Off campus

Growing Houston coworking space announces plans for new Galleria-area satellite

The Cannon – Post Oak will open on January 21, which is well ahead of its new space in West Houston that's currently under construction. Pictured is a rendering for the West Houston space. Courtesy of The Cannon

While The Cannon is currently in the midst of construction on its 120,000-square-foot space in West Houston, the coworking space has announced a new office that will open ahead its main campus.

The Cannon – Post Oak, located at 675 Bering Drive (near the Woodway Drive intersection), will open on January 21. The Cannon partnered with Houston-based commercial real estate group Griffin Partners to open the new location just west of The Galleria.

"The size and scale of Houston can create challenges for entrepreneurs and small businesses to make the trip out to our main campus, so we've recognized that it's increasingly important for us to grow our presence across the city and create more accessible solutions for Houston's entrepreneurs," says Founder and CEO Lawson Gow, son of David Gow, owner of InnovationMap's parent company Gow Media.

"We're especially thrilled to partner with an innovative group like Griffin Partners who shares our entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to Houston."

Griffin Partners has a portfolio of 4.5 million square feet Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, and Texas valued at over $750 million. The team is similarly excited, as the partnership marks the company's first foray into coworking space.

"We are excited to work with The Cannon and expand our offerings to include coworking space, allowing us to reach a brand new population and create new opportunities for Houston's entrepreneurs, small businesses and startups," says Edward Griffin, the company's president and CEO.

Community members from the off-campus site will be a part of The Cannon's overall community and will have access to Cannon events and can even have access to the main campus for a few days a month. The Cannon has various membership options.

The floor plan shows 16 offices available for renting, as well as both open and dedicated desks in a shared area. There's also a kitchen, one conference room, and two smaller meeting rooms in the floor plan. According to the website, members will have 24/7 access, a gaming room, and unlimited coffee and tea.


Via thecannonhouston.com

Houston-based Moleculin has three different oncology technologies currently in trials. Getty Images

Immunotherapy and personalized medicine get all the headlines lately, but in the fight against cancer, a natural compound created by bees could beat them in winning one battle.

In 2007, chairman and CEO Walter Klemp founded Moleculin Biotech Inc. as a private company. The former CPA had found success in life sciences with a company that sold devices for the treatment of acne. That introduction into the field of medical technology pushed him toward more profound issues than spotty skin.

"Coincidentally, the inventor of that technology had a brother who was a neuro-oncologist at MD Anderson," Klemp recalls.

The since-deceased Dr. Charles Conrad slowly lured Klemp into what he calls the "cancer ecosphere" of MD Anderson. In 2016, the company went public. And it looks like sooner rather than later, it could make major inroads against some of the toughest cancers to beat.

Klemp observed that while Houston has the world's largest medical center, "the tragic irony" is that other cities have far more biotech money ready to be invested.

"The Third Coast is really starved for capital," he says. "What drew me into this was I was one of the few entrepreneurs that lived here that knew the ropes in terms of tapping into East and West Coast capital structures and could make that connection for them."

The company has three core technologies currently being tested with some success, but the most promising is called WP1066, named for researcher Waldemar Priebe, "a rock star" in his native Poland, according to Klemp, who works at MD Anderson. Though Priebe came to the U.S. in the 1980s, he is still an adjunct professor at the University of Warsaw and conducts some of his trials in Poland because it's easier to get grant money there.

WP1066 uses propolis, a compound of beeswax, sap and saliva that bees produce to seal small areas of their hives, as a base. The molecular compound that Priebe discovered affects STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription), a transcription factor that encourages tumor development. In short, the active compound in WP1066 both downregulates the STAT3, a long-time Holy Grail in the cancer research world, and directly attacking the tumor, but also quieting T Cells, which allows the body's own immune system to fight the cancer itself. Essentially, it works both as chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

WP1066 is demonstrating drug-like properties in trials at MD Anderson on glioblastoma, the aggressive brain cancer that recently took the life of the hospital's former president, John Mendelsohn, as well as John McCain and Beau Biden. It is also being tested against pancreatic cancer, one of the most virulent killers cancer doctors combat.

Priebe also created Annamycin, named for his oldest daughter, a first-line chemotherapy drug that fights Acute Myeloid Leukemia without the cardiotoxicity that can damage patients' hearts even as they beat their cancer.

WP1122 uses yet another mechanism to fight cancer.

"Most people don't know that morphine is essentially a modified version of heroin," Klemp explains.

The difference between the poppy-based drugs? Heroin can cross the blood-brain barrier. It's described as the dicetyl ester of morphine. WP1122 is the dicetyl ester of 2DG (2-Deoxyglucose), a glycolysis inhibitor, which works by overfilling tumor cells with fake glucose so that they can't consume the real glucose that makes them grow.

"The theory is, we could feed you so full of junk food that eventually you'd starve to death," Klemp elucidates. It can cross the blood-brain barrier and is metabolized slowly, meaning that it can be made into a drug in a way that 2DG cannot.

What's impressive about Moleculin is its diversity of drugs. Most companies have one drug that gets all or most of the attention. Moleculin has strong hopes for all three currently in trials.

"It's essentially multiple shots on the goal," says executive vice president and CFO Jonathan Foster.

Moleculin has 13 total employees, five of whom are based in Houston. An office in the Memorial Park area serves as a landing pad for employees and collaborators from around the world to get their work done when in Space City. The virtual office set-up works for the company because experts can stay in their home cities to get their work done. And that work is on its way to saving scores of lives.