Innovative brain injury rehabilitation center breaks ground in Southeast Houston

The Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute is expected to be finished in 2023. Image courtesy of Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute

The Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute broke ground July 14 on a 64,000-square-foot research and rehabilitation center at Nassau Bay's Space Park, near NASA's Johnson Space Center.

The Nassau Bay City Council granted a permit last year for the project, which will provide room for up to 40 residential patients and space for outpatient services. About 150 people will work at the facility, which is scheduled to open in early 2023.

Aside from private inpatient rooms, the new center will feature a therapy gym, an outdoor therapy courtyard, and family apartments. The facility's "urban house" design will highlight natural colors and textures in an effort to stimulate patients' senses during the recovery process.

The new facility will 40 resident patients, as well as provide outpatient care. Image courtesy of Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute

Among the 40 or so people who attended the groundbreaking ceremony were representatives of Moody Neuro, Houston-based architecture firm Kirksey Architecture, Galveston-based general contractor JW Kelso Construction, and Dallas-based project manager Pritchard Associates.

The Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute treats people who've suffered brain injuries. The nonprofit operates a rehabilitation center in Galveston and another Lubbock, as well as a long-term care facility in each of the two cities. In fiscal 2019, the organization reported nearly $27.8 million in revenue and more than $15.1 million in expenses.

The facility broke ground this week. Photo courtesy of Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute

Philanthropist Robert Moody Sr., chairman emeritus of Galveston-based Moody National Bank, founded what now is Moody Neuro in 1982 after his son Russell sustained serious injuries in a car crash that caused a traumatic brain injury.

"By helping our patients minimize their disability while facilitating their recovery, we provide each individual with the ability to re-enter the community feeling healthier, more confident, and with tools to enjoy an improved quality of life," says Dr. Ana Durand, medical director of Moody Neuro Galveston.

The Brain Injury Association of America says more than 144,000 Texans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, with more than 5,700 of them become permanently disabled. Roughly 381,000 Texans are living with a disability connected to traumatic brain injury.

The 64,000-square-foot campus is unlike any other. Photo courtesy of Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute

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You can now hop online and invest in this promising cell therapy startup. Photo via Getty Images

A clinical-stage company headquartered in Houston has opened an online funding campaign.

FibroBiologics, which is developing fibroblast cell-based therapeutics for chronic diseases, launched a campaign with equity crowdfunding platform StartEngine. The platform lets anyone — regardless of their net worth or income level — to invest in securities issued by startups.

The funding, according to a press release, will be used to support ongoing operations of Fibrobiologics and advance its clinical programs in multiple sclerosis, degenerative disc disease, wound care, extension of life, and cancer.

"We're excited to partner with StartEngine on this campaign. StartEngine has over 600,000 investors as part of their community and has raised over half a billion dollars for its clients," says FibroBiologics' Founder and CEO Pete O'Heeron, in the release.

"This is an exciting time at FibroBiologics as we continue progressing our clinical pipeline and developing innovative therapies to treat chronic diseases," he continues. "This new funding will fuel our growth in the lab and bring us one step closer to commercialization."

The campaign, launched this week, already has over 100 investors, at the time of publication, and has raised nearly $2 million, according to the page. The minimum investment is set at around $500, and the company's indicated valuation is $252.57 million.

In 2021, FibroBiologics announced its intention of going public. Last year, O'Heeron told InnovationMap on the Houston Innovators Podcast of the company's growth plans as well as the specifics of the technology.

Only two types of cells — stem cells and fibroblasts — can be used in cell therapy for a regenerative treatment, which is when specialists take healthy cells from a patient and inject them into a part of the body that needs it the most. As O'Heeron explains in the podcast, fibroblasts can do it more effectively and cheaper than stem cells.

"(Fibroblasts) can essentially do everything a stem cell can do, only they can do it better," says O'Heeron. "We've done tests in the lab and we've seen them outperform stem cells by a low of 50 percent to a high of about 220 percent on different disease paths."


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