Biotechnology & Life Sciences

Chemist Looking through Microscope
  • A Healthy Environment for Medicine

    5,000+ life science firms: Texas is home to more than 5,000 life science and research firms and approximately 100,000 workers in related fields. Top Fortune 500 companies such as Kimberly-Clark and Celanese are based in Texas, while global industry leaders such as Abbott, Allergan, Galderma, Johnson & Johnson, McKesson and Novartis, among others, have major operations in the state.  WATCH VIDEO

    World’s largest medical center: The Texas Medical Center (TMC) is the world’s largest medical complex and is also home to the world’s largest children’s hospital—the Texas Children’s Hospital— and the world’s largest cancer hospital—MD Anderson Cancer Center. TMC recently announced the addition of TMC3, a new translational research campus will serve as the cornerstone for biomedical advancements in the TMC and beyond.  WATCH VIDEO 

    11 medical universities: Texas is home to 11 medical universities-six that are ranked in the nation's top 100 and the state is continuing to expand its network with the addition of two new medical schools. The Dell Medical School at the University of Texas-Austin, which welcomed its inaugural 50-person class in June 2016, is the first MD-training institution in nearly 50 years to be built from the ground up at a top-tier U.S. research university. North Texas will also be home to another MD program when Texas Christian University and the UNT Health Science Center team up to welcome their first class in 2019. With this growing educational network and the second largest workforce in the nation, it's no wonder Texas ranks No. 1 for Chemical Engineers and Veterinary Technologists.

    Grants to drive research: With $5.3 billion in annual R&D expenditures and 23,701 clinical trials underway, Texas is driving innovation in healthcare research. In 2015, the Texas legislature supported the launch of the Governor's University Research Initiative (GURI) grant program with a goal to bring the best and brightest researchers in the world to Texas. To date, the State has awarded $45.5 million to attract and recruit 14 prominent researchers in fields such as molecular biology and animal genetics. In 2016, the University of Texas System Board of Regents approved $30 million to recruit outstanding faculty for its health science institutions through its Faculty STARS (Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention) Program, doubling the budget from the previous year.

    Texans conquer cancer: Home to four NCI-designated cancer centers, Texas is a national leader in cancer research largely due to its historical commitment of $3 billion to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). The only such state commitment, CPRIT is the second largest publicly funded cancer research organization in the nation. To date, CPRIT has made 1,247 awards totaling $1.95 billion. Of this amount, 73 percent is for academic research, 17 percent for product development reseaarch and 10 percent for prevention.

    Additional industry information:

  • Texas Forges Good Medicine

    With almost 120 pharmaceutical firms and over 750 medical device manufacturers, the world's largest medical center and 20,400 clinical studies underway, Texas is a rich environment for biotech and life science firms. Related industries in Texas include:

    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Medical research
    • Medical devices and equipment
    • Agricultural and animal biotech
    • Environmental biotechnology and biofuels

    Download the Texas Biotechnology Industry Report for a comprehensive study of the sector.

    The world's pharmaceuticals come to Texas: In addition to home-grown Alcon (ophthalmics, now part of Novartis) and wound care innovator Healthpoint Biotherapeutics (now part of Smith & Nephew), several international firms have established research and production operations in Texas. California-based Allergan, Pennsylvania-based Mylan, and Switzerland’s Lonza have found that the availability of skilled biotech workers, substantial on-going academic research and the growth-oriented business climate in Texas are conducive to success. Approximately 120 firms now employ over 10,000 workers in the sector, making Texas one of the top ten states for pharmaceutical manufacturing workers.

    Texas supports innovation: In 2015, Governor Greg Abbott passed legislation to create a new Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI), which allocated $40 million to attract and recruit top researchers to Texas’ higher education institutions.

    Ground-breaking research: Four biotechnology research areas that have garnered significant attention and funding are: biodefense and pandemic preparedness, personalized medicine, regenerative medicine and vaccines. Just a few of the ground-breaking research areas currently being undertaken by Texas institutes of higher education are: 

    • stem-cell utilization to combat biothreats such as viral and bacterial pathogens
    • pharmacogenomic research to develop gene-based tests matching patients with optimal drugs and dosages
    • implementation of stem-cell stimulation to regenerate tissues 
    • stem cell application to repair damaged tissue 
    • innovations in personalizing cancer vaccines

    Medical supplies and equipment: Medical devices constitute one of Texas' largest biotechnology sectors by employment. The sector includes medical supply manufacturing of surgical, dental, orthopedic, ophthalmologic and laboratory instruments and apparatuses. Products developed and produced in Texas include surgical sutures, syringes, eye-care products, cardiac catheters, urinalysis and blood transport vials and medication delivery systems. Texas is home to over 750 medical device firms, which employ more than 15,500 skilled workers, making Texas one of the top ten states for medical device workers. More than a dozen Fortune 500 medical device giants have manufacturing or major corporate operations in the state, including Abbott Laboratories, Agilent Technologies, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, Stryker and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

  • Academic Research in Biotechnology

    Public universities and health-related institutions are heavily invested in biotech R&D and intellectual property generation. Six Texas medical schools were ranked in the nation’s top 100 in 2016 by U.S. News & World Report. From 2009 to 2013, Texas public universities awarded over 66,000 biotechnology-related degrees, led by the biological and biomedical sciences area. Our top ten institutions for biomedical R&D have invested almost $2.5 billion in research and development.

