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Innovation is a “process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that provides value.” The gyroscope, the iPhone, the Segway—each spark wonderment and serve as reminders of our limitless ability to reach beyond convention.

The Texas Medical Center has a rich history of discovery and invention. Many innovations in clinical care were pioneered on our remarkable campus and translated through education to physicians throughout the world.

Today, an entirely new set of health care tools have arrived that did not exist 20 years ago. Genomics, stem cells, micro-sensors, nanotubes and cellular technologies offer new opportunities to move from reactive, palliative care to preemptive, real-time personalized medicine.

Most discoveries or advances in care are rarely the result of a single individual effort, but rather derived from a collision of people sharing ideas. These engines of creativity have changed throughout history, but have all created space for the exchange of ideas.

Today, incubators and accelerators have become the ideal venue to not only share ideas, but also dedicate resources to nourish startup companies.

As a result of the TMC Strategic Plan, innovation was determined as the greatest area of opportunity for driving collaboration across the medical center. The top priority was to develop dedicated space for our member institutions. TMCx, a new health care accelerator for the Texas Medical Center, was built and opened in late 2014.

The TMCx accelerator is unique in that the startup companies are not required to give up any equity to participate in the program. All TMCx services— including rent, a comprehensive curriculum, a rich network of advisors, and a dedicated team of experts focused on supporting the startups’ growth—are provided for free to companies selected to participate. The most compelling aspect of TMCx is that it resides on the campus of the largest collection of medical minds and assets in the world.

Earlier this year, 22 startup companies were selected from a pool of over 260 applicants to join the accelerator program. The inaugural class of startups is comprised of life science, medical device and digital health companies from around the country, and the world.

The excitement and support across the medical center is palpable as everyone recognizes that we have the opportunity to make Texas the premier destination for life sciences. These are early days and we have much to do, but the “wildcatter spirit” is alive and kicking at the Texas Medical Center.

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