Text of Gov. Perry's Remarks at BIO International Convention

By:  Rick Perry
Date: June 19, 2012
Location: Boston, MA

It's always a pleasure to be here in Boston, especially to talk about a topic that's of such a great importance for so many across this country and around the globe.

If you're interested in high-paying jobs or a healthier future, biotechnology is going to have a major impact in your life.

Speaking personally, I love the fact that Texas is right in the middle of this discussion.

One of the great things about Texas performing so well in a study such as this is that it gives us a chance to knock down a stereotype or two.

I know when people think of Texas, they tend to think cowboy hats, great barbecue and a gushing oil well in everyone's backyard.

Now, it's true we're very proud of our role as America's energy leader, and even prouder about the barbecue, but beyond that, we've taken major steps over the years to diversify our economy and those steps have helped lead us here today.

Anyone who's been through a couple "boom or bust" cycles in any economy can see the need for economic diversification.

Anyone who's ever watched a family member bravely fight cancer, struggle with diabetes, heart disease or another debilitating illnesses, realizes the need for aggressive research into treatments and cures.

Texas' biotech sector was born out of a desire to meet both of those needs.

Today, the Texas biotechnology sector is poised to become our state's next great industry, and we've got the workforce, talent, universities and business climate to make Texas a leader in biotech research, development and commercialization.

Texas has always been a natural fit for innovative and creative people trying to accomplish what hasn't been done.

From the development of the integrated circuit at Texas Instruments in the 1950s, through the heart of the space race at NASA's Johnson Space to the life-saving treatments and technologies being developed at MD Anderson, Texas has been home to cutting-edge ideas, a place where the technology of the day and some good old fashioned common sense can come together and create something new.

Of course, if you want to see the main reason our biotech sector is prospering, it has to start with our business climate.

Biotech companies are, after all, businesses, and we've worked hard to create an economic climate where companies from any sector can succeed and grow.

Recently, Chief Executive Magazine named Texas the country's "Best State for Business" for the eighth consecutive year.

And we're committed to making it nine in a row next year.

That publication is far from being alone in its praise of the Lone Star State.

Texas has received accolades from media outlets like USA Today, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Site Selection Magazine.

All are singing the praises of our business climate, a climate that remains a major reason biotech firms are choosing Texas today.

They see that we've made a place where they won't be hindered by exorbitant taxes wrapped up in bureaucratic red tape or find themselves at the mercy of predatory attorneys, seeking to make steady money off extensive, drawn-out court cases.

They see that we've made a place with a world-class workforce that's capable of fulfilling whatever needs an employer has, whether that's producing a life-saving vaccine, selling a product line or securing equipment necessary to complete the task at hand.

In short, they see we've created a fertile climate where innovators are free to create and nurture their ideas and where government stays out of the way.

That's good for any type of company, and it's particularly good for innovative young companies seeking firm footing during their early years.

However, that's not all Texas has had to offer over the last decade.

We have invested in programs that have helped spur a massive amount of research in our state and also helped commercialize that research.

Among the first I should mention is the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.

This fund is a tool we created seven years ago, serving two main purposes.

One, it helps attract top-flight researchers from across the country and around the world through grants and grant-matching funds, and two, it enables us to invest in promising young companies that might otherwise flee to the coasts in search of easier access to funds from venture or angel capitalists.
It's succeeded on a massive scale in both of its functions.

Through it, the state has invested more than $177 million in grant-matching and research superiority funds in Texas universities, putting some of the top researchers in the world to work on projects that will improve communities, cure diseases, and save lives.

As just one example, the ETF enabled us to recruit noted researcher Dr. Darwin Prockup and his team to Texas, where today they're hard at work studying adult stem cells.

This is a particularly exciting area of study, and we're working hard to make Texas an epicenter for its development and commercialization.

Among the hundreds of adult stem cell clinical trials that have been, or are currently being conducted in Texas, researchers have successfully treated heart attack and stroke victims and are making progress in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Just this year, Dr. Doris Taylor, a world leader in adult stem cell science, moved to Houston to continue her research at the Texas Heart Institute.

Beyond attracting researchers, the fund has invested in 133 early-stage companies, more than $169 million, helping ensure that innovations created in Texas remain here throughout their production cycle from the laboratory all the way to the marketplace.

I know I don't have to tell you all the value of having those sorts of companies in your state, but in terms of dollars and cents, I'm proud to say the value of our portfolio is already worth more than the sum of our original investments.

It's also brought in $4 in private and public sector matching funds for every $1 we've invested.

That is real, tangible progress.

Two years after the Emerging Tech Fund got its start, I called on Texas to take another step into the biotech world with the creation of a different program, this one specifically targeting cancer.

So, in 2007, Texas lawmakers passed, and Texas voters approved, the creation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas or CPRIT , a $3 billion effort focused on defeating cancer.

CPRIT has funded 387 awards, totaling more than $670 million for cancer research, commercialization and prevention in academic institutions, non-profit organizations and private companies.

Including matching funds, that's more than $900 million pumped into the fight against cancer in Texas.
Lastly, although it isn't specifically targeted to biotech or high-tech companies, I should also mention our Texas Enterprise Fund, which is one of the most effective "deal closing" funds in the country.

Through those deals, we've been able to attract some of the most recognizable companies in the country to Texas for expansion or relocation, including Apple, Caterpillar and Facebook.

Since its inception, we've invested more than $467 million to bring projects generating more than 63,000 new jobs and more than $21.4 billion in capital investment to Texas.

More than $98 million of those dollars have gone to biotech-related projects, like Medtronic, Becton Dickinson, Scott & White and Hanger Orthopedic.

As you may have heard just yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has selected Texas A&M as one of only three sites in the nation for a Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing.

This national center will play a key role in securing our country from bio-terrorism and global pandemic through the rapid development and manufacturing of vaccines and therapies to protect human life.

It will also further solidify Texas as a vital part of the ongoing development of life-saving vaccines and treatments.

This will help ensure Texas remains a top destination for researchers from around the world and bring in billions in outside research dollars for decades to come.

This latest development was only possible because of the extensive investments we've made in biotech over the past decade.

Again, we've sounded the call for those willing to engineer new solutions to the most complex problems facing science and medicine, and many researchers have answered, researchers like an individual with us today, Dr. Brett Giroir, vice chancellor for Strategic Initiatives at the Texas A&M University System, and the principle investigator for this new center.

If you want the most up-to-date information on what this massive project entails, I encourage you to talk to Dr. Giroir.

All these efforts have created a need for more students prepared to study at our universities and work in our laboratories.

To that end, we've placed a strong emphasis on STEM education in our schools, with the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative starting in 2005.

Under that initiative, we've expanded high-tech education for untold numbers of students and created 65 T-STEM Academies that serve over 35,000 students annually.

These students will join a workforce ready to fill any job required by any high-tech employer, and will likely become employers of their own.

Taken together, all of these efforts have created an environment rich with potential for biotech companies and other high-tech firms with vision and the determination to make that vision a reality.

As a community, Texas is proud of the strides we've made in developing our high-tech economy and ranking so highly in Battelle's report indicates we're heading in the right direction.

We're far from finished, however.
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 here in the Boston Corridor with the minds at MIT and Harvard supplemented by the venture capitalists and economic strength of New England.

It's a role that's been filled by Silicon Valley with innovators at Berkley and Stanford supported by the West Coast VC engine.

In Texas, we're close to reaching that level with world-class research being conducted and put to work at our universities and at any number of startup companies stretching from Houston to El Paso, and all points in between.

Once again, I thank you all for having me here and for recognizing what we're doing in Texas.

Anytime any of you would like to come down and see what we're up to first-hand and maybe have a little of that barbecue I was talking about, be sure to give my office a call.

May God bless you and, through you, may he continue to bless this nation we love so much.

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