Texas Roundup: Innovative Cities, Launches, & Deals, Deals, Deals!

Beat from the Texas heat? Try to cool down inside while catching up on some headlines from Xconomy Texas this month. But be careful: It’s acquisition season, and deal-making has been hot.

Austin’s Savara Pharmaceuticals is buying two inhalable drugs in its acquisition of Danish drug developer Serendex Pharmaceuticals, which delisted from the Oslo Stock Exchange as part of the deal. The all-stock buyout includes some future undisclosed milestone payments, according to Savara CEO Rob Neville. Savara’s focus will seek a mezzanine round of funding, and will keep its primary focus on AeroVanc, its inhaled antibiotic for people with cystic fibrosis who develop a specific lung infection.

—Data analytics provider and tracker Umbel, a six-year-old Austin company, has acquired another Austin-based data provider that collects data on customers at live sporting events. The move is aimed at adding services to Umbel’s analytics and data management platforms, which try to help its sports media, entertainment, and nonprofit customers who want to do things like sell more tickets or better prove the value of advertising on its Websites or other spaces.

—Centre Technologies, a closely held IT infrastructure provider in Houston, has bought cloud computing managed services provider Architel, a Dallas firm that offers a 24-hour network operations center. Meanwhile, Architel co-founder Alexander Muse launched a $10 million venture fund with his father, Ralph Muse, and sister, Caroline Branch.

—Dell is selling the Dell Software Group to private equity firm Francisco Partners and hedge fund Elliott Management, the companies announced this week. Reuters, which first reported the deal before the companies issued a press release, said the buyout is for more than $2 billion. The software assets from Round Rock, TX-based Dell include Quest Software and SonicWall. Elliott Management’s new private equity affiliate based in Menlo Park, CA, Evergreen Coast Capital, is leading the deal for the hedge fund.

—San Antonio cybersecurity firm Infocyte has brought its “threat hunting” methodology for seeking out dormant hackers to Linux. The company previously only worked on Windows operating systems and is targeting other new launches in the near term.

How should an innovative city reinvent itself? That was the discussion at a panel in early June with a speaker list that included Kirk Coburn, founder of the now-shuttered Surge accelerator, and Danielle Fanfair, who founded the Eat Gallery.

—San Antonio biotech contract manufacturer Incell has produced a joint venture with a Belgian investor meant to create more spin-off companies around life science products Incell, and others. The new company is called BioTurnKey.

—Cloud Therapy, a company co-founded last year by recent Trinity University grad Andre Sandoval, has developed algorithms for processing loads of data about rare diseases and uses IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology to provide a diagnosis or insights about the disease.

—General John Allen has joined Austin-based SparkCognition’s board of directors. Allen is the former commander of the International Security Assistance Force, was the deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command, and served as a special envoy to the President for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Allen is currently a senior fellow and the co-director of Brooking’s Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence.

—AT&T has opened a new healthcare-focused foundry at the Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute in Houston. There, the company shows off ways in which it has combined mobile communications with healthcare: at the bedside, a nurse’s station, a home’s kitchen.

Austin medical device maker LDR Holding was acquired by Warsaw, IN-based Zimmer Biomet for about $1 billion. Biomet is adding LDR’s spinal devices to its roster of reconstructive and orthopedic offerings, such as replacement hips.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at [email protected] Follow @xconholley

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