News Release: City supports high containment laboratory expansion

City of San Antonio Providing $250,000 to Texas Biomedical Research Institute’s Efforts to Design a New High Containment Research Lab

August 17, 2017

SAN ANTONIO – August 17, 2017 – The San Antonio City Council today authorized a loan of
$250,000 to locally based Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed), an
independent, not-for-profit biomedical research institution, to help fund the design of a new
state-of-the-art biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) facility on their campus. BSL-4 labs are essential to
helping combat the growing threat of current and emerging infectious diseases by allowing
scientists to develop vaccines with maximum safety precautions in a contained space designed
for the isolation of dangerous biological threats.

In June 2017, Texas Biomed announced that their Board of Trustees had approved moving
forward with the construction of Texas Biomed’s second BSL-4 lab, expanding the
organization’s capabilities in developing vaccines and therapies for the world’s deadliest
infections (including infectious pathogens with a growing resistance to current treatments).
Texas Biomed has a longstanding history of high-quality, high-containment research with
proven capabilities and expertise, as well as the flexibility and agility to respond to growing
infectious disease research needs. Texas Biomed’s BSL-4 laboratory is the only privately
owned BSL-4 laboratory in the United States.

“Texas Biomed has been a tremendous asset to our City and our nation, working to advance
scientific and medical breakthroughs that keep our communities safer and healthier,” said Mayor
Ron Nirenberg. “The expansion of the biosafety level 4 lab is crucial to ensuring that this
institution, an anchor in our local economy, continues to receive the resources it needs to be a
world leader in biomedical research.”

Under the Loan Agreement, Texas Biomed must retain 43 current BSL-4 jobs and create at
least 9 additional full-time jobs in the new expanded facility. City Manager Sheryl Sculley
commented, “Expanding the BSL-4 laboratory and its capabilities will allow Texas Biomed to
retain and recruit some of the world’s top scientists in the area of infectious diseases, while also
significantly increasing the amount of bioscience research dollars flowing into San Antonio.”
Expansion of the BSL-4 laboratory is part of a larger strategic and master planning effort the
Institute is currently undergoing under the leadership of the recently-hired Texas Biomed
President and CEO Dr. Larry Schlesinger.

“The Institute’s current biocontainment facilities (BSL-3 and BSL-4) must expand if we are to
meet the growing demands for discovering more effective diagnostics, therapies and vaccines
for these infections,” said Dr. Schlesinger. ”We are excited to get started so that we may bring
greater innovation, new discoveries and added hope for a safer, healthier future.”
As the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak and the more recent Zika virus outbreak has shown, scientific
discovery has not kept pace with emerging pathogens, and investment in basic biomedical
science is critical. At least 25 percent of the approximate 60 million annual deaths in the world
are due to infectious diseases.

In the past decade, Texas Biomed has contributed significantly to the understanding of
infectious diseases. For example, the team has demonstrated efficacy of a live vaccine for
Lassa Hemorrhagic Fever virus. The team has identified new inhibitors of Ebola virus disease in
systematic screenings of FDA-approved drugs. Additionally, the team identified a viral
component that is important for Ebola virus replication and could serve as a potential target for
antiviral therapy. This finding was selected by the National Institutes of Health as a top
discovery in 2015. The Institute is also making major advances in new therapies and vaccines
for HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, which combined accounts for the majority of human suffering
and death due to infections worldwide.


Media Contacts:
City of San Antonio Economic Development Department:
Jeannette Garcia
O: 210.207.3915 |

Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Lisa Cruz
O: 210.258.9437 |

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About Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Texas Biomed is one of the world’s leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to
advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. Texas Biomed partners with
hundreds of researchers and institutions around the world to develop vaccines and therapeutics against
viral pathogens causing AIDS, Hepatitis, hemorrhagic fevers, Tuberculosis and parasitic diseases. The
Institute also has programs in regenerative medicine, aging and the genetics of cardiovascular disease,
diabetes, obesity, psychiatric disorders and other diseases. The Institute is home to the Southwest
National Primate Research Center (SNPRC), which provides broad services in primate research and hosts
research programs in regenerative medicine and aging, lifestyle disorders and infectious diseases. For
more information on Texas Biomed, visit