Earlier this month, Autonomix Medical went public. The company's technology is geared toward treating pain stemming from pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Photo via nasdaq.com

The Woodlands-based medical device company Autonomix Medical grossed more than $11.1 million in its recent IPO.

The company’s stock now trades on the NASDAQ market under the symbol AMIX. On February 1, company officials range the NASDAQ’s closing bell. The stock closed February 5 at $5.60 per share.

The NASDAQ listing “represents a pivotal moment in the growth of our [company] and a significant corporate milestone leading to what we believe will be an exciting future for Autonomix,” says Lori Bisson, the company’s CEO.

In the IPO, Autonomix sold nearly 2.24 million shares of common stock at $5 each. The gross amount raised excludes sales commissions and other expenses.

In a January 19 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Autonomix had eyed gross IPO proceeds of more than $21.2 million — nearly half of what the company actually raised — from the sale of up to 4 million shares.

For the six-month period ended September 30, 2023, Autonomix tallied a net loss of $6.9 million and a deficit of nearly $30.5 million.

Outside investors BioStar Ventures (with a 15 percent pre-IPO stake) and Tricord Holdings (5.5 percent), according to SEC documents. Before the IPO, seven Autonomix executives and directors controlled 50.6 percent of the company’s common stock.

The first medical device being developed by Autonomix, founded in 2014, is a catheter-based microchip that the company says can detect and differentiate neural signals with about 3,000 times greater sensitivity than current technology.

On its website, Autonomix cites a potential $100 billion global market for its technology.

Initially, Autonomix’s technology is geared toward treating pain stemming from pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Other uses for the technology, protected by dozens of patents, include management of post-surgery pain, treatment of high blood pressure, and treatment of organ-related conditions.

A day after the January 29 IPO, Autonomix announced it had wrapped up an $8 million all-stock deal to regain exclusive worldwide rights for use of its technology in the cardiology sector. In December 2021, Autonomix granted a license to Impulse Medical for use of its technology for cardiac purposes. In exchange for 1.6 million Autonomix shares, Impulse sold back those rights to Autonomix.

“Regaining the cardiology rights to our innovative technology broadens our development opportunities and provides further optionality related to our development strategy moving forward. Looking ahead, we remain focused on our pancreatic cancer pain development program and are on track to commence our first-in-human clinical study this quarter,” Bisson says.

Autonomix says its catheter-based sensing technology is designed to sense neural signals associated with pain or disease and then target those nerves for treatment.

“Autonomix believes this technology is a better alternative to the current approaches commonly used today, where doctors either rely on systemic drugs like opioids that lose effectiveness,” say the company, “and have unwanted side effects or treat suspected areas blindly in hopes of hitting the right nerves, an approach that is often inaccurate and can miss the target and even cause collateral damage to surrounding parts of the body.”

FibroBiologics will IPO this week. Photo via Getty Images

Houston regenerative medicine company to IPO, move toward more human trials

ready to list

Want a piece of one of Houston’s most promising biotech companies? On January 31, FibroBiologics will begin the trading of its common stock on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

While most labs in the realm of regenerative medicine are focused on stem cells, FibroBiologics has bet on fibroblasts as the secret to treating myriad ailments. Fibroblasts, the most common type of cell in the body, are the primary cells that compose connective tissue.

Interested investors can find a prospectus to peruse before taking the leap. FibroBiologics filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 7, 2023. In September, FibroBiologics CEO Pete O’Heeron told InnovationMap, “I think what we're going to see is that fibroblasts are going to end up winning... They're just a better overall cell than the stem cells.”

O’Heeron was first exposed to the possibilities of fibroblasts as a means of regrowing discs in the spine. Since starting the company in 2008 as SpinalCyte, O’Heeron and FibroBiologics have organically written and filed more than 320 patents. Potential treatments go far beyond spinal surgery to include wound care, cancer, and multiple sclerosis.

According to O’Heeron, the goal in going public is to raise capital for human trials.

“We’ve had really fantastic results with animals and now we’re ready for humans,” he explained in September. “We've done small human trials, but we haven't done the large ones that are going to get the commercialization approval from the FDA.”

FibroBiologics is growing with impressive speed. O’Heeron told us that he is hiring as quickly as he is able to find qualified scientists with the expertise to do the one-of-a-kind work required. The company opened a new lab last fall at the UH Technology Bridge, Newlin-Linscomb Lab for Cell Therapies. With its new status as a publicly traded company, FibroBiologics is primed to break even more ground.

