big moves

Houston health care company raises $100M and plans to IPO

This innovative health care company has announced some big moves. Photo via Fibrobiologics.com

A clinical stage therapeutic company has made some big moves — with an even bigger one on the horizon.

FibroBiologics, which is developing fibroblast-based therapeutic cures for chronic diseases, announced $100 million in fresh funding resulting from an agreement with GEM Global Yield LLC SCS, a private investment group, with offices in New York and Paris. The funds will be distributed over a 36-month term following a public listing of FibroBiologics common stock.

According to a news release, "FibroBiologics will control the timing and maximum amount of the drawdown under this facility and has no minimum drawdown obligation." The IPO could include acquisition via SPAC.

"This Agreement with GEM helps secure additional funding to further develop cell therapy cures in Multiple Sclerosis, Degenerative Disc Disease and Cancer using fibroblast cells," says Pete O'Heeron, CEO and chairman of FibroBiologics, in the release. "This Agreement provides for a strong balance sheet upon public listing and positions FibroBiologics for the next stage of commercial development to deliver life-changing abatement for patients with incurable chronic diseases."

Founded earlier this year, FibroBiologics offices in Southeast Houston adjacent to the University of Houston-Clear Lake campus, where O'Heeron completed his Masters in Healthcare Administration.

Pete O'Heeron leads FibroBiologics as CEO and chairman. Photo via Fibrobiologics.com

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Building Houston

 
 

These four Houstonians are among the best researchers in the state. Image via Getty Images

Four Houston scientists were named among a total of five Texas rising stars in research by the Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering, Science & Technology, or TAMEST, last month.

The group will be honored at the 2023 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by TAMEST in May. According to Edith and Peter O’Donnell Committee Chair Ann Beal Salamone, the researchers "epitomize the Texas can-do spirit."

The Houston winners include:

Medicine: Dr. Jennifer Wargo

A physician and professor of surgical oncology and genomic medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Wargo was named a 2023 honoree for her discoveries surrounding the "important connection between treatment outcomes and a patient’s gut microbiome," according to a statement from TAMEST.

Engineering: Jamie Padgett

The Stanley C. Moore Professor of Engineering at Rice University, Padgett was honored for her work that aims to "enhance reliability and improve the sustainability of critical community infrastructure" through developing new methods for multi-hazard resilience modeling.

Physical sciences: Erez Lieberman Aiden

As a world-leading biophysical scientist and an associate professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, is being honored for his work that has "dramatically impacting the understanding of genomic 3D structures." He is working with BCM to apply his findings to clinical settings, with the hope that it will eventually be used to treat disease by targeting dark matter in the body.

Technology innovation: Chengbo Li

As a geophysicist at ConocoPhillips, Li is being recognized for innovations in industry-leading Compressive Seismic Imaging (CSI) technology. "This CSI technology allows the oil and gas industry to produce these seismic surveys in less time, with less shots and receivers, and most importantly, with less of an environmental impact," his nominator Jie Zhang, founder and chief scientist of GeoTomo LLC, said in a statement.


James J. Collins III at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas was also named this year's rising star in the biological sciences category for his research on schistosomiasis, a disease that impacts some of the world’s poorest individuals.

The O'Donnell Awards have granted more than $1.5 million to more than 70 recipients since they were founded in 2006. Each award includes a $25,000 honorarium and an invitation to present at TAMEST’s Annual Conference each year, according to TAMEST's website.

The awards expanded in 2002 to include both a physical and biological sciences award each year, thanks to a $1.15 million gift from the O’Donnell Foundation in 2022.

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