TMC Innovation Announces 2024 Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics Cohort

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TMC Innovation Announces 2024 Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics Cohort

Nine-month program helps entrepreneurs win grants, investors, and business partners

Houston, TX (Thursday, January 25) – Texas Medical Center Innovation (TMCi) announced the 2024 Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics annual cohort comprised of Texas-based innovators working on small molecule, antibody and cell therapy technologies. In its fourth year, the Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics continues to attract the latest advancements in cancer therapeutics by mentoring inventors and startups looking to bring novel cancer therapies from early drug discovery to the next business milestone.

“The ACT program provides a bridge to commercialization in Texas by surrounding innovators with strategic mentorship, milestone development, and a network of resources to move their projects forward,” said Emily Reiser, Ph.D., Associate Director of TMC Innovation. “We are excited to welcome this year’s cohort and to continue enabling participants to advance their solutions to treat cancer.”

The 23 companies are set to start a nine-month program designed to equip them with strategic insights and to secure investment and pursue strategic partners. A total of 76 researchers and companies have actively participated in the accelerator program since 2021. March Biosciences, Inc. and Mongoose Bio, LLC, past participants of the Accelerator, secured $13.4 million and $10.6 million, respectively, from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) for product development research in leukemia, lymphoma, esophagus, lung and bronchus cancer. Collectively, ACT Program participants have raised more than $130M in funding (from NIH, CPIRT, and venture capital) and three projects are in the clinic.

“Our program has cultivated a dynamic ecosystem where partners, researchers, and inventors, who have been part of the journey since its inception and received various forms of funding, continue to propel their life-saving products and technologies forward. Our 2024 cohort represents our most diverse cohort to date, including eight companies led by women entrepreneurs. Additionally, we are particularly proud that the cohort includes a blend of new and reoccurring organizations that have leveraged this opportunity in the past to extend their work and continue the momentum to build off the successes of our previous years.” said Ahmed AlRawi, Program Manager, Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics.

The participants include:

  • Alexandre Reuben – UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Betty Kim & Jiang Wen – UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Bin He – Houston Methodist
  • Daniel Kiss & John Cooke (PeakRNA) – Houston Methodist
  • Hongjun Liang – Texas Tech-Lubbock
  • Jacob Goell & Isaac Hilton (Mercator Biosciences) – Rice University
  • Jay Hartenbach & Matthew Halpert – (Diakonos Oncology Corp.)
  • Kathryn O’Donnell – UT-Southwestern
  • Maralice Conacci Sorrell – UT-Southwestern
  • Neeraj Saini – UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Neil Thapar (Barricade Therapeutics, Corp.)
  • Nina Keshavarzi (Celine Biotechnologies)
  • Raphael G. Ognar & Henri Bayle (NKILT Therapeutics, Inc.)
  • Richard Austin & Michael Abrahamson – (Reglagene, Inc.)
  • Tim Peterson & Joppe Nieuwenhuis – (Bioio, Inc.)
  • Todd Aguilera & Eslam Elghonaimy – UT-Southwestern
  • Venkata Lokesh Battula (Siddhi Therapeutics, Inc.) – UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Weei-Chin Lin & Fang-Tsyr Lin – Baylor College of Medicine
  • Yong Li & Dongxiao Feng (Sotla Therapeutics) – Baylor College of Medicine
  • Anil Sood & Zhiqiang An – UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Narendra Kumar & Jayshree Mishra – Texas A&M-College Station
  • Tao Wang (NightStar Biotechnologies, Inc) – UT-Southwestern
  • Jian Hu – UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center


About Texas Medical Center (TMC) — the world’s most comprehensive life science ecosystem—is at the forefront of advancing life sciences. TMC is on a mission to further accelerate the pace of healing by harnessing our collective expertise in innovation, research, development, production, and patient care within a single, centralized medical ecosystem. With over 70+ million square feet and 120,000+ employees, we will bring a new economic impact of $63 billion, TMC is leveraging the collective power by pioneering a revolutionary life sciences initiative to house the entire treatment life cycle from discovery to delivery, within a single, world-class medical complex, on a scale never before seen.

About TMC Innovation (TMCi): Housed in the TMC Innovation Factory, TMC Innovation forms, fosters, recruits, and funds healthcare companies worldwide that are writing the future of healthcare. TMCi performs diligence on the companies seeking to progress toward clinical and business milestones in collaboration with TMC’s Medical Campus member institutions and our global network of advisors and embedded corporate partners. We align these resources through our globally recognized programs:  BiodesignAccelerator for Cancer Therapeutics, and Health Tech.

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