NASA’s Johnson Space Center bioastronautics program is a key to the region’s strength in bioscience. In July 2007, NASA announced that it had exercised a $294 million option to extend a contract with Wylie Laboratories Inc. of Houston to support the Space Life Sciences Directorate at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The option extends the initial contract, dated May 1, 2003, to April 30, 2011. A second option, if exercised, would extend the contract to April 30, 2013, making the total potential value of the contract $973 million over the 10-year period.
Wyle Laboratories is the lead contractor, and its partners include the principal contractor Lockheed Martin Space Operations, Barrios Technology, Bastion Technologies, Enterprise Advisory Services Inc. (EASI), MEI Technologies Inc., and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
Under the bioastronautics contract, according to a NASA news release dated July 2, 2007, Wyle's work supports the International Space Station, Space Shuttle, Constellation, and the Human Research programs. Wylie maintains readiness of space and life sciences-related facilities and laboratories; provides services for program integration, habitability and environmental factors; human adaptation and countermeasures; space medicine; flight hardware; and human research activities.
The region’s high-tech work force, approximately 22,000 employees in aerospace, software and computer service and biotechnology, attracts many new, high technology and bioscience companies. The strategic location of Bay Area Houston, between the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the Texas Medical Center, also spurs growth in these business sectors.
Biotechnology’s role in the Bay Area Houston region is supported by diverse initiatives including medical center grants and contracts, independent venture start-ups and aerospace spin-offs.
The emergence of contracts between UTMB and NASA researchers is catapulting science to new levels in vaccines, drug discovery and the preferential stimulation of cells. The International Space Station research platform allows for long-term, continuous research that will move toward space production of marketable healthcare products.
Bioscience and biotechnology represent a strong technology cluster for Bay Area Houston with more than two times the national average activity. There are approximately 2,900 people employed in Bay Area Houston’s bio sector. There is a concentrated representation of medical device, biometrics and basic bioresearch operations in the area. With just 4.5 percent of total Houston jobs, Bay Area Houston has a high concentration of biotechnology jobs – 15 percent of all bio jobs in Houston.
|This firm designs, manufactures and markets the vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) Therapy System, an implantable medical device for the treatment of epilepsy. Cyberonics is conducting investigational clinical studies of VNS therapy as a potential treatment in depression, anxiety disorders, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other neurological disorders. For more information, please visit Cyberonics' Web site.|
|ELS||ELS is a software developer, data base and consulting services firm. Its solutions help companies create, capture, and control vital customer business information. ELS is the only company that delivers the critical information companies need. When you align yourself with ELS, you are leveraging the most current innovations in technologies with dedicated IT professionals. ELS' solutions are supported by a certified technical support organization. For more information, please visit ELS' Web site.|
|National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)||NSBRI is a consortium of institutions working with NASA to solve the health problems related to long-duration space travel. The institution funds 95 research and education projects at more than 70 institutions in 22 states. NSBRI scientists are developing countermeasures and remote-treatment technologies to promote health on long missions. These developments will impact treatments for conditions on Earth such as osteoporosis, muscle wasting, sleep disorders and cardiovascular problems. Research teams address bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular changes, human performance, immunology, infection, balance and orientation problems, medical technologies, psychosocial factors, radiation effects, nutrition, fitness and rehabilitation. For more information, please visit NSBRI's Web site.|
|Oceaneering International Inc.||Oceaneering offers complete solutions for astronaut and robotic equipment, telescience and biotechnology products, thermal carriers, automated material processing, human life support technologies, space logistics services, and spacecraft assembly and repair. For more information, please visit Oceaneering's Web site.|
|Wyle Laboratories Life Sciences Systems & Services||As one of the nation’s leading engineering firms specializing in high tech testing, life sciences and technical services, Wyle provides a diverse range of services and products to aerospace, military, commercial and government customers. Wyle’s Life Sciences division, for the past 35 years, has been providing medical research and operations support and space qualified hardware to NASA, the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and numerous international space partners. Wyle is the recognized leader in life sciences, biomedical research, and specialized space flight hardware development. For more information, please visit Wyle's Web site.|
Other bioscience companies in the Bay Area Houston region include: Advanced Digital Imaging Research, Aircraft Belts, Cardionics, Celdyne Corp., Cyrospace, Diagnostics Systems Laboratories, Idev Technologies, IsoTex Diagnostics, Nuerogenesis, Nuerosurg Technologies Inc., Spin Diagnostics Inc., and Vascular Technologies International Inc.
The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership has developed a close alliance with the BioHouston initiative to help foster the growth of the bioscience industry in our region.
BioHouston's mission is to create an environment that will stimulate technology transfer and the commercialization of research, making the Houston region a global competitor in the life sciences. The new therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices now being discovered will not only improve lives but also change the way of life.
At BioHouston, the three main areas of focus have been (A) fostering entrepreneurship, (B) increasing access to capital for the developing companies and (C) support for the life science cluster.
To view newsletters or information on what is going on with BioHouston, please click here.