home care

Houston hospital taps Texas company to offer in-home COVID-19 treatment

Houston Methodist is offering COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment thanks to a new partnership with Soleo Health. Photo via Getty Images

Houston Methodist has tapped Frisco-based Soleo Health to provide in-home monoclonal antibody therapy for COVID-19 patients in the Houston area.

The Houston Methodist health care system has a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aimed at boosting access to COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment for underserved and disadvantaged patients in the Houston area.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system's ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. If administered within 10 days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, the one-time therapy can neutralize the virus and prevent symptoms from worsening.

Soleo, a provider of specialized pharmacy services that has a location in Houston, says treating COVID-19 patients at home with monoclonal antibodies is expected to help reduce hospital admissions.

"By teaming up with Houston Methodist to help patients receive therapy and stay in their homes, we are helping reduce the chance of increased infections and the spread of COVID-19 in a hospital setting," Shahram Badrei of Houston, regional business leader at Soleo, says in a news release.

Houston Methodist reported in May that it had administered monoclonal antibodies to nearly 4,200 patients since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency use authorization for the treatment last November. The health care system said it was rolling out monoclonal antibody therapy at its more than 40 clinics in the Houston area. Houston Methodist ranks among the largest providers of monoclonal antibodies in the U.S.

Harris County, the state's most populous county, has recorded the most COVID-19 cases (539,000) and deaths (nearly 7,900) of any county in Texas.

"Houston Methodist continues to serve the Houston area and beyond in the fight against COVID-19 through patient care and its commitment to research that brings promising new therapies to fight the disease," Dr. Marc Boom, president and CEO of Houston Methodist, said in May.

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Building Houston

 
 

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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