HOUSTON Strong market demand could result in the formation of 50 new US biotechnology firms annually. And Houston business and science leaders hope many of these firms will choose to set up in their city. But "What's missing here is the tracking of technology development and bringing it to a reality where it's a commercial product, according to Paul Frison, chief executive of the Houston Technology Center.

Will the recently announced $633 million, 64-acre Southeast Texas Biotechnology Park (STBP) remedy this deficiency? Certainly, the hope is that it will enable Houston to become a centre of biomedical research and product development, and an incubator for start-up biotechnology companies. The planned STBP will be located next to the Texas Medical Center in Houston, will take 20 years to complete and eventually employ 15,000 people working in 15 buildings. Strong biotechnology activity has already made laboratory space scarce in Houston. David...

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