Fannin Portfolio Company Earns $3 Million NIH Grant to Conduct Drug Trials

VC / incubator portfolio company raises NIH money for inhaled therapeutic.

Houston, TX – Early-stage life science commercialization company Fannin Innovation Studio ( today announced that biotech portfolio company Pulmotect, Inc. earned a $3 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to further test its immune modulation drug PUL-042 in at-risk cancer patients most susceptible to respiratory infection.  The NIH grant follows a matching award from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) in 2012.

Fannin, Houston’s only for-profit firm that provides integrated funding and direct management of life science start-ups, recognized the viability of Pulmotect’s original platform technology in 2008, providing senior management and seed funding for the biotech startup in its formative years. The Fannin-Pulmotect relationship allowed researchers to give commercial focus to their development of PUL-042, paving the way for the company to enter Phase 1b/2a clinical studies later this year.  Pulmotect completed its Phase 1 study in mid-2014.  To date, Fannin and Pulmotect have together secured $18 million of development funding to support Pulmotect’s long-term commercialization plan.

“Pulmotect’s success is a prime example of Fannin’s capital-efficient business model.  We engage in a rigorous evaluation of the many diverse life science projects under management.  We support those that show promise, and we flexibly adjust for ones that aren’t meeting objectives and give them time to work, or reallocate resources,” said Fannin Managing Partner Dr. Atul Varadhachary. 

Pulmotect’s novel drug therapeutic stimulates the lungs’ innate immune system providing effective defenses against a wide range of lethal inhaled pathogens.  The initial indication for PUL-042 is the prevention of opportunistic pneumonia in cancer patients whose immune systems have been compromised by their chemotherapy treatment. 

One of nine portfolio companies under Fannin management, Pulmotect is identifying additional applications for PUL-042 including biodefense against the inhaled pathogens (anthrax, SARS or ebola), prevention and treatment of seasonal and pandemic influenza, and other respiratory infections. Fannin Innovation Studio expects to add 15 more portfolio companies to its roster in the next five years.

About Fannin Innovation Studio

Houston-based Fannin Innovation Studio is an early-stage life sciences development group focused exclusively on commercializing medical technologies. Fannin partners with life science innovators to co-found startup companies by providing a pooled management team, central office space and seed funding. To further bridge the commercialization gap, Fannin’s apprenticeship program provides aspiring entrepreneurs with hands-on development experience with its portfolio companies.

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About Pulmotect, Inc.

Founded in 2007, Pulmotect’s technology is licensed from The Texas A&M University System and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Pulmotect. Pulmotect partnered in 2008 with Fannin Innovation Studio, a Houston-based early-stage life science management and investment company to assist in the drug’s commercial development. Pulmotect is the recipient of multiple early stage investments and grants, as well as recognition and awards from the biotechnology community, including winning the Southeast Bio Early Stage Shootout. In 2012 the Company was awarded $7.1M award from the Cancer Prevention Institute of Texas (CPRIT). This award is the company’s sixth SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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City: Houston
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