Weeks after Dallas’ Pegasus Park was chosen by a federal agency to become a regional hub for biotech research, Southern Methodist University has announced it will open an Institute for Computational Biosciences at the campus.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services unveiled plans in September to bring part one of its Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H, hubs to Pegasus focused on customer experience.
SMU plans to follow suit with its Institute for Computational Biosciences, which will cater to a wide array of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, education, and business, and will participate in research, development, and entrepreneurial activities.
In a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation filing, SMU revealed work will begin on its new space at the campus starting on Dec. 12. Construction costs for the project come in at about $640,000. Scheduled for completion in February, the work spans the interior finish out of existing shell space.
“Multiple SMU centers will work under the Institute, including the Center for Drug Discovery, Design, and Delivery, and the planned Center for Computational Genomics, AI Institute for Precision Health and Center for Metaverse Immersive Technologies for Health Sciences. All of these are or will be focused on bio-scientific discoveries leveraging advanced computational algorithms and technologies,” the university said.
Pegasus Park, near the UT Southwestern Medical Center campus and with easy access to both of the DFW’s major airports, offers 750,000 square feet of lab and office space at the 23-acre site, according to its website. It plans to build Bridge Labs, a 135,000-square-foot building — its fourth — next year.
“Dallas-Fort Worth is home to exceptional research institutions like ours, nationally renowned health-care facilities, promising start-up companies and funding for biotech and health-care research,” SMU Provost Elizabeth G. Loboa said in a news release. “But we are all scattered. Pegasus Park offers the opportunity to bring all of those strengths into a central location.”
Several North Texas healthcare centers and non-profit organizations, including UT Southwestern, Health Wildcatters, and Taysha Gene Therapies, have already secured space at Pegasus Park.
North Texas is already home to BioLabs, a coworking laboratory space for life science startups that encompasses more than 37,000 square feet at Pegasus Park. In July 2022, drug discovery biotech company Aakha Biologics left BioLabs’ incubator after two months for a permanent headquarters in Frisco. The following month, Dallas College and the University of Texas at Arlington received multimillion-dollar grants to help advance careers in biotechnology.