Texas Biomed to build new animal research facility as part of 10-year strategic plan

Ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights need for animals in research

© Clem Spalding

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a serious issue in bioscience, which is the lack of available and effective nonhuman primate models for use in testing diagnostics, therapies and vaccines for emerging infectious diseases, including COVID-19. As the home of the Southwest National Primate Research Center, Texas Biomed recognizes the critical importance of animal models in discovery and has included the development and construction of research facilities that meet regulatory and animal welfare standards.

“As one of the largest breeding colonies in the country, the Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomed cannot meet demand due to facility constraints and must increase its physical animal housing footprint immediately to meet the challenge,” said Larry Schlesinger, M.D., Texas Biomed Professor and President/CEO.

To that end, Texas Biomed has committed to the Nonhuman Primate Animal Facility (NHP ALFA) project. The $10 million NHP ALFA project will create critical new space, of approximately 45,000 sq. ft., for Texas Biomed to double the number of rhesus macaques on campus and accelerate development plans currently established in the 10-year strategic plan.

“The new facility will offer greater flexibility than any other animal facility on campus and enable Texas Biomed to provide therapy and vaccine testing services to the growing number of national and international Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies that are in queue waiting to start trials at Texas Biomed,” explained Cory Hallam, PhD, Vice President for Business Development and Strategic Alliances. “This urgent project is ready to break ground and will drive significant economic activity and job growth to an economic development zone that aligns with the City of San Antonio’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies in healthcare.”

Texas Biomed has a near 80-year history of working closely with the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and many others for whom we have helped develop science, diagnostics, therapies, and vaccines for Ebola, Hepatitis C, HIV, Zika, Marburg, SARSCoV1, and Tuberculosis, among others.

“Texas Biomed‘s mission is to face infectious disease threats head on and provide the science and solutions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to infectious disease,” said Dr. Schlesinger. “Texas Biomed is investing in the resources needed to achieve this mission.”