Texas FreshAIR event to promote partnerships between UT health institutions and pharmaceutical industry

AUSTIN – In an effort to proactively foster collaborations with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, the University of Texas System and its six health institutions will hold the inaugural Texas FreshAIR event Sept. 25-26 in Austin.

Faculty from the system’s health institutions will pitch their research and network with executives from the country’s top pharmaceutical companies during the conference, set for the AT&T Executive Education Conference Center, 1900 University Avenue on the UT Austin campus.

Featured speakers include UT System Chancellor and renowned transplant surgeon Francisco Cigarroa, M.D. Anderson President and internationally recognized cancer researcher Ronald DePinho and several of the nation’s premier researchers from UT’s health institutions.

FreshAIR (Academia Industry Roundtable) was developed by the UT System’s Office of Health Affairs to foster partnerships between biotech and pharma industries and the extensive portfolio of UT researchers, said Patricia Hurn, vice chancellor for research and innovation at the UT System.

During the networking reception, starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, some 75 UT researchers will have the opportunity to present their work. About 250 industry experts and researchers are expected to attend the event.

“The primary goals are to share with the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries the innovative science arising from UT health science institutions and to provide a venue for forging collaborative research partnerships,” Hurn said. “Ultimately, we hope these collaborations will lead to the development of drugs that could benefit society.”

The UT System is one of the nation’s largest academic enterprises, with a $14.6 billion operating budget and $3.1 billion in sponsored research programs.

“Texas FreshAIR is a unique initiative that provides Pfizer with potential opportunities to access scientific expertise across all six health science institutions under the UT System umbrella,” said Ron Newbold, vice president of strategic research partnerships, external R & D innovation at Pfizer. “To engage with top-notch faculty from these highly regarded institutions across Texas at the same time and in the same place is an efficient and novel way to share insights and explore potential collaborations.”

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2012 enrollment of roughly 216,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $14.6 billion (FY 2014) including $3.1 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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