Rice University is introducing a Houston-based biotech accelerator to turn medical discoveries into a business plan for manufacturing and testing for safety.
William McKeon is the President of the Texas Medical Center. He said throughout his career, he's seen research from scientists without the infrastructure to support them.
"There's so many more ideas here if people knew they had the infrastructure," he said. "And what's sad is most of the great intellectual ideas die in the intellectual offices of universities throughout this country."
Omid Veiseh is the faculty director for Rice University's Biotech Launch Pad, which includes 15,000 square feet of accelerator space. He said there's a lot more to medicine after a discovery.
"You gotta get buy-in from people that can provide the commercial capital needed, you gotta build a business plan, you gotta form an entity that can now take that discovery, do all the additional work that's necessary in terms of proving that it's safe and efficacious," he said.
Veiseh said Houston has the technology to bring discoveries to life.
"Currently, most of the biotech happens on the coast. But actually, there's no reason why it shouldn't happen here because we have the largest medical center in the world," he said. "The patients are here. There's actually quite a robust infrastructure for manufacturing therapeutics in this town."
The announcement comes while the university celebrates over 60 years since President John F. Kennedy's speech at Rice challenging the space program to land on the moon.
"It is an amazing day for us to launch our moonshot programs from Rice University," Paul Cherukuri, Rice University's vice president for innovation and member of the accelerator's advisory council, said.
Cherukuri said the accelerator is one of many programs the university is releasing that are hyper-focused on building a ‘speed and scale' innovation ecosystem across Houston.