Nov. 26, 2013
Seven years of global partnership celebrated, new international gateway agreement announced
COLLEGE STATION, Texas— Citing seven years of warm collaboration as the foundation for future partnering opportunities, The Texas A&M University System and The Research Valley Partnership (RVP) hosted Wallonia Foreign Trade and Export (AWEX) at a luncheon on Tuesday, November 12. AWEX—a public agency of Belgium representing the Export Walloon Agency and the Office for Foreign Investment—promotes foreign trade on behalf of, and facilitates foreign investment in, the Wallonia Region of Belgium.
Some twenty individuals attended the luncheon. Local representatives included Chancellor John Sharp (Texas A&M System), President/CEO Todd McDaniel (The Research Valley Partnership [RVP]), Associate Vice Chancellor for Commercialization Brett Cornwell (Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization [TTC]), Vice Chancellor for the Office of Marketing and Communications Steven Moore (Texas A&M System) and General Manager Ben Downs (Bryan Broadcasting). Press Officer Arnaud Collette and Director of Business Development and Partnerships Philippe Lachapelle, both of AWEX, escorted members of the Belgian media from L’Echo and La Libre to the event. Other attendees included representatives of the local media and corporations formed as joint partnerships between Texas A&M System and Wallonian investors to commercialize Aggie innovations abroad.
“These are the kinds of partnerships that give weight to Texas A&M’s status as a world-class university,” said Sharp, who welcomed the visitors, giving them a primer on Texas A&M System, its mission and component agencies. “They make it possible for Aggie innovations to benefit the global community. And they bring dollars back to the A&M System to keep those new ideas coming.”
At the luncheon, representatives of MaSTherCell, a Belgium-based cell therapy production company, and the RVP signed the Research Valley International Gateway™ Agreement. MaSTherCell plans to locate a production facility in Bryan/College Station with the Gateway’s assistance.
Kalon Therapeutics and Lisam America, two spin-out companies formed by TTC, are examples of successful relationships with Walloon. Both had representatives at the luncheon. Kalon is partnered with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Vaccines, headquartered in Wallonia. Recently Kalon and GSK won approval by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a $91 million influenza-vaccines manufacturing facility that will anchor the Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) in the Research Valley’s One Health Plus™ Biocorridor.
Lisam Systems, a Walloon company providing software solutions to respond to safety and regulatory aspects in chemical industries, created its American branch in Bryan, in partnership with Texas A&M System.
“The purpose for bringing these people together was twofold,” explained Cornwell. “First, we wanted to recognize the innovative and successful nature of the relationship between Texas A&M System and the Wallonia Region, which would not have been possible without AWEX’s help. And second, we wanted to celebrate the new partnership between the RVP and MaSTherCell.”
Future partnering opportunities will be facilitated by the Open Worldwide Innovation Network (OWIN), a newly formed not-for-profit membership association co-founded by AWEX, TTC, and Coway International TechTrans Co., Ltd., located in Beijing, China. OWIN encourages a global culture of innovation and entrepreneurship between its members and via its member markets by coordinating, monitoring, and facilitating the transfer of technologies and commercialization activities between member organizations and their respective global markets.
“Sometimes speaking different languages can make understanding one another difficult,” acknowledged McDaniel. “But some ideas are universal: ideas like innovation, international entrepreneurship, and a warm, trusting relationship between partners. These have been, and will continue to be, the keys to making these collaborations successful.”
More information on Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization can be found here: http://vimeo.com/77626153/
About the A&M System
The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $3.3 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, nine agencies and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates more than 120,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research expenditures exceed $780 million and help drive the state’s economy.
Contact: Steven B. Moore