The Biomedical Future of Houston

Make room, oil companies. Houston is coming up in the science world. For decades now, if a pioneering scientist desired to work in the biomedical field, they would set their sights on San Francisco or Boston. It was practically a given. These booming metropolitan cities were traditionally the centers of commerce for biological researchers and medically-minded companies to set up headquarters and boy, do they love to keep in the geographical family. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to live anywhere but Houston, but old traditions die hard. No longer though, because through the changes over the next few years, anytime anyone thinks Houston, their next thought is likely going to be “That city obsessed with science."

TMC3 projection (Texas Medical Center/ Gensler)

In 2022, Houston is slated to open the doors to an innovative hub of biomedical science and collaboration that has been dubbed TMC 3. At the corner of Old Spanish Trail and Bertner Ave., a brand new 1.5 million square foot complex is set to be built that will usher in a new era in Houston medical science. With Mayor Sylvester Turner raising the banners to proclaim Houston the ‘Third Coast of Science’, we will begin to rival other stalwart US cities in the realm of scientific advancement. This sprawling institution will be situated in close proximity to the Texas Medical Center, which is already the largest medical center in the world. The collection of TMC hospitals sees over 10 million patients a year, performing 180,000 surgeries and delivering 25,000 babies. It boasts both the world’s largest cancer hospital and the world’s largest children’s hospital. There is no argument about it, Houston lives and breathes medical care. The massive pool of data that comes with having all of these hospitals right down the street will be the foundation of future research, giving business and researchers the tools they need to create better products and treat more people. Check out the pictures above and below to see what TMC3 is going to look like.

TMC3 projection (Texas Medical Center/ Gensler)

A lot of this research potential becomes a product or a service, and that is where the biotechnology industry comes in. The biotech world is flush with startups, and Houston has plenty of incubators that act as headquarters to hundreds of prospering businesses. An incubator is an overhead company that takes fledgling startups under their wing and facilitates the move from great idea to real business. Incubators work with all levels of entrepreneur, including students of UH (Red Labs) and Rice (Lilie Labs). For other ideas, there are incubators like Fannin Innovation Studios and JLabs, which is a direct subsidiary of medical giant Johnson and Johnson. Both companies work to support a diverse range of prominent new startups that push to bring the forefront of scientific research to the world. Clutch City Science hopes to highlight some of these companies in the future, so keep an eye out for that.

The diversity of Houston is our strongest card in the deck. We have 2.3 million people here, with some of the brightest minds in medical innovation walking down the streets and shopping in the same stores as you. One of the biggest hurdles in any medical study is finding a big enough pool of patients to provide a real, significant look at what a treatment can do. The more people in a study, the more representative of the general population it can be. With access to the magnitude of patients that Houston hospitals have, we can speed through trials with ease. I hope that one day soon, we all change our Houston identity to reflect this huge change around us. We won’t be oil and gas people much longer, but instead a cutting-edge scientific community. Embrace it. Grab the natural curiosity in you, the love of learning we all share, and run with it. Because Houstonians are about to change the world.

93 views0 comments