Houston has played a significant role in boosting the nation’s biotech industry. While Houston is still a hotspot for energy and oil, the city is steadily becoming a burgeoning life sciences hub. In fact, the city boasted the third fastest-growing biotech community in the nation between 2014 and 2017, according to a CBRE report. Houston’s biotech industry is gaining momentum due to an increase in funding as well. According to the Greater Houston Partnership, nearly $180 million in VC funding was allocated to the city’s ecosystem of life sciences-related companies in 2019 alone.
Like many startups and tech companies across Houston, the city’s life sciences leaders have been tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues. Whether they’re developing oncology drug candidates or advancing genomic medicine through the creation of sequencing technologies, the city’s biotech organizations are pulling on decades of research and determination to transform the medical landscape on a global scale. Here’s a look at 14 biotech companies in Houston making a major impact on medical research and discovery.
Biotech Companies in Houston to Know
- Celltex Therapeutics
- Moleculin Biotech
- Marker Therapeutics
- Nanospectra Biosciences
- Salarius Pharmaceuticals
- RedVault Biosciences
- CAVU Biotherapies
Focus: Canine Cancer Treatment
What they do: CAVU Biotherapies provides immune-based solutions to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases in dogs. The company offers an immune health monitoring service, which describes a dog’s immune system through the use of a blood sample, as well as an autologous prescription product that retrains and expands a dog’s T cells to recognize and fight cancer. CAVU Biotherapies’ ultimate aim is to use its immune-guided medicine to treat horses, cats, and eventually, humans.
Focus: Stem Cell Banking + Therapy
What they do: Founded by David Eller and Dr. Stanley Jones, Celltex Therapeutics focuses on developing stem cell therapies for a variety of conditions. The company’s stem cell processing and banking methods are designed to ensure the genetic integrity and uniformity of an individual’s cells in quantities necessary for therapeutic applications. Using proprietary technology, Celltex Therapeutics enables stem cells to be used for regenerative therapy for conditions like vascular, autoimmune and degenerative diseases.
Focus: Cell Therapy
What they do: InGeneron is a clinical stage cell therapy company that specializes in novel, evidence-based regenerative medicine therapies. The company’s therapy is designed to repair injured tissue, improve the quality of life for patients and modify the progression of their disease. InGeneron focuses mainly on musculoskeletal indications such as pain management.
Focus: Cancer Treatment
What they do: Moleculin Biotech is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to the treatment of highly resistant cancers and viruses. The company develops oncology drug candidates for highly resistant tumors as well as as prodrug to exploit the potential uses of inhibitors of glycolysis. Guided by the aim to provide new hope to cancer patients, Moleculin Biotech focuses on discovering new treatments for acute myeloid leukemia, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer and brain tumors.
What they do: Nanospectra Biosciences is spearheading a patient-centric use of nanomedicine for the removal of cancerous tissues. The company’s ultra-focal nanoshell technology is designed to thermally destroy solid tumors without damaging adjacent healthy tissue. Nanospectra Biosciences aims to maximize treatment efficacy while minimizing side effects associated with surgery, radiation and traditional focal therapies.
Focus: Cell Therapy
What they do: Marker Therapeutics is an immuno-oncology company that focuses on the development of next-generation T cell-based immunotherapies. With the aim of treating hematological malignancies and solid tumor indications, the company uses its own MultiTAA T cell technology, which is based on the selective expansion of non-engineered, tumor-specific T cells. Marker Therapeutics is also working on developing proprietary DNA expression technology that is intended to improve the cellular immune system’s ability to recognize and destroy diseased cells.
Focus: 3D Cell Culture
What they do: Nano3D Biosciences is dedicated to the development of 3D cell culture solutions. The company’s core technology allows them to levitate or bioprint cells, which results in the formation of cultures that are more easily assembled and handled. Nano3D Biosciences’ products and services are intended for biomedical research, drug discovery, precision medicine, toxicology and regenerative medicine.
Focus: Small Molecule Inhibitors
What they do: Tvardi Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotech company working on a new class of medicines for cancer, chronic inflammation and fibrosis. The company is focusing on the creation of orally delivered, small molecule inhibitors of STAT3, which is a key regulatory protein positioned at the intersection of many disease pathways. Tvardi Therapeutics is dedicated to delivering safe and effective solutions for use in the treatment of numerous diseases.
Focus: Targeted Cancer Therapies
What they do: Salarius Pharmaceuticals focuses on developing targeted therapies to treat various types of cancers. The company’s lead candidate, Seclidemstat, is intended to treat Ewing sarcoma, a pediatric and young adult bone cancer that currently lacks targeted therapies. Salarius Pharmaceuticals performs clinical trials for the treatment of other advanced solid tumors including prostate, breast and ovarian cancers.
Focus: Genomic Medicine
What they do: Founded by Michael Metzker, RedVault Biosciences develops technologies with the aim of advancing genomic medicine. The company is currently working on a variety of projects including the development of sequencing technologies to determine haplotypes and structural variation in complex genomes. RedVault Biosciences is dedicated to identifying technology needs, creating and testing ideas, and transferring deliverables to production and distribution.
Focus: DNA Sequencing
What they do: Avance Biosciences focuses on assay development, assay validation and sample testing using next-generation DNA sequencing and other biological methods. The company offers biologics testing, diagnostic assay validation, GMO genomic testing, gene / cell therapy testing, digital and real-time PCR, microbial testing and more. Avance Biosciences’ aim is to assist its clients in advancing drug development and genomic research.
Focus: Stem Cell Research
What they do: Located in nearby Sugar Land, Hope Biosciences is dedicated to developing stem cell-based therapies that are safe, effective and secure. The company’s proprietary technology enables patients to make virtually unlimited and identical stem cells from their own tissue. Hope Biosciences offers stem cell banking solutions for both adults and newborns.
Focus: Interventional Cardiology
What they do: Saranas has created technology that enables the early detection and monitoring of bleeding complications associated with vascular access procedures. The company’s monitoring system checks changes in the blood vessel’s electrical resistance before monitoring if bleeding has occurred from an unintentionally injured blood vessel. Saranas aims to allow physicians to mitigate downstream consequences by addressing bleeds before they become complications.
What they do: Microbiology Specialists Inc. specializes in microbiology testing, playing a role in microbial investigations and studies. The company also focuses on infectious disease diagnosis, forensic bacteriology and mycology, medical device testing and infection prevention. Microbiology Specialists Inc. is committed to delivering reliable, accurate and cost-effective microbiological results.