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Texas officials announce $91M vaccine center

Chris Tomlinson, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- State leaders on Tuesday announced the construction of a $91 million vaccine manufacturing center at Texas A&M University that they said will create thousands of jobs while protecting the country against future biological threats and influenza pandemics.

Gov. Rick Perry, A&M System Chancellor John Sharp and others gathered at the Capitol to discuss the collaboration involving A&M, global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and the federal government. Details of the manufacturing center were first released in July, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently gave federal approval to establish the center, which will be built in College Station.

"Not only will this center keep Americans safer from epidemic, it will bring in more than $41 billion to the state over the next 25 years and contribute to the creation of more than 6,800 jobs in Texas," Perry said.

The A&M center eventually will give GlaxoSmithKline the ability to manufacture influenza vaccine, as many as 50 million doses within four months of a major flu outbreak. The center also will dramatically boost the domestic capacity of the United States to quickly produce drugs needed as a result of a chemical or biological attack, said Dr. Robin Robinson, director of the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

"This is part of the solution to provide domestic security for this nation for bio-defense or against mother nature," Robinson said. "This partnership will serve not only the nation, but the globe in terms of vaccines and other therapies."

The Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing was established with a $285.6 million initial federal, local and private investment, and the new facility will be built with some of that money.