Roundup: J&J and AT&T Grow in Houston, Inspyr and Meshify Move On

Let’s get caught up with the latest innovation news from Xconomy Texas.

—Johnson & Johnson Innovation is expanding its presence at the Texas Medical Center in Houston with the launch of its Center for Device Innovation. William “Billy” Cohn, a Houston heart surgeon and serial medical device entrepreneur, is the director. Cohn will oversee the center as well as manage partnerships with institutions such as the Baylor College of Medicine in sourcing and developing innovations that can be commercialized at the medical center. The multinational healthcare company earlier this year opened its latest JLabs in Houston.

—Speaking of the expanding cluster of organizations at the Texas Medical Center, Xconomy talked with Nadia Morris, the new head of innovation at AT&T’s Connected Health Foundry, which is also located adjacent to the TMC’s TMCx accelerator. Morris comes to Houston from San Francisco where she led engineers in product development at the telecom giant’s Foundry in San Francisco.

—A San Antonio entrepreneur wants to make it easier for coders and wanna-be coders to get together and learn. “Dinner and Code” was started by David Daeschler, a software consultant who moved to San Antonio from Buffalo, NY. Daeschler focuses the first two hours on introducing coding to beginners, primarily on teaching the Python programming language and explaining basics such as how to understand variables and functions, among other details.

—Texas medical device entrepreneur Morris Miller has created a new venture capital firm, Tectonic Ventures, with a Boston-based financier who has invested in at least two of Miller’s companies. One of its first investments includes Xenex Disinfection Services, the San Antonio-based business that Miller runs as its CEO. Xenex raised a $3 million round of funding in September, which Miller confirmed was from Tectonic. Newton, MA-based Tectonic was incorporated this year by Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, an associate professor of finance at MIT and venture capital investor.

—We’re one week away from Xconomy’s Disruptors conference at the Texas Medical Center’s TMCx accelerator in Houston. The daylong forum features innovators in healthcare, space, transportation, energy, venture investing, and other sectors. Also, startups that send in their predictions can pick up discounted tickets.

Inspyr Therapeutics, the San Antonio biotech formerly known as GenSpera, has moved to California. The biotech is developing a drug for liver cancer and says the move out west will bring it closer to clinical trials. Inspyr founder Craig Dionne left the company in March.

—Houston-based Meshify has been acquired by specialty insurer Hartford Steam Boiler, a subsidiary of global insurer Munich Re. The startup, which makes software and hardware to simplify the collection of data, will become part of HSB’s IoT services business.

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