William F. McKeon is the president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center.
William F. McKeon is president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center (photo: Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle)
President’s Perspective

President’s Perspective: “Collabatition” at the Texas Medical Center

President’s Perspective: “Collabatition” at the Texas Medical Center

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William F. McKeon is the president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center.

Here’s a term you might not have heard: collabatition.

Across the world, institutions that were once rivals are advancing discovery by doing something that might seem counterintuitive. They’re collaborating, even as they remain in competition with each other. Hence, “collabatition.”

We see emerging examples of collabatition in Boston, where Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology joined Los Angeles-based philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad to launch the Broad Institute in 2004 to advance genomics research. Interestingly, the experts involved maintain their posi-tions at their respective universities while dedicating a portion of their time to the Broad Institute. Similarly, in New York City, a consortium of medical, academic and industry leaders came together to establish the New York Genome Center in 2011 to leverage their collective expertise.

At the Texas Medical Center, historically, we have not been recognized for our collaboration, but this has changed considerably in recent years. Five years ago, and for the first time in our 70-year history, all TMC CEOs and executive leadership came together to form a strategic plan.

Over the better part of a year, the leadership developed a solid plan that identified six key areas that would add value to all institutions and help us all compete on a global scale. The strategic planning committee approved six areas of collaboration:

1. TMC Innovation Institute
2. TMC Health Policy Institute
3. TMC Clinical Research Institute
4. TMC Regenerative Medicine Institute
5. TMC Genomics Institute
6. A new collaborative City Center for Translational Research (TMC3)

The TMC Innovation Institute has been extremely successful, becoming the epicenter for innovation for medical device and digital health startups.

Our partnership with Johnson & Johnson has brought the largest life sciences company in the world to the Texas Medical Center. We built JLABS @ TMC, 30,000 square feet of space dedicated to life sciences startups. Johnson & Johnson leadership were so pleased with their initial experiences that they will soon open their only Center for Device Innovation in the world at the Texas Medical Center.

The Health Policy Institute brings all of the policy experts together from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, Rice University, University of Houston, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, among other partners. At a time when the nation’s health policies are changing rapidly, the Health Policy Institute has been an anchor, serving as a valuable resource for Houston and beyond as health leaders try to make sense of the shifting policy landscape. This fall, it welcomed some of the country’s most well-respected and best-known health policy experts at a forum attended by 250 people who were eager to learn more about ways to reduce health care costs. We expect the Health Policy Institute to continue to be a valued source of information (and innovation) on this issue and other pressing policy concerns.

We will soon open the TMC Clinical Research Institute, which will provide industry a unified “front door” to the largest research platform on the planet. This platform will accelerate research and access to the latest technologies and therapies to our patients.

The TMC Regenerative Medicine Institute will transform new approaches to disease into clinical practice, while the TMC Genomics Institute will create the world’s premier clinical genomics program.

Finally, the TMC3 collaborative translational research campus is deep in the planning phase and awaiting approval by the boards of the founding institutions, including Baylor College of Medicine, Texas A&M University and The University of Texas System. The TMC3 campus will serve as the cornerstone of our collaboration and further distinguish the Texas Medical Center as a global leader in life sciences.

For 70 years, the Texas Medical Center has thrived, as competition among members spawned world-changing innovation. But just imagine what the next 70 years will hold if we maintain that competitive spirit while using our resources to work toward shared goals. Collabatition in medicine is no longer an East Coast phenomenon. I’m excited to see what the future holds as we pursue a new way of doing business here in Texas.





President and Chief Executive Officer,
Texas Medical Center

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