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History of the Texas A&M CIADM

FOUNDED FOR MEDICAL EMERGENCIES; STRENGTHENING THE TEXAS ECONOMY

The U.S. government designated the Texas A&M University System in 2012 as home to one of three new national bio-manufacturing centers. Each location was called a Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM.)

The aim was to improve U.S. capacity to develop and mass manufacture vaccines and other medicines, especially in rapid response to a pandemic or biological attack.

The decision has proven to be an important success for the nation and for Texas.

The federal government in 2020 tapped the CIADM at Texas A&M University in College Station to help rapidly expand the manufacturing capacity for vaccines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CIADM here also strengthened advanced biotechnology development and bio-manufacturing in Texas, serving as a catalyst for a robust, active, growing workforce in the Texas bio-manufacturing sector.

Initially the three U.S. CIADMs were part of a national strategy developed in response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, when federal public health officials had become concerned about the lack of domestic capacity for large-scaled medical manufacturing.

The Texas A&M University System was awarded a 25-year CIADM contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA,) an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS.)

The contract was valued at $285 million for its first five years, with an initial investment of $176.6 million from the U.S. government, $40 million from the State of Texas, $20 million from the Texas A&M University System and nearly $50 million from private commercial partners.

CIADMS were intended to bolster and modernize the nation’s ability to respond to any attack or threat, including novel, previously unrecognized, naturally occurring emerging infectious diseases, as well as various chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

“Establishing these centers represents a dramatic step forward in ensuring that the United States can produce lifesaving countermeasures quickly and nimbly,” said Kathleen Sebelius, DHHS Secretary in 2012.

Specifically, BARDA wanted to convert the U.S. production of vaccines and other medicines from chicken-egg-based processes to cell-culture-based technologies.  Once built, the CIADM facilities would be used commercially so they were always staffed, maintained and prepared to be used in an emergency.

The two other CIADMs started through private companies in North Carolina and Maryland. The Texas A&M System CIADM was the only university-based center. It entered 2022 as the nation’s only surviving CIADM program. 

The university setting has provided advanced services in medical research and development and workforce training. The CIADM is part of Texas A&M Health, and its partner for training is the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM,) part of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.  

From the outset, The Texas A&M CIADM was to partner with other groups outside of government, including commercial biotechnology companies.

The Texas A&M University System attracted an international bio-manufacturing company, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnology (FDB), to purchase two facilities built through the CIADM program.

FDB Texas (FDBT) acquired the College Station facilities in a series of transactions that started in December 2014 and were completed in March 2017.

The sale was a winner for all of the stakeholders and the public:

  • The State of Texas and the Texas A&M University System recouped its initial financial investments.
  • FDBT gained large-scale facilities at a good price because it accepted an obligation through an ongoing affiliation with the Texas A&M CIADM program: respond to a federal order for emergency bio manufacturing.
  • The federal government retained authority to tap these large-scale, operational facilities for emergency surge capacity.

FDBT has subsequently made significant additional investments. By spring of 2020, FDBT had grown from a workforce of 85 employees serving two customers in December 2014 to a workforce 320 employees serving 25 customers from across the globe.

FDBT operates as a subcontractor to the CIADM program to fulfill the federal emergency bio-manufacturing obligations. Outside of that emergency surge capacity obligation, FDBT operates independently from the CIADM and Texas A&M as a contract bio-manufacturer.

In July 2020, the federal government tapped into the CIADM agreement to expand manufacturing capacity and reserve that manufacturing capacity at FDBT through the end of 2021. The $265 million contract allowed FDBT to scale-up manufacturing capacity so that it could collaborate with BARDA and the makers of two COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

To prepare for the mass vaccine production, FDBT nearly doubled its local workforce and accelerated a planned facility expansion. Texas A&M helped train FDBT employees in bio-manufacturing techniques through at the university’s NCTM Workforce program.

Separately, The Texas A&M University System CIADM works with other private sector pharmaceutical partners including:

  • iBio, Inc., a plant-based biotech innovator and contract manufacturing organization, beginning in 2016.
  • Zoetis, Inc., a leading global animal health company with 10,000 employees and product sales in more than 100 countries, beginning in 2019.
  • Matica Biotechnology, Inc., a company with South Korean roots that specializes in the clinical and commercial production of cell and gene therapies, beginning in 2021.
  • Strategic Vaccines, LLC, a company developing a novel drug delivery process, beginning in 2020.

The CIADM leverages the expertise of the Texas A&M University System to help develop the state’s economy in the vital area of bio-manufacturing and medical product development — professional fields that improve health and saves lives.

William Jay Treat, the CIADM’s chief manufacturing officer, said in a 2021 interview:

“If you look at these all together, it begins to form a critical mass of people in College Station. That’s important for College Station, Bryan and the A&M University System, but it also should be important to the state of Texas, because this helps diversify our economy. What we’re doing here is demonstrating that Texas can be a good place to manufacture and can be very cost-competitive with the two coasts to manufacture material.”