    Institution Total Medical R&D
    (Millions of $)
    The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center 582.1
    Baylor College of Medicine-Houston 450.6
    The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 388.9
    The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston 226.7
    The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio 163.8
    The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston 139.3
    Texas A&M Health Science Center 77.5
    Texas Tech University Health Science Center 60.6
    University of North Texas Health Science Center 41.9
    The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler 12.0
    Total $2,143.4

    Governor’s University Research Initiative – In 2015, Governor Greg Abbott passed legislation to create a new Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI), which allocated $40 million to attract and recruit top researchers to Texas’ higher education institutions.

    Number one in NIH research funding: The Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), located in Houston’s Texas Medical Center, is the only private medical school in the U.S. Southwest region. BCM was ranked as one of the nation’s top 25 medical schools for research by the U.S. News & World Report in 2014, has research support of over $481 million (with over $280 million from federal sources), and currently trains over 3,000 students, including residents and post-doctoral. BCM is ranked #1 in Texas for in NIH funding and was ranked #2 nationally in federal funding for R&D in the biological sciences at universities by the National Science Foundation in FY 2010.

    Six Nobel Prize educators: Located in the 390-acre Southwestern Medical District in Dallas, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas (UTSWMC) is one of the world’s top academic medical centers. The Center has over $424.5 million annually to fund approximately 3,500 research projects, trains more than 4,500 students annually and its outstanding faculty has included six Nobel Prize recipients since 1985. UTSWMC’s Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute designated cancer center, a distinction held by only the top-tier cancer centers nationwide.

    UT Health Science Centers: The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is the largest of Texas' nine medical schools, with over 10,000 faculty, staff, students and residents. The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) at San Antonio opened the $150 million South Texas Research Facility in late 2011. The facility houses as many as 20 lab teams, working in areas ranging from regenerative medicine to cancer research.

    In case of biological disaster, look to Galveston: UT Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston is one of the nation's 11 federal Regional Centers of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (CBEID). The CBEID at UTMB Galveston was established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2002 and serves as the lead institution for participating academic institutions in the Western Region. UTMB operates one of the nation’s two National Biocontainment Laboratories, the Galveston National Laboratory. UTMB has established the Shope Laboratory, a Biosafety Level 4 facility with a 2003 $110 million NIH grant.

    Texas is building two new medical schools:  In 2013, the University of Texas (UT) Board of Regents approved the new UT Rio Grande Valley medical school, which is scheduled for completion in 2018. Its facilities will be located in Cameron and Hidalgo counties in South Texas. In April 2014, UT at Austin broke ground on the campus for the Dell Medical School. UT Austin’s medical school will be part of the City of Austin’s new medical district and is scheduled to admit its first class in 2016. Furthermore, Seton Healthcare, a major Central Texas healthcare services system, is partnering with UT and plans to build a new teaching hospital on a new medical campus. The hospital is scheduled to open in 2017.

    Private research facilities: Texas is home to over 990 private scientific R&D firms (in biotech and other scientific specialties) that employ more than 20,000 workers. Southwest Research Institute and its sister institution, the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, are among the largest private biotechnology R&D firms in the world. With more than 16,900 studies underway, Texas is a hub of clinical trials and other breakthrough research. Many of the world’s leading clinical trial and contract research firms have operations across Texas including PPD, Covance, Quintiles, INC Research, inVentiv Health Clinical, SNBL USA, Worldwide Clinical Trials and Radiant Research.

  • Highly Educated

    The biotech workforce in Texas is educated, productive and innovative. Texas ranks in the top 3 states for biotech doctorates awarded in agricultural sciences/natural resources, health sciences, life sciences and biological/biomedical sciences.

    Sample of Biotechnology Private Workforce in Texas

    Industry Industry 
    Firms Employment Average
    Annual Wage ($)
    Other Basic Organic Chemical Mfg. 32519 105 7,366 114,254
    Agricultural Chemical Mfg. 3253 110 3,096 85,477
    Pharmaceutical & Medicine Mfg. 3254 155 9,930 105,582
    Electromedical Apparatus Mfg. 334510 57 2,039 92,026
    Analytical Laboratory Instruments Mfg. 334516 32 1,534 80,434
    Medical Equipment and Supplies Mfg. 3391 727 11,519 50,573
    Testing Laboratories 54138 840 14,974 67,261
    Biotechnology R&D 541711 353 4,485 105,097
    Physical, Engineering & Life Sciences R&D 541712 687 15,657 89,997
    Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories 6215 1,242 18,307 54,851

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012)




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