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Thomas Page and Team Made Texas a Biotech Attraction Point

Thomas Page and his team worked around the clock for seven months to create the key ingredients for two vaccines. They could not afford to shelter at home during the winter storm and a mismanaged power grid that hobbed Texas in mid-February. Their contribution was a worldwide effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic. They did not let the snow slow them down.

During this time, Thomas Page took to Bryan and College Station’s icy streets in his four-wheel-drive truck. He picked up all the stranded staff members to the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies facility. The company had prepared for the weather beforehand. They had booked some hotel rooms across the street for around 600 employees of theirs. This was an effort taken by them to ensure that employees can walk to work if the roads get impassable.

Even when thousands of homes and businesses in the vicinity lost power and water, the Fujifilm building did not. Yet, it was not designed to withstand days of single-digit temperatures. The water main had started to freeze, and the water pressure dropped significantly. Thomas Page said, “Our executives were taking turns shoveling snow. We were up for days just making sure everything was going to be okay.”

Through all these hard comings, the plant kept churning and fulfilling the mission envisioned by Texas A&M. The swine flu vaccine shortage during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic made the federal Department of Health and Human Services invest $400 million to establish three CIADMs. These were opened one each in Texas, North Carolina, and Maryland. This attempt has helped expand the country’s medical manufacturing capacity.

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