On November 7th, I was fortunate enough to attend and speak on a panel at the 2023 Texas Life Science Forum held at Rice University in Houston.


This was the first time I had attended this event.


Put on by BioHouston and the Rice Alliance, this event was very well attended, well-structured, and productive for life science companies of all sizes, building owners, market analysts, investors, brokers, and service providers. It was inspiring to hear pitches from start-ups, witness how AI is innovating research in the market, hear from companies like Charles River on how, as a CRO, they can support in-vivo research objectives for small biotechs, and then best of all, get insights from my panel on best practices for building a new facility.


I have been actively involved in and studying this growing life science community in Texas for the past 2.5 years. Because the state is so large, the key geographic markets vary significantly. Here’s my perspective on how they break down (mind you, I should probably leave this to the brokers):


Houston: Home to the world’s largest medical center, Houston has a strong institutional research base with start-ups trying to consistently spin out. JLabs, Alexandria, and Hines all offer space in support of these start-ups. So, being ripe for research is evident, but the low cost of power and land incentives also drive a robust manufacturing base. CMO’s and CDMO’s exist in this community with the likes of Lonza, Fuji (an hour away in College Station), VGXI, and Cellipont. Having been dominated by the oil and gas industry for so long, life sciences are relatively new to the market and one of the fastest growing segments. As such, the potential here seems greater than in the other Texas markets.

Austin/San Antonio: In a market dominated by tech (Google, Apple, and Samsung’s multi-billion dollar semiconductor investment), the Central Texas life science community tends to fly under the radar. Austin is home to a number of medical device and diagnostic companies. The labor market and UT outlay really makes for an excellent cross-industry funnel with electronics and semiconductor manufacturing to the growth of the medical device sector. Companies like Natera and iGenomeDx are on the forefront of really defining the growth of this maturing, younger market.

Dallas/Fort Worth: The North Texas community is also up and coming but mostly smothered by the university and healthcare systems. The UT Southwestern Medical Center alone is enormous and the simple availability for quality private life science space is really unavailable outside perhaps, Biolabs at Pegasus Park. This heavily research-driven market is wide open to developers that understand how to develop and operate flexible, cutting edge research space. NexPoint is one developer with a head start. Other than that, all eyes are on Fort Worth, to see how they incentivize companies to develop alongside the coming massive Texas A&M development.

To make Texas that much more appealing, the State just passed Proposition 10, a constitutional amendment that exempts equipment or inventory held by manufacturers of medical and biomedical products from personal property taxation. That alone evens the playing field for Texas, adding to the State’s known advantage in being able to recruit life science companies from all over the country.

Now, I consider Intersect experts in life science project management. Some of what we do so well is advocate for the owner, closely oversee budgets and schedule, ensure quality across the life cycle of a project, and we bring a strong technical background to be able to think 2-steps ahead. So, if you’ve been following Intersect at all over the past 2 years, you know we’re hot over this market. We’ve been developing relationships all across the state, with the message to say we’re here, we’re a resource, and we want to see your projects succeed.


-By Mike Barbera

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