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City Loans Texas Biomedical Research Institute $250,000 To Build Lab

Courtesy Texas Biomedical Research Institute
A scientist researches a deadly pathogen in the current Texas Biomedilal Research Institute's BSL-4 Lab

The San Antonio City Council has voted to loan $250,000 to the Texas Biomedical Research Institute for a new high-security lab.  

Bio-safety level 4 labs, or BSL-4 labs, research the deadliest pathogens like Ebola and Marburg.

The handful of labs in the United States have become increasingly in demand. A 2014 study showed outbreaks of infectious diseases had grown exponentially in the past thirty years.

Texas Biomed says it has turned away around 40 million dollars in BSL-4 research work the past four years as a result of lacking capacity.

Texas Biomed CEO Larry Schlesinger says they have had a waitlist of projects for several years and need to expand their 1200 square foot lab to develop more vaccines and therapies.

"Being able to increase capacity for the institute going forward is really vital to the institute's mission as well as to the needs of the country," says Schlesinger

Texas Biomed announced it was moving forward with a new BSL-4 lab in June. 

The city's clawback provisions for the loan include maintaining 43 full-time positions for the lab and creating nine additional jobs. The zero-percent interest loan is to be repaid if Texas Biomed receives federal funds that can be used for prior expenses. If federal funds fail to come through, the loan will be forgiven and converted into a grant.

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive