Texas A&M Center, Fujifilm Biotech prepared for U.S. order to make COVID-19 vaccines
COLLEGE STATION, Texas —Texas A&M University is home to a state-of-the-art biotech manufacturing center that’s set up to make millions of vaccine doses … and make them in a hurry.
Chancellor John Sharp recently interviewed three scientists affiliated with the Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing. Known as the CIADM, the center here is one of four such facilities built by the U.S. government following the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
The three scientists help ensure that the CIADM is ready if the government orders it to begin mass, rapid manufacturing of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The bottom line,” Chancellor Sharp told the scientists, is that “as soon as you get a task order, you are ready to save the world.”
The interviews will be featured on the next episode of “COVID-19: The Texas A&M University System Responds.”
The show will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check local listings in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Waco and Amarillo.) It also will be available on the System’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/46os3aZMivA
In 2017, The Texas A&M University System completed construction of two new CIADM facilities and the retrofitting of a third site.
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies now owns and operates the facilities, so a trained workforce can respond quickly should the government call on the A&M System and Fujifilm, its subcontractor, to manufacture one or more COVID-19 vaccines.
On the show, Chancellor Sharp interviewed Dr. Gerry Farrell, chief operating officer of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, Texas, based in College Station.
Chancellor Sharp also talked with Dr. Jon Mogford, vice chancellor for research at the Texas A&M System, and Dr. W. Jay Treat, Texas A&M’s chief manufacturing officer at the CIADM. They detailed the CIADM partnerships with Fujifilm and other key biotech firms such as Zoetis Inc., a global animal health company; and iBio Inc., an international, plant-based bio-manufacturer with offices near the CIADM.
Dr. Treat said the agreements are helping College Station become the “biotech hub of Texas.”
The scientists explained the numerous challenges to manufacture and deliver COVID-19 vaccines widely. They applauded the federal government for supporting research into many vaccine candidates to improve the odds of effective vaccines emerging within the next 12 to 18 months.
“The government has made the right choice going down multiple pathways,” Dr. Mogford said.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.
Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(512) 289-2782 cell