In recent months, businesses of all sizes have been presented with a myriad of unexpected challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to embrace virtual technology and communication in new, unforeseen ways. Conversely, in Temple, many businesses have picked up to support medical and healthcare needs. The startup and small businesses housed within Temple Health and Bioscience District (THBD) are no different – amid the crisis, they search for new ways to soldier on in pursuit of innovation.
While headlines run rampant with business obstacles and restrictions, many entrepreneurs and financial analysts advise that now is the time for entrepreneurs and startups to dive into their ambitions. The primary reasons? New and small businesses can quickly adapt to emerging trends and needs during the pandemic. These ventures also cost less to operate and market and can operate with fewer employees at lower costs. For these reasons and more, what may seem like the worst time to start a business may very well be the best.
For individuals and companies looking to make waves in healthcare and medical technology, Temple, Texas takes center stage as an ideal location to get started. Within 180 miles of more than 80 percent of Texas’ population, Temple is easily accessible from metropolitan centers like Austin, Dallas and Houston. Temple boasts large local healthcare providers and institutes of higher education, and three medical schools and 10 major healthcare systems are located within 150 miles. The tools, resources and infrastructure are ripe for medical technology innovation in Temple.
At the center of these resources is THBD. With seven tenant offices, three tenant labs, 700 square feet of common lab space, administrative offices, conference rooms, and a break room, THBD offers the equipment and space for ideas to grow. Special equipment in the common lab includes an Instron E10000 Material Testing System, a Stratasys Objet350 Connex3 3-D Printer, a Leica LMD7000 Laser Microdissection Microscope System, a NanoString nCounter Analysis System, and other tissue culture and bioscience prototyping lab equipment.
While resources in Central Texas are ample, the special combination of accessibility and this level of equipment is unique to THBD. Jason H. Huang, MD, who serves as the Chairman at Department of Neurosurgery at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center and Professor of Surgery at Texas A&M Health Science Center utilized THBD to pursue pediatric neurology research.
“The resources provided by THBD, including biomechanical testing, 3D printing, and research grants, are otherwise unavailable to physicians and researchers in the city of Temple,” says Huang.
In addition to granting physicians and researchers access to these tools, THBD serves as a well-equipped home for startups and small businesses looking to leverage Central Texas’ strong life sciences community.
Colin Dodson, Co-Founder of SiMMo3D, calls THBD home. SiMMo3D uses THBD’s 3D printer to create customized, detailed replicas for surgical training.
“Being at the THBD allowed us to grow our business faster and in less time than on our own,” says Dodson. “The great equipment they had available helped us manufacture our products at a lower cost which helped us get to market faster.”
Another tenant at THBD, Stan Marrett, president of MR3 Health, has created an infrared dermal thermometer to monitor patients’ temperature and communicate with physicians. For patients dealing with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and congestive heart failure, this cloud technology can prevent serious complications.
“We look forward to continuing our research and building upon valuable partnerships in Temple to help patients and providers manage care effectively,” says Marrett. “We are excited to be part of the Temple Health and Bioscience ecosystem and we look forward to growing our presence in Temple.”
While now may be a great time for individuals like Marrett and Dodson to take the next step on their innovative path, there is no question it is wrought with many questions and challenges. In addition to providing space and equipment, THBD waved rent for April and May 2020 to help alleviate financial strains on tenants. Additionally, the incubator launched its monthly E-Learning Series Webinar in April to help tenants and the public continue business and stay healthy during this time.
As THBD continues to offer an ideal location for small to mid-size businesses, the incubator brings Temple into focus. The world is searching for answers and healthcare is changing rapidly. Texas Governor Greg Abbott perhaps summarized the capabilities of Temple best during a recent visit:
“When you look at Baylor Scott & White, the Texas A&M Health Science Center and coupled with it the Temple Health & Bioscience District, you can see Temple is evolving into a major regional hub for medical innovation.”