AUSTIN, Texas — A collaborative group of more than 50 organizations in the academic, public and private sectors has formed the Texas Global Health Security Innovation Consortium (TEXGHS). Organized by Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) at The University of Texas at Austin, the consortium will coordinate efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and future pandemics by supporting innovators working toward pandemic readiness, response, recovery and resiliency.
TEXGHS is positioned to spearhead the creation and long-term success of a health security innovation ecosystem in Texas where equitable, inclusive solutions launch locally and grow globally. The initial focus of the consortium is the coordination of current resources in the Austin innovation ecosystem, and that will be followed by a statewide expansion to develop additional capacity to expedite research, development, commercialization, workforce development and manufacturing at the intersection of health security and technology.
TEXGHS is already supporting a variety of pilot projects due to the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are working with innovators across a range of areas including mass vaccination systems, large-scale decontamination, PPE education through gamification, and community contact tracing,” said Dr. Lisa McDonald, director of health care at Austin Technology Incubator and co-founder of PandemicTech. “We are also in the process of defining focus areas for future pilot projects to align with statewide goals.We are committed to understanding health security priorities at the community, city and state government levels, and exploring how best our efforts can support those priorities.”
PandemicTech, an Austin-based virtual incubator that supports innovators on the front lines of fighting pandemics, provided seed sponsorship for the formation of TEXGHS.
The consortium’s broad goal is to improve global health security, which the 2019 Sydney Statement on Global Health Security describes as “a state of freedom from the scourge of infectious disease, irrespective of origin or source.”
COVID-19 is the latest pandemic to impact humanity on a global scale. Like other pandemics, it directly and indirectly affects the health, work, finances, stress and overall well-being of local communities. Studies have also shown that pandemics, including COVID-19, tend to exacerbate existing health inequalities, disproportionately impacting low-income populations.
COVID-19 has underscored the importance of global health security and the need to build more resilient communities, ready to respond to infectious disease threats and quickly return to normalcy. Many researchers and entrepreneurs are now working to address this timely need. TEXGHS will lead a collaborative and well-coordinated effort across consortia to facilitate a quicker and more effective response for ongoing and future infectious disease threats.
TEXGHS will guide coordinated efforts among members, including company participation across incubator and accelerator programs, investment , institutional research collaboration, cooperation among networks of global health security experts, representation to local, state and federal governments, resource mapping across the innovation ecosystem, prototyping, engineering, and legal and regulatory support.
“Our intention is to be at the forefront of this issue in Texas, and to be prepared for what we anticipate will be significant interest in funding programs targeting pandemic preparedness and response,” said Dr. Andrew Nerlinger, co-founder of PandemicTech and venture partner at Bill Wood Ventures. “The current COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the immense scope of this challenge.”
Founding TEXGHS Ecosystem Partners include the following:
Austin Chamber of Commerce
Austin Community College Bioscience Incubator
Austin Healthcare Council
Austin Innovation Group
Austin Technology Incubator, The University of Texas at Austin
Capital City Innovation
Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin
Drug Dynamics Institute, College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin
Global Health Security Network
Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Medical Innovation Collaborative
The Neutrino Donut LLC
Nursing Innovation Hub
Tech Ranch Austin
The Temple Health & Bioscience District
Texas Advanced Computing Center, The University of Texas at Austin
Texas Innovation Center, The University of Texas at Austin
TherapeUTex, College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin
TEXGHS is recruiting partner organizations to join the consortium, as well as startup companies interested in receiving support to commercialize solutions at the interface of health security and technology.