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Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images.

Solugen, a Houston-based chemicals startup backed by top Silicon Valley investors, plans to open a new R&D facility outside of Texas because many of the state's social policies — including its new abortion ban — are making it difficult to recruit employees.

By the numbers: Solugen currently has about 115 employees, most of whom work out of its Houston headquarters. It plans to more than double its R&D capability over the next two years, representing around 100 jobs, with most of those expected to be located in a new facility that it will locate in either California or Massachusetts.

  • The company has raised over $80 million in venture capital from firms like Founders Fund, Fifty Years, Lowercarbon Capital, Refactor Capital and Unicorn Venture Partners.

What they're saying: "We want to make sure we're hiring the top enzymologists and chemical engineers," says Solugen CEO Gaurab Chakrabarti, who grew up in Houston.

  • "We've come to the conclusion after talking to lots of candidates that they want to join Solugen but they don't feel comfortable coming to Texas, so for us it's become a no brainer to have R&D facilities elsewhere."

Big picture: Few Texas CEOs have commented publicly on the state's new abortion law, which Gov. Greg Abbott defended by claiming that a lot of business leaders "like the social positions that the state of Texas is taking."

  • Solugen chief technology officer Sean Hunt says: "I think you're not seeing many people speak out because they're afraid of taking a political stance, but this really isn't about politics. It's about bad legislation if Texas wants to be a business friendly state."

Go deeper: DOJ vows to "protect" abortion seekers, providers in Texas

Go deeper

Red states crack down on abortion pills

Expand chart
Data: Guttmacher and Axios research; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

As the U.S. Supreme Court signals a potential end to Roe v. Wade, abortion rights activists are heralding abortion pills as a potential option in places where clinics may have to close — but several red states are already cracking down on the pills.

The big picture: Almost half of U.S. states have banned or tightly restricted abortion pills — two medicines named mifepristone and misoprostol — and more could soon follow suit.

Most teachers are white. Most students aren't.

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The nation's 6.6 million teacher workforce has grown more racially and ethnically diverse over the past three decades — but not nearly fast enough to keep pace with a student population that's nearing majority-minority in public schools, two new reports show.

Why it matters: The disparities are especially acute between Hispanic students and teachers, and in schools with 90% or higher non-white student populations.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

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