 and related viruses."
  • "The generics division of Novartis, Sandoz, has frozen prices on all therapies that may aid in the treatment of coronavirus - primarily antivirals and antibiotics. This was effective two weeks ago and will continue until the threat is under control."
  • "In a 6 month period, we will identify and validate COVID-19 T-cell immune targets for vaccine development. Our Chief Scientist, Dr. William Hildebrand, and the Pure MHC team have identified HLA viral immune targets and successfully developed an antiviral vaccine with the targets we discovered for other indications."
  • and more.

Resource Center

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. They are closely monitoring an outbreak caused COVID-19 and are the go to resource for the U.S.

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

DSHS is responding COVID-19 outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China. For prevention tips, symptoms, traveler information, and healthcare provider resources, see our COVID-19 website.

Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) Coronavirus Business Resource Center

As many BIO members work to develop diagnostics, vaccines and treatments to address the global COVID-19 outbreak, BIO has provided resources to help companies continue their operations with minimum disruption and keep their employees safe and healthy. 

Industry Response

Biopharmaceutical innovators are leading the charge in the fight against coronavirus 

BIO Member companies are working closely with US government agencies, Chinese authorities, non-governmental entities and World Health Organization to identify their most pressing needs in the areas of vaccination, diagnostics, antivirals, and other treatments, and to facilitate collaborations in the industry. 

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is Committed to Developing Solutions for COVID-19
America’s biopharmaceutical companies are committed to developing solutions to help diagnose and treat those with COVID-19. In addition to applying their scientific expertise to find ways to diagnose, treat and prevent infections from the virus, the industry is providing financial support and in-kind donations to organizations and collaborating with U.S., Chinese and global health authorities to combat this global public health emergency.

Texas Companies in the News

Greffex Inc.- "Texas company claims to have developed coronavirus vaccine".


Texas Biomedical Research Institute"Texas Biomed establishes team to study SARS-CoV-2, new coronavirus"


VGXI, Inc.- " VGXI to Manufacture Vaccine Against Novel Coronavirus Under CEPI Funded Collaboration" 


Día de la Mujer Latina® Inc.- "DML and the Intercultural Center for Health, Research and Wellness, received approval from Texas Department of State Health Services to teach Community Health Workers, its culturally and linguistically appropriate curriculum, entitled, Dispelling Myths and Rumors of the Coronavirus." 


What's Next

THBI President's Call: March 26

THBI will host the monthly Member's only call on March 26. Join the call for insight from THBI Member company working on the coronavirus. If you are interested in hosting a President's call, contributing content, or to become a member, email julia@thbi.com

   
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