The BioScience Research Collaborative of Rice University and Alexandria Real Estate Equities are beginning a discussion on a potential future collaboration, according to President David Leebron.

The BioScience Research Collaborative of Rice University and Alexandria Real Estate Equities are beginning a discussion on a potential future collaboration, according to President David Leebron.

Leebron said he believes a partnership with AREE would be beneficial for the BRC given history of developing biomedical research centers across the country.

“AREE is probably the most successful developer of biomedical research centers in the U.S.,” Leebron said. “We want the BRC to be as successful as it can be, and that means sort of being part of a kind of ecosystem of biomedical institutions.” 

Leebron also said that AREE has a good track record of cooperation with academic institutes, such as Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Academic institutions can work with AREE,” Leebron said. “That’s what the evidence suggests.”

A collaboration would allow the BRC to reach its full potential as a biomedical research center in Houston, according to Leebron.

“With cooperation with AREE, one of the most successful developer’s of biomedical research in the U.S., the BRC can have its research translated and applied and possibly have a new tower, which Rice cannot afford by itself,” Leebron said. “We hope BRC can become part of the ecosystem of biomedical institutions.”

Leebron said cooperating with AREE would allow the BRC to become more attractive to potential partners such as Baylor, M.D. Anderson, U.T. Health and Methodist Hospital. 

“What would come out of this [cooperation] is, we hope, a BRC that’s more interesting and attractive to our potential partners across the street,” Leebron said. “Other institutions might see the BRC as offering something they don’t really have right now.”

According to Leebron, AREE wishes to broaden its presence at Houston, and this is the basis for the beginning of its discussions with Rice. 

“AREE has a broad interest in Houston –– it’s the city with the most potential that it’s not involved in ––so AREE sees Houston as it’s next major city and location, ” Leebron said. “A part of this is specifically about Rice and the BRC but a part of it is also about the city of Houston, and those two are related because we can’t be as strong as we’d like to be unless Houston is a center for biomedical research and application.”

While Rice and AREE have had a relationship in the past, the conversation for a partnership began more recently, Leebron said. 

“The conversation between Rice and AREE actually started years ago, because people from Rice and AREE knew each other,” Leebron said. “But it wasn’t until one year ago that progress was really made.” 

According to Leebron, a relationship between AREE and the BRC could lead to greater opportunities for students. 

“Rice can benefit widely from this cooperation,” said Leebron. “There may be funding to both support and better research opportunities.” 

Although no detailed plan has been laid out, Leebron said the basis for the first level of agreement will take place and cooperation would begin in the next half year. 

Martel College freshman Catherine Levins said she believes Rice’s collaboration with AREE has the potential to be beneficial. 

“It’s a good choice for Rice to conduct such a cooperation with a real estate company,” Levins said. “It’s a good chance for Rice to develop relationships with other professional biomedical institutes in Houston.”

Hanszen College sophomore Helen Xiang said integrating Rice into the larger Houston community is a step in the right direction. 

“People see Rice as very isolated and private in its research, and working with other institutes in Houston will definitely help with whatever projects they are working on,” Xiang said. “Also, I think it’s really interesting how BRC is teaming up with a real estate company, because that really shows their intention to integrate themselves.”