4 Houston life science startups secure over $40M in CPRIT funding
Four Houston bioscience startups have collected nearly $43 million in grants from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
Here’s a list of the four startups, the amount and purpose of each grant, and some background information about each company.
CPRIT grant amount: $13,881,458
Purpose of grant: Clinical trial to evaluate an immunotherapy known as SR-8541A for treatment of advanced or metastatic solid tumors.
Company background: Stingray received a $2 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award in 2022. In conjunction with the award, Mohan Kaadige, a research associate professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, joined Stringray as the principal SR-8541A investigator.
“I … believe we have great potential to alleviate cancer suffering in the near future with this exciting technology,” says Kaadige.
CPRIT grant amount: $13,358,637
Purpose of grant: Clinical trial to evaluate a T-cell immunotherapy (MB-105) for treatment of certain types of relapsed lymphoma.
Company background: March Biosciences, a Baylor College of Medicine spinout, recently received $4.8 million in funding from Cancer Focus Fund, affiliated with Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“The breadth and quality of the support we are receiving from our local partners and institutions underscore Houston’s increasing prominence as a worldwide leader in cancer R&D and clinical research,” says Sarah Hein, co-founder and CEO of March Biosciences.
CPRIT grant amount: $10,621,053
Purpose of grant: Development of T-cell therapies targeting solid-tumor cancer.
Company background: Mongoose founder Cassian Lee, a professor and researcher at MD Anderson, is a CPRIT scholar and a participant in Texas Medical Center Innovation’s 2023 Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics.
“Mongoose Bio is a first-rate example of the use of CPRIT funds to fund a disruptive cell gene therapy … therapeutic with deep roots and origins in Texas. This innovation will benefit patients with solid tumors not just in Texas but the rest of the world,” says CPRIT.
CPRIT grant amount: $4,844,088
Purpose of grant: Clinical study and manufacturing of a silicone implant that creates a soft, natural-looking nipple for women with breast cancer who’ve undergone post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. The clinical study will be done at MD Anderson.
Company background: In conjunction with the CPRIT grant, FixNip is moving its headquarters from Israel to Houston. Austin-based CPRIT became aware of FixNip during a May 2022 trade trip to Israel by the organization’s CEO, Wayne Roberts.
“Loss of nipple projection is the most pervasive problem across all currently existing nipple reconstruction solutions,” says FixNip.
Aside from the grants for the four Houston startups, CPRIT handed out two grants for recruitment of two cancer researchers to Houston:
- $6 million grant to recruit Dr. Leonido Luznik of Johns Hopkins University to the Baylor College of Medicine. Luznik’s research focuses on allogeneic blood and marrow transplantation (alloBMT), a treatment for blood cancers.
- $1.99 million grant to recruit Swiss researcher Christina Tringides to Rice University. Tringides is working on a “groundbreaking” treatment for brain tumors, says CPRIT.
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