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Houston Technology Center (HTC), Gulf Coast Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization Announce $3,860,000 in New Awards for Gulf Coast Companies by the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF).

Awards for Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Laser Tissue Welding, Inc., ThromboVision, Inc. and Visualase, Inc. officially announced Tuesday by Phil Wilson, Texas Secretary of State at the Houston Technology Showcase.

HOUSTON -- HTC and Gulf Coast RCIC honored the nine Gulf Coast region companies that received awards from the ETF to date and welcomed keynote speaker Secretary Wilson as he announced four additional awards to area companies, all of which are HTC clients. Total ETF funding thus far to Gulf Coast region companies is over $13 million.

Bellicum Inc., a pharmaceutical company, was awarded $1,450,000 to help develop its next generation therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of cancer, based on technology developed at Baylor College of Medicine. Bellicum's BP-GMAX-CD1 lead product candidate incorporates a pharmacologically regulated switch designed to generate a substantially more potent and durable immune response against the patient's cancer cells than seen with other vaccines in development. "In today's financing environment, human clinical data is paramount to attracting interest from the venture community. The ETF award and angel financing provide the resources needed to demonstrate human proof of concept in a Phase I/II clinical trial, and thereby position the company to raise the substantial capital needed to move the lead product towards regulatory approval" stated Tom Ferrell, CEO, Bellicum Inc. For more information, visit http://www.bellicum.com.

Laser Tissue Welding, Inc., a biotherapeutic company, was awarded $160,000 to help develop its innovative sutureless surgical therapies using human serum albumin based biodegradable biomaterials to join, repair and create hemostasis on surfaces of solid visceral organs such as the liver, spleen and kidney involved in trauma, cancer and transplantation even in the presence of coagulation failure or therapeutic anticoagulation. For more information, visit http://www.lasertissuewelding.com.

ThromboVision, Inc., a biomedical diagnostics company, was awarded $1.5 million to help develop its ThromboGuide[R] Platelet Function Analyzer. The T-Guide([R])is a risk assessment/risk modification platelet function solution that consists of a disposable test kit and a point-of-care base unit. The system will help physicians individualize antiplatelet therapy that they use to prevent heart attacks, strokes and stent occlusions. "We are particularly proud that the ETF award shows confidence in our technology and our management team, which spurs us to get the T-Guide[R] in physicians' hands, helping them help patients, as soon as the FDA allows," said Edward Teitel, MD, JD, MBA, President & CEO of ThromboVision, Inc. For more information visit http://www.thrombovision.com.

Visualase, Inc., a biomedical diagnostics company, was awarded $750,000 to help develop its Visualase[R] Thermal Therapy System, a revolutionary tool for the destructive treatment of cancer or other malignancies using patented laser and MRI-based guidance systems. Laser-induced interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a minimally invasive therapy for the treatment of solid tumors that uses laser light to heat and destroy the affected tissue. Combining this therapy with MRI thermal imaging feedback allows physicians a level of targeting and control previously not possible, opening a host of tumor ablation applications in neurosurgical and other vital organ systems. This therapy offers tremendous potential to minimize surgical complications, reduce recovery time and hospital stays, and decrease associated health care costs. "This investment from the Emerging Technology Fund is a partial match of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant from the NIH's National Cancer Institute and further validates the significant potential of our Visualase Thermal Therapy Systems", said Ashok Gowda, Ph.D., President of Visualase, Inc. "The funds will help support ongoing clinical studies in Paris, France, and new studies that will begin soon in Houston at M.D. Anderson as well as other cancer centers in the U.S. The award will also help us attract additional financing and the high quality personnel required to accelerate the clinical deployment of our tumor ablation and image guidance technologies", he added. For more information visit http://www.visualase.net.

The four companies announced yesterday join nine other Gulf Coast region award recipients, all supported by Houston Technology Center Acceleration program: CorInnova Incorporated, Endothelix, Inc., itRobotics, Inc., NanoComposites, Inc. (NCI), Nanospectra Biosciences, Inc., Carbon Nanotube Acceleration Project (CNAP), an operating division of Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc. (CNI), PLx Pharma Inc., Molecular LogiX Inc. and Lynntech, Inc.

Texas Governor Rick Perry's $200 million Texas Emerging Technology Fund was created in June 2005 to assist small to mid-size technology companies expedite the commercialization of new life-changing inventions. The ETF program has been renewed to fund awards through August, 2009. HTC serves as the Gulf Coast RCIC for the ETF, collaborating with Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), Economic Development Organizations (EDO) within its 30-county region, area universities, and community volunteers. The Gulf Coast RCIC and the other seven centers are responsible for processing all funding applications and supporting emerging technology companies in their regions.

"Houston Technology Center extends congratulations to the four new ETF award recipients and looks forward to assisting these companies as they move forward in the commercialization of their technology. HTC is privileged to be a part of this state-wide effort to elevate our emerging technology sector and universities and make Texas a strong competitor in the global marketplace. ETF results thus far have had great benefits to the State, the region and our community," stated Walter Ulrich, President and CEO of Houston Technology Center.

For detailed information about the Emerging Technology Fund, visit the Gulf Coast RCIC web site at www.gulfcoastrcic.org.

About Houston Technology Center: Houston Technology Center (HTC) is Greater Houston's business accelerator and the largest technology business incubator in Texas. A 501(C)(3) corporation and the center of entrepreneurship in Houston, HTC accelerates the commercialization of emerging technology companies within several key sectors: energy, information technology, life sciences, nanotechnology and NASA / aerospace technologies. For more information visit www.houstontech.org.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 10, 2007
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