Cancer Agency Leaders in Houston, $111M in Grants Awarded

Xconomy Texas — 

Leaders of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas stopped by the Texas Medical Center in Houston yesterday at a “Meet CPRIT” event to update the city’s biotech community on the agency’s efforts.

CPRIT recently announced its latest slate of awards, a total of $111.4 million in research and commercialization grants, which come at a time when Texas lawmakers are scrutinizing taxpayer-funded programs aimed at boosting young companies. For example, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said he wants to abolish the Texas Emerging Technology fund.

Four product development awards of $48.5 million were given to Texas-based biotech companies. Immatics Biotechnologies in Houston received $19.6 million for its work on personalized cellular immunotherapy, while Medicenna Therapeutics in College Station, TX, received a three-year award of $14.1 million for its drug therapy that targets recurrent glioblastoma and other aggressive cancers. Houston’s Armada Pharmaceuticals received $12.7 million, and NanoTx Therapeutics in San Antonio was awarded $2 million.

Nearly $63 million of the funding was given to support research projects, including three $2 million awards to recruit California-based cancer scientists to Texas institutions.

In November, the agency decided that it would target grants to projects that focus on childhood and adolescent cancer, and it allotted $17.9 million in 10 grants towards projects in this realm.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center received about half of the $32 million given to academic researchers, with 18 grants. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas received seven grants for a total of $6.2 million.