Texas Medical Center Innovation selected 20 participants for its nine-month cancer therapeutics accelerator.
The Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics was established in 2019 using grant funding the TMC received from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT. The ACT provides resources for business development, education and networking to selected researchers and early-stage biotech companies to advance their platforms toward commercialization.
Ashley Francis, who manages business operations and program management for TMC Innovation, said the accelerator program is offered to participants at no cost or equity due to CPRIT’s funding.
“We provide access to our entrepreneurs in residence, which are individuals on our team that work alongside the company to make progress through the accelerator,” Francis said. “We also provide access to specialized consultants, including grant writers.”
The 20 participants for the accelerator’s second nine-month cohort include six startup companies and 18 academic research faculty at institutions from across the state of Texas:
- Dr. Bruna Corradetti (ExMet)
- Dr. George Calin
- Dr. Rosa Hwang (Stellanova Therapeutics)
- Dr. Robert Jenq
- Dr. Chun Li
- Dr. Shuxing Zhang (Ubigen)
- Dr. Stephen Safe
- Dr. Xiaotong Song
- Dr. Robert Tsai
- Dr. Wei-Chuan Shih and Dr. Steven Lin (Xolytix)
- Dr. Wenbo Li
- Dr. Cara Gonzales
- Dr. Yogesh Gupta
- Johanna Webb and Dr. Jean Jiang (Riverwalk Therapeutics)
- Dr. Ratna Vadlamudi
- Dr. Subhash Chauhan
- Dr. Hans Hammers and Dr. Xiankai Sun
- Russell Hayward and Dr. Ganesh Raj (EtiraRX)
- Dr. Jacques Lux
- Dr. Phillip Scherer
The ACT program accepted its inaugural class of 15 researchers and startups last year. During the course of the nine-month program, three new startups were created, Francis said. Participants also submitted multiple Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant proposals. Submitting grant proposals is a goal for each of the companies going through the program, she said.
Startups from the first cohort are actively engaged in licensing discussions that were initiated during the ACT program, Francis said. Massachusetts-based Parthenon Therapeutics, a member of the first cohort in 2021, announced raising a $65 million Series A funding round in November.