Texas Roundup: CPRIT, Saranas, SailPoint, Leto Solutions, Bearch
Here is the latest innovation news around Texas:
—San Diego-based Curtana Pharmaceuticals is making the move to Texas after receiving a $7.2 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The agency, known as CPRIT, awarded 101 research, prevention, and product development grants totaling about $107 million on Wednesday. Curtana, which was founded last year and is developing a treatment for adult and pediatric brain cancer, will relocate by October to Austin, TX, says Gregory Stein, its founder and CEO. The CPRIT grant is for three years and Steiner says it will help Curtana with pre-clinical drug development, with the goal of filing an IND.
—Dallas-based Onco Nano Medicine was also one of the awardees from CPRIT’s board meeting this week. The company is developing nanotechnology-enabled fluorescent probes to help surgeons visualize tumors during surgery for more precise excision.
—Michael Magnani, CEO of Houston medtech firm Saranas, told me the company has closed a $1.2 million seed round to help finalize its prototype and conduct additional animal tests of a catheter sheath that could help detect vessel punctures and blood loss in real-time. The investor group consisted of three Houston Angel Network members and the Goose Society, a group of Houston entrepreneurs and investors like Silicon Valley pioneer Jack Gill, who co-founded Vanguard Ventures.
—SailPoint, an Austin-based identity management software company, sold a majority stake to private equity firm Thoma Bravo. Mark McClain, the company’s CEO, says the deal will help the Austin firm fund expansion through acquisitions.
—Leto Solutions, a San Antonio medtech device that has developed what it says is a better prosthetic limb, has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $98,000 in seed money. With 47 days left, Leto has raised just over $7,000 so far to help build more prototypes and pay for FDA registration and additional IP costs. The Aquilonix device was invented by founder and Army veteran Gary Walters, who lost his right leg below the knee in Iraq nine years ago.
—Austin’s Bearch, creator of an anonymous photo-sharing app called Unseen, has raised $2.1 million in a seed round from Rackspace co-founder Dirk Elmendorf and other angel investors, the Austin Business Journal reported. The app was released to students at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX, in May.