San Antonio Hub To Foster Pediatric Medical Device Development

By Iris Gonzalez, Startups San Antonio The San Antonio-Austin hub of a pediatric medical device consortium ...

InCube, VelocityTX Join Work to Develop Pediatric Medical Devices

By David Holley, Xconomy Texas San Antonio—A group of San Antonio institutions are getting involved ...

3 firms coming to InCube in S.A.
September 29, 2010


San Antonio Express-News, by David Hendricks

CAPTION: Gov. Rick Perry announces to San Antonio, Bexar County and area business leaders that the Texas Emerging Technology Fund will invest a total of $9.2 million in the city's biotech business incubator. Juanito Garza/Express-News

Companies aiming to produce three cutting-edge biotechnology devices - implants detecting heart failure and another detecting and preventing epileptic seizures, plus a skin patch for women with iron deficiencies - will be the first three moving to San Antonio's biotech business incubator, Gov. Rick Perry and InCube Laboratories Inc. Chairman Mir Imran announced Tuesday.

The trio of early-stage companies from San Jose, Calif., will begin operations in InCube's incubator, called the San Antonio Innovation Center, opening in November.

Perry announced to a packed City Hall room that the Texas Emerging Technology Fund will invest a total of $9.2 million in the incubator's initial three companies.

Noticeably absent from the event was Mayor Julián Castro. Imran said Castro was leading a San Antonio delegation to San Diego to recruit yet another, still unidentified, California biotechnology company to come to San Antonio.

With Castro were Economic Development Foundation President Mario Hernandez, Bexar County Economic Development Director David Marquez, Deputy City Manager A.J. Rodriguez and others.

Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff confirmed the purpose of the San Diego trip by telling Perry he'd be called to assist in recruiting the San Diego company with state incentives.

"We're ready," Perry replied.

The three initial InCube companies are Corhythm Inc. with the heart failure device, Neurolink Inc. with the epilepsy device and Fe3 Medical Inc. with the iron patch.

The products of these companies, if approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are expected to reach millions of patients around the world and create hundreds of biotechnology jobs in San Antonio.

"This is about people's lives," Perry said.

"It is not always about the money and jobs. The money and jobs is a great byproduct. InCube has seen this potential, and they are coming to Texas."

The governor said he remembers when inventions at Texas universities left the state for market development.

"The Emerging Technology Fund is changing that," Perry said.

The Emerging Technology Fund was started in 2005 and has invested $169 million to 117 early-stage companies and given $161 million in grants to Texas universities.

Imran announced InCube's expansion to San Antonio in June, but the names and products of the initial companies in incubation were withheld until the three companies worked out their investment contracts with the state. The contracts were signed a couple of weeks ago, Imran said.

The three companies are in various stages of animal testing, Imran said, and soon will move to human and clinical trials. They likely will remain in the confines of the San Antonio Innovation Center until their management teams are in place, probably two to three years, Imran said.

Once they emerge into the marketplace, they each likely will employ more than 200 people. Imran said he already is bringing several management team members to San Antonio along with an unspecified number of scientists and engineers.

InCube's local team will be led by Matt Harrison, venture adviser for InCube Ventures in San Antonio, and Phil Morgan, newly recruited from Raleigh-Durham, N.C., who will head research and development at the San Antonio Innovation Center. Morgan has a background in drug discovery and development, Harrison said.

InCube is in talks with the Institute for Preclinical Studies at Texas A&M University to help develop the treatments.

The InCube team