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Innovative Houston-based pharmacy debuts new $55M facility

The new 86,000-square-foot facility features innovative technology for purifying water, automation, and more. Photo courtesy of Empower Pharmacy

Adding heft to Houston's health care economy, Empower Pharmacy on August 26 publicly debuted what the company bills as North America's most technologically advanced compounding pharmacy.

Highlights of the new $55 million, 86,000-square-foot facility include extensive automation, a top-of-the line cleanroom, and equipment that generates purified water, clean steam, and clean compressed air. The space also features a warehouse capable of storing at least nine months of raw pharmaceutical ingredients to minimize supply chain problems.

Houston-based Empower Pharmacy supplies pharmaceutical products to more than 1 million patients and 2,000 institutions across the country each year.

As described by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), drug compounding involves combining, mixing, or altering ingredients to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. Compounding includes the blending of two or more drugs. Compounded drugs are not FDA-approved.

The new Empower Pharmacy facility, at 7601 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., opened earlier this month.

"This innovative facility, combined with our more than 500 dedicated employees, enables us to increase our operational capacity, allowing us to prepare thousands of custom prescriptions each day for millions of patients across the country," Shaun Noorian, founder and CEO of Empower Pharmacy, says in a news release. "We are setting a new standard for compounded medicine, striving to achieve a superior pharmaceutical experience, from order placement to delivery."

Empower Pharmacy has opened its new space — with an additional facility in the works for next year. Photo courtesy of Empower

Next year, Empower Pharmacy plans to open a second facility mirroring the new facility, but this one will operate with a federal 503B license. The license will let Empower Pharmacy make compounding medicines and sell them directly to hospitals, doctor's offices and other health care institutions.

Brunner calls Empower Pharmacy "a leader in pharmacy compounding, pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and technology. With this new state-of-the-art facility, they're not only increasing capacity, but also elevating compliance and safety and — most importantly — the care they provide patients."

In July, Noorian told InnovationMap that he started Empower Pharmacy out of frustration with medication he was getting from a compounding pharmacy in Houston. At the time, he was a hydraulic fracturing field engineer at Schlumberger.

Noorian initially operated his pharmacy from 100 square feet of leased space in a doctor's office.

"Slowly but surely, patients and prescribers around the area were very happy with the level of service and quality that they were receiving from our pharmacy. And we would get more requests through simple word of mouth and reputation," Noorian recalled. "We grew pretty quickly out of that space and then built out a 1,500-square-foot space in a shopping center a couple of years later."

Several more locations and expansions followed, leading to the opening of the 86,000-square-foot facility.

"We've always concentrated on — since the inception of the company — quality, service, and cost," Noorian told InnovationMap. "And we're always working to figure out how to increase quality, how to decrease costs, and how to make it easier and more convenient for our customers to use us."

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Building Houston

 
 

Optellum and Liongard have hired two new members to their executive teams. Photos courtesy

A couple of Houston tech startups have recently announced new appointments to their C-suites. A med tech company with its national headquarters in Houston has a new leader, and a Houston software has a new exec focused on strategy.

Optellum names new CEO

Jason Pesterfield will lead United States operations for Optellum. Photo courtesy of Optellum

Optellum, a medical software startup based in the United Kingdom and has its United States HQ in Houston, has appointed Jason Pesterfield as CEO to lead growth in the U.S. clinical market. Optellum AI-based software enhances early lung cancer diagnosis and therapy with its medical device software platform, Virtual Nodule Clinic.

Pesterfield was previously the president and CEO of Veran Medical Technologies, a leader in image-guided lung cancer diagnosis. He brings 25 years of leadership experience in the medtech sector. Optellum was founded by Václav Potěšil, Lyndsey Pickup, Timor Kadir, Professor Sir Mike Brady, and Jérôme Declerck.

"It took us almost a year to find the right successor who shares our vision and has the right expertise to take Optellum on to the next stage of growth," says Potěšil in a news release. "I am really excited to work with Jason, to make Optellum's platform available to every clinician in the USA and around the world, and to help them diagnose their lung cancer patients as early as possible. With Jason on board, I can focus on advancing Optellum's vision to transform early lung cancer therapy through partnerships that harness the power of AI software combined with molecular diagnostics, robotics and interventional devices, and drugs."

Liongard announces chief strategy officer

Patrick Schneidau is the chief strategy officer for Liongard. Photo courtesy

​Houston software-as-a-service company, Liongard, has named Patrick Schneidau as chief strategy officer. The company, founded in 2015, was a 2021 InnovationMap Awards finalist and reported that the team was looking to expand by around 70 new hires over the next year.

"Liongard is an incredible Houston growth story," Schneidau tells InnovationMap. "Our founders, Joe Alapat and Vincent Tran, have built a first-class team that allow technology service providers to operate at 10x by providing unprecedented insight and data into the systems deployed in the modern IT stack. In a rapidly growing market, they are quickly becoming 'must have' technology. I'm excited to join to team to accelerate their growth into new markets and with new products."

Schneidau spent over a decade at Houston-based PROS before serving in C-level positions at two other Houston startups — Commtrex and Truss. He's also previously served as talent committee chair for Houston Exponential.

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