Texas Roundup: Appconomy, Bellicum, and Datafiniti

Xconomy Texas — 

This week brings us news of three Texas startups raising money, progressing on cancer research, and settling into a new home.

Money, money, money: Austin’s Appconomy closed this week on a bridge loan of just under $3 million. Appconomy provides mobile marketing and e-commerce platforms for Chinese retailers. The new money will help fund its expansion outside of China until the company can complete a Series B fundraising this fall, says Brian Magierski, its co-founder and chief executive officer. “This will open the door for us to begin to enter the U.S. market and European markets,” he says.

Appconomy also announced a partnership in China with Carrefour, the French retail giant, which is using the startup’s “smart shopping app.” The app is used by shoppers to upload shopping lists and create store maps to make finding items easier.

Cancer drugs: Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, a Houston-based life sciences startup, announced it started treatment of its first patient in a phase 1 clinical study of its second-generation BPX-201 prostate cancer vaccine, which consists of dendritic cells programmed to fight prostate cancer.

Its small-molecule drug, AP1903, is administered the day after the modified cells have been infused into the patient, activating an “on switch” in the injected cells and marshaling the body’s T cells to attack the cancer. The study will enroll a total of 18 men who have not received prior chemotherapy, from three U.S. centers.

New Austin digs: You’ll recall that back in May we wrote that Datafiniti was relocating from Houston to Austin because of better hiring possibilities.

Shion Deysarkar, Datafiniti’s CEO, reports that things are going well. “The quality of applicants has been significantly higher, and there were more to choose from than what we’ve had in the past, which is great,” he says.

Datafiniti has moved into new digs and an office-warming party is in the works. Check your inbox for the invitation.