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Innovative coastline project on Bolivar Peninsula receives federal funding

flood mitigation

The Galveston’s Coastal Barrier Project recently received federal funding to the tune of $500,000 to support construction on its flood mitigation plans for the area previously devastated by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Known as Ike Dike, the proposed project includes implementing the Galveston Bay Storm Surge Barrier System, including eight Gulf and Bay defense projects. The Bolivar Roads Gate System, a two-mile-long closure structure situated between Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula, is included in the plans and would protect against storm surge volumes entering the bay.

The funding support comes from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and will go toward the preconstruction engineering and design phase of Ecosystem Restoration feature G-28, the first segment of the Bolivar Peninsula and West Bay Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Shoreline and Island Protection.

Coastal Barrier Project - Galveston Projects

The project also includes protection of critical fish and wildlife habitat against coastal storms and erosion.

“The Coastal Texas Project is one of the largest projects in the history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” says Col. Rhett A. Blackmon, USACE Galveston District commander, in a statement. “This project is important to the nation for many reasons. Not only will it reduce risk to the vulnerable populations along the Texas coast, but it will also protect vital ecosystems and economically critical infrastructure vital to the U.S. supply chain and the many global industries located here.”

Hurricane Ike resulted in over $30 billion in storm-related damages to the Texas coast, reports the Coastal Barrier Project, and created a debris line 15 feet tall and 40 miles long in Chambers County. The estimated economic disruption due to Hurricane Ike exceeded $150 billion, FEMA reported.

The project is estimated to take two years to complete after construction starts and will cost between $4 billion and $6 billion, reports Texas A&M University at Galveston.

Houston organization selects research on future foods in space health to receive $1M in funding

research and development

What would we eat if we were forced to decamp to another planet? The most immediate challenges faced by the food industry and astronauts exploring outside Earth are being addressed by The Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Space Medicine’s newest project.

Earlier this month, TRISH announced the initial selection for its Space Health Ingress Program (SHIP) solicitation. Working with California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Baylor-based program chose “Future Foods for Space: Mobilizing the Future Foods Community to Accelerate Advances in Space Health,” led by Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung at the University of California, Davis.

“TRISH is bringing in new ideas and investigators to propel space health research,” says Catherine Domingo, TRISH operations lead and research administration associate at Baylor College of Medicine, in the release. “We have long believed that new researchers with fresh perspectives drive innovation and advance human space exploration and SHIP builds on TRISH’s existing efforts to recruit and support new investigators in the space health research field, potentially yielding and high-impact ideas to protect space explorers.”

The goal of the project is to develop sustainable food products and ingredients that could fuel future space travelers on long-term voyages, or even habitation beyond our home planet.

Jamison-McClung and her team’s goal is to enact food-related space health research and inspire the community thereof by mobilizing academic and food-industry researchers who have not previously engaged with the realm of space exploration. Besides growing and developing food products, the project will also address production, storage, and delivery of the nutrition created by the team.

To that end, Jamison-McClung and her recruits will receive $1 million over the course of two years. The goal of the SHIP solicitation is to work with first-time NASA investigators, bringing new minds to the forefront of the space health research world.

“As we look to enable safer space exploration and habitation for humans, it is clear that food and nutrition are foundational,” says Dr. Asha S. Collins, chair of the SHIP advisory board, in a press release. “We’re excited to see how accelerating innovation in food science for space health could also result in food-related innovations for people on Earth in remote areas and food deserts.”

Clean energy nonprofit CEO to step down, search for replacement to begin

moving on

Greentown Labs, which is co-located in the Boston and Houston areas, has announced its current CEO is stepping down after less than a year in the position.

The nonprofit's CEO and President Kevin Knobloch announced that he will be stepping down at the end of July 2024. Knobloch assumed his role last September, previously serving as chief of staff of the United States Department of Energy in President Barack Obama’s second term.

“It has been an honor to lead this incredible team and organization, and a true privilege to get to know many of our brilliant startup founders," Knobloch says in the news release. “Greentown is a proven leader in supporting early-stage climatetech companies and I can’t wait to see all that it will accomplish in the coming years.”

The news of Knobloch's departure comes just over a month after the organization announced that it was eliminating 30 percent of its staff, which affected 12 roles in Boston and six in Houston.

According the Greentown, its board of directors is expected to launch a national search for its next CEO.

“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I want to thank Kevin for his efforts to strengthen the foundation of Greentown Labs and for charting the next chapter for the organization through a strategic refresh process,” says Dawn James, Greentown Labs Board Chair, in the release. “His thoughtful leadership will leave a lasting impact on the team and community for years to come.”

Knobloch reportedly shifted Greentown's sponsorship relationships with oil companies, sparking "friction within the organization," according to the Houston Chronicle, which also reported that Knobloch said he intends to return to his clean energy consulting firm.

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This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.