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Texas Research Park named finalist for $500M biodefense facility
July 11, 2007

San Antonio Business Journal

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has selected the Texas Research Park as one of five finalists for a $500 million national laboratory that will focus on biological threats to humans and animals.

The government will announce its final site selection for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in October 2008. Construction is slated to begin in 2010 and the lab is expected to operational by 2013 or early 2014.

The other four finalist sites are located in Kansas, Mississippi, Georgia and North Carolina.

The government was considering 29 possible sites and narrowed the list to 18 in March, which included three in San Antonio. The other sites under consideration were located in California, Kentucky, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Texas.

Along with the Texas Research Park, Brooks City-Base and the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research were also evaluated by Homeland Security.

The Department of Homeland Security has earmarked $23 million for the site selection process and for the conceptual design study and feasibility report. The new lab will replace current facilities at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York.

Representatives with Brooks City-Base, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, the Texas Research and Technology Foundation, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have formed the Texas Biological and Agro-Defense Consortium to promote San Antonio as a site for the proposed lab.

The goal of the group is to combine local strengths, capabilities and resources to bring the laboratory to the Alamo City. The facility will focus on the threat to humans and animals from bio-terrorism to naturally occurring diseases.

The new laboratory is a joint project with Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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