Several UK healthcare trusts are in talks with institutions at the TMC (pictured) in Houston
Several UK healthcare trusts are in talks with institutions at the TMC (pictured) in Houston
Richard Bell

UK builds ‘BioBridge’ with Texas Medical Center to boost life sciences

A new agreement between the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the world’s largest medical complex is set to boost to the UK’s life sciences industry.

The ‘BioBridge’ collaboration is with the Texas Medical Center (TMC) – a facility housing 61 innovators, including America’s top cancer hospital.

As part of the deal with the DIT, announced this morning (September 12), the TMC will offer UK businesses a unique package to help boost exports and drive scientific innovation.

British life sciences firms will be able to set up at the TMC, based in Houston, and access a network of advisors, investors and medical experts.

It is hoped that companies will collaborate on research into a range of medical issues, such as the development of cancer treatments and genomics.

Healthcare trusts across Leeds, Cambridge and Manchester are now in talks with institutions at the TMC to formalise partnerships.

But three UK firms have already made use of the BioBridge.

Paxman Scalp Cooling has set up a subsidiary in Houston. The company specialises in cooling therapies for breast cancer patients as they undergo chemotherapy.

Two others, SurePulse Medical and FirstKind Limited, are in the talks with the TMC to present to hundreds of hospitals, investors and industry leaders at ‘Demonstration Days’ in Texas.

The Minister of State for the Department for International Trade, Baroness Fairhead, said: “The UK is a world leader in healthcare innovation, and this partnership is clear evidence of the opportunities that exist for our companies in exciting markets such as the US.

“Our recently launched Export Strategy will help even more British life sciences companies to reach new markets – bringing together some of the brightest minds in science to advance the availability of innovative healthcare across the globe.”

William McKeon, president and chief exec of the TMC, commented: “This truly unique collaboration is a testament to the Texas Medical Center’s and the United Kingdom’s joint commitment to further fostering the cross-pollination of ideas, people, and innovation in the life sciences.

“We believe this new relationship will serve to create a tactical alliance between TMC and a nation that has been at the forefront of substantial medical innovation for centuries.”

Former government Chief Scientist Sir Mark Walport, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation, said of the BioBridge deal: “This unique opportunity will prove to be a valuable asset to UK and US healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly on the advancement of medical treatments for people all over the world.

“With the recognition of the UK as a leader in research and development, I hope to see further collaboration between the Texas Medical Center and the UK in the near future.”

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