President’s Perspective

Fostering innovation is an ongoing process


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)
By William F. McKeon | May 24, 2019

As I read through the pages of this issue, I continue to be struck by the innovations created and implemented in the Texas Medical Center. Seeing so much innovation in a single issue highlights the talent, creativity and dedication to patients that make this place unlike any other.

When I first arrived at the Texas Medical Center six years ago, the incubation of new technologies, medical devices and therapies was occurring independently at each institution. In many cases, physicians, engineers and researchers pursued their work in cramped facilities, often with little funding and support available to nurture their early-stage ideas and prototypes.

At the same time, a different story played out in places such as Boston, San Francisco and Chicago. In those cities, innovators enjoyed access to critical resources such as high-end facilities, dedicated staff and venture funding. Creative public-private partnerships supported the development of these hubs.

Here at the Texas Medical Center, we recognized we had enormous talent, including more than 120,000 employees dedicated to advancing clinical care. We knew our greatest opportunity to foster innovation was to centralize our efforts. We provided our partners with the resources they needed to unleash their talent. They were empowered to cultivate and accelerate new products and therapies to advance care.

First, we identified the ideal place to build the TMC Innovation Institute. With millions of dollars of investment, we transformed a Nabisco cookie factory into the largest life sciences incubator in the United States. Next, we recruited a talented team to support entrepreneurs on their journey to advance care. Then, we established the $25 million TMC Venture Fund, which bolsters the very best of these companies and helps them move to the next stage of development.

But that wasn’t the final step. In fact, there is no final step at all. Fostering our innovation ecosystem is an ongoing process. Every day, we work to position our community as the worldwide destination for the development of next-generation treatments.

The Texas Medical Center is proud to have mentored and supported more than 250 companies since undertaking this effort. The momentum continues to build as we attract the very best companies from around the world.




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