It's a great day to be in Houston, and I'd like to take this opportunity to officially welcome Dr. DePinho and his inspired team to the Great State of Texas.
This announcement is great news, not just for us here in the Lone Star State, but for anyone who's ever battled cancer, or lost a friend or loved one to this terrible disease.
Here in Texas, we've had our sights set on conquering cancer for quite a while.
In 2007, I called on the legislature to help make Texas the home for a next wave of treatments combating cancer, and later that year, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas was passed and approved by Texas voters.
In the years since, CPRIT has funded more than 350 awards, totaling more than $570 million for cancer research, commercialization and prevention in academic institutions, non-profit organizations and private companies.
Including matching funds, that's more than $800 million pumped into the fight against cancer here in Texas.
That's important because I believe Texas represents a unique crossroads, a place where academic research can come together with a vibrant private sector and tap into a steadily-growing bioscience sector that's just scratching the surface of its potential in this state.
We've taken steps over the past 10 years to nurture that sector, first, by maintaining a business climate that is consistently ranked as the best in the nation.
Our combination of low taxes, predictable regulations, fair courts and world-class workforce has helped create an economic stronghold that's been the envy of the nation the last decade, and a boon for innovative young companies seeking firm footing during their early years.
Through CPRIT and our Emerging Technology Fund, we've attracted many of the best thinkers from around the world and put them to work on projects that will improve communities, cure diseases, and save lives.
Indeed, I believe Texas holds the potential of becoming the nation's next high-tech hub, a center of innovation, collaboration and competition for the next wave of all technology development and manufacturing.
It's a role that's been filled by the Boston Corridor with the minds at MIT and Harvard supplemented by the venture capitalists and economic strength of New England.
Many of our newly-minted Texans here today can tell you about what they were able to accomplish there.
It's a role that's been filled by Silicon Valley with innovators at Berkley and Stanford supported by the West Coast VC engine.
Here in Texas, we're close to reaching that level with world-class research being conducted and put to work at our universities, here at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, at any number of startup companies stretching from Houston to El Paso, and all points in between.
We're creating a culture that will help ensure that great ideas that are born in Texas stay in Texas from the laboratory to the marketplace.
Through the ETF, the state has invested nearly $178 million in grant-matching and research superiority funds to Texas universities, helping attract some of the top researchers in their respective fields here to the Lone Star State.
That influx of talent, dedication and expertise is reshaping the Texas of the future and bringing our state closer to the day when it's the very first place people think of when they think of life-changing, and life-saving, innovations.
Today's announcement is the culmination of a lot of planning and a lot of hard work and represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts against cancer.
I can still remember the call from Gene, telling me this center was a possibility, and I can't tell you how excited I am to see it becoming a reality.
Dr. Draetta and Dr. Chin, let me assure you that there's no place in the country, or the world, that's a better fit for your research team than MD Anderson.
This place, and the people who make it special, live and breathe innovation, and boast a "can-do" spirit that's as invigorating as it is addictive.
I look forward to hearing about the great things that will be happening soon at the Institute for Applied Cancer Science.
Through the labors here, we'll have a better understanding of this disease, a better route to take promising new drugs from the laboratory to the doctor's office, and a much better chance at destroying cancer in our lifetime.
Once again, I welcome you all to Texas, and thank you for your noble efforts.
May God bless you and, through you, may He continue to bless the Great State of Texas.