Texas Medical Center forms ‘BioBridge’ with United Kingdom

By Christine Hall | September 12, 2018

The Texas Medical Center and the Department for International Trade in the United Kingdom formed a landmark BioBridge agreement Wednesday to provide a gateway for the advancement of life sciences between the two entities in the areas of innovation and research.

The BioBridge, which included more than 18 months of preparation by the government team at the British Consulate General in Houston, establishes a thriving marketplace for innovative life science technologies in the world’s largest medical city and acts as a two-way “innovation superhighway” for emerging technologies at every stage of the innovation life cycle. This will offer UK companies a unique package that will help boost exports and drive scientific innovation.

“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,” William McKeon, president and CEO of TMC, said in a statement. “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.”

This is TMC’s second BioBridge; the first was formed with Australia in 2016. Since then, five startups from Australia have come to Houston to participate in the TMCx accelerator program.

The newest BioBridge also will allow for research collaboration, particularly in the development and advancement of genomics and cancer treatments, as well as provide shared curriculum from accelerators tailored to startup companies from both countries.

“The UK-TMC BioBridge will allow British life science businesses to house themselves in the TMC Innovation Institute where they will have access to a network of advisors, investors and medical experts throughout the world’s largest medical city,” McKeon tweeted following the announcement.

Collaboration is happening already and the interaction could include possible partnerships between TMC institutions and health care trusts in the UK cities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester.

So far, three UK companies are involved in the BioBridge: Paxman Scalp Cooling, which specializes in cooling therapies for help breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and has an office in the TMC Innovation Institute; SurePulse Medical and FirstKind Ltd. are part of the current TMCx medical device program.

“The UK is a world leader in health care innovation,” Baroness Rona Fairhead, UK Minister of State for the Department for International Trade, said in a statement. “This partnership is clear evidence of the opportunities that exist for our companies in exciting markets such as the United States.”