San Antonio—GenCure, a subsidiary of life sciences nonprofit BioBridge Global, expects to open a biomanufacturing laboratory this year at a new “innovation center” that’s being developed by VelocityTX in San Antonio.
GenCure is a regenerative medicine-focused organization that accepts and stores bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, which it uses to produce adult stem cells for research. BioBridge plans to lease 21,000 square feet of space for GenCure at the new four-acre VelocityTX complex, which will also house an incubator, a military medical research facility, a hotel, a 400-space parking garage, and a six-story office building with a community space. GenCure will initially build out 6,000 square feet of clean-room production space, which can be expanded to as much as 14,000 square feet, as well as an initial 2,500 square feet for a development lab, according to a news release. The organization also plans to develop office and meeting space there.
VelocityTX announced last week it is getting a $750,000 grant and another tax incentive from the City of San Antonio for its redevelopment of the large industrial space that it plans to turn into a three-building “innovation center” for tech, life sciences, and other businesses. VelocityTX is rebuilding the complex in four phases over the course of 10 years, and says it plans to spend $227 million in total. It believes it can create about 665 jobs through the new center.
Though BioBridge is a nonprofit, it does sell products and services, such as various clinical testing and blood-related services, through its four subsidiaries, including GenCure. It recorded $24.6 million in revenue in 2016, while GenCure reported $10.7 million, according to tax documents.
GenCure considers its San Antonio expansion a second phase of its biomanufacturing program, which began in February 2018 when it opened 1,200 square feet of production space at its Northwest San Antonio headquarters. It later expanded that to 2,200 square feet. In the innovation center production space, GenCure says it will produce large numbers of consistent, high-quality, clinical-grade adult stem cells, which may be used by drug developers during human clinical trials.
GenCure first began work on developing large-scale stem cell manufacturing facilities back in 2016. It was part of a three-year, $8.9 million contract with the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium, a nonprofit created by the U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Materiel Command to fund medical research.
Stem cells can be manipulated into becoming specialized types of cells, such as muscle cells or brain cells, which could be used to repair or regenerate that type of tissue. But you need massive amounts of stem cells for the work, GenCure COO Becky Cap told Xconomy at the time.
VelocityTX is the innovation arm of nonprofit business development organization Texas Research and Technology Foundation (TRTF). The innovation center will be located just east of downtown San Antonio, a few blocks away from the Alamo. VelocityTX first announced its plans for the complex in late 2017. TRTF created VelocityTX earlier that year to provide capital, mentorship, access to manufacturing facilities, and other resources to startups and early-stage companies in San Antonio.