JLabs @ TMC Opens Houston Campus, Home to 21 Biotech Startups

Houston — Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s newest JLabs incubator opens in Houston today with a class of 21 resident biotech companies pursuing innovation in health IT, medical devices, and drugs.

Called “JLABS @ TMC,” the facility is located within the Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute, which includes TMCx, the medical center’s life sciences accelerator. AT&T (NYSE: T) is also planning on opening its latest Foundry at the TMC campus, designed to boost health IT innovation.

The idea, executives say, is to create a “think-tank” style of environment to encourage collaboration among JLabs and TMCx companies, as well as with mentors, investors, and hospital executives in Houston.

“The city’s rich research, academic, and investment communities provide a robust ecosystem of early-stage innovation,” said Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer and worldwide chairman of its pharmaceuticals business, in a press release.

About half of the Houston JLabs companies are from Houston, with others coming to the city from Canada, South Korea, and Austin, TX. The facility can accommodate up to 50 companies, JLabs says.

The Houston site is the first JLabs to open with a medical device prototype lab, a 3-D printer, and what J&J (NYSE: JNJ) calls “skills-building programs to design and develop smart health technologies.”

The Houston facility joins a network of JLabs spaces located in San Diego, San Francisco, South San Francisco, Boston, and Toronto, which will open this spring. In total, they house about 100 early-stage companies in biotech/pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer, and digital health programs.

Here are the JLabs resident companies in Houston:

Beta Cat Pharmaceuticals (Houston): Targeting cancer stem cell/tumor activator pathways with potent, in-cell, small-molecule inhibitors.
Icell Kealex Therapeutics (Houston): Developing a T-cell engager-armed virus for the treatment of solid tumors.
IDA Therapeutics (Houston): Developing “immuno-diverse antibodies” to fulfill unmet demand for efficacious antibody-based products in therapeutic, diagnostic, and research applications.
IGY Immune Technologies and Life Sciences (Thunder Bay, Canada): Developing and manufacturing technology and processes to create immune health ingredients to strengthen and supplement the body’s natural defenses against bacterial, viral, and autoimmune ailments.
ImmunoMet Therapeutics (South Korea): Developing oncology drugs to increase patient survival by disrupting cancer metabolism and enhancing anti-cancer immunity.
Immunophotonics (St. Louis): An immuno-oncology company developing a novel drug for for the treatment of metastatic cancer.
Innovate Wireless Health (Austin): HIPAA-compliant software that gives hospitals, payers, pharmaceutical companies, and employers a tool that the company says can help improve patient care.
Medicenna Biopharma (Vancouver): A clinical-stage immunotherapy company dedicated to the development of highly selective cytokines for targeted treatment of cancer, autoimmune disease, and fibrosis.
Metaclipse Therapeutics (Atlanta): Developing a personalized cancer immunotherapy using tumor membrane vesicles prepared from the patient’s own tumor and combined with immune-stimulatory molecules.
NanoMedical Systems (Austin): Commercializing silicon-based medical nanotechnology products that address unmet clinical needs for personalized medicine, via improved biomarker detection for research, microbial surveillance, and diagnostics; long-term subcutaneous drug-delivery implants; and multi-staged, injectable antitumor particles.
Noninvasix (Houston): Patient-monitoring system to accurately and non-invasively measure cerebral venous oxygenation in real time.
OnComfort (Houston): Reducing anxiety during cancer treatment through psychological interventions using virtual reality.
PanaMab (Houston): Developing monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer, fibrosis-associated diseases, and infectious disorders.
Seremedi (Houston): Developer of CareScriptions, a mobile patient management platform for surgical teams supporting perioperative patient care.
TomoWave Laboratories (Houston): Developing tomography systems that listen to the sound of light absorbed in tissues in order to see inside the human body, and detect and diagnose disease by providing physicians with quantitative information.
ViraCyte (Houston): Developing novel T-cell therapies to treat viral infections.
Wntrix (Houston): Developing antibody drug conjugates.

The following four companies won JLabs’ “Quick Fire Challenge,” which gives the winning companies access to a lab bench and workstation for free:
Adhesys Medical (Houston/Germany): Developing next-generation surgical adhesives based on polyurethane, for wound closure both on and inside the body.
Alterna Therapeutics (Durham, NC): Developing new therapeutics to treat diabetes and obesity.
Procyrion (Houston): Developer of Aortix, a heart pump implanted without surgery and intended to treat chronic heart failure.
Resonant Therapeutics (Santa Barbara, CA): Antibody discovery platform for breast and other cancers.

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