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Brazos Valley looking to become biotechnology hub in Texas

More eyes are on Bryan/College Station as the current area biotechnology companies create solutions for the pandemic.

BRYAN, Texas — With a combined center of research, resources and facilities, it is no wonder biotechnology companies are keeping a close eye on the Brazos Valley. 

Twenty-three percent of projects the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation worked on in 2020 were companies involved in biotechnology.

“We’re competing at a global level," said Matt Prochaska, president and CEO of BVEDC. "Not just with other states, but also other countries around the world. We’re competing very well.” 

The reason biotechnology companies are looking at the Brazos Valley is because of the work that is currently being done. Those biotech businesses already located in the area have been creating solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Vaccines have gotten a second look from folks across the industry at Bryan/College Station," said Greg Hartman, the chief operating officer at the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

Bryan/College Station area companies like iBio and FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Texas are working on projects involving COVID-19 vaccines. These businesses also creating more jobs and getting Texas A&M and Blinn College graduates to stay. 

“They’re realizing not only is there a bunch of great scientists, a bunch of great researchers here, but there is a lot of great workforces to be taken advantage of," Hartman said.

Texas A&M University plays a huge role in the research, resources and facilities in the area. The university system offers many different facets of biotechnology, such as bioengineering, veterinary and biomedical, AgriLife, health sciences and more. 

Companies are also looking at employees who will stay long term, something else the Brazos Valley excels at. 

“It’s a good place to raise a family, housing prices are still good, it’s a place where you can set down some roots," Hartman said.

Hartman said it is not just biotechnology jobs looking at the Brazos Valley. The ripple effect from that industry potentially moving to the area could influence businesses like banks, construction companies or others to locate as well.

With new businesses, new jobs and new residents expected to pop up in the next few years, the local economy will benefit. 

“You’ve got an increase in sales tax, you’ve got an increase in home purchases and all kinds of things related to improving the state of the economy in the Brazos Valley," Prochaska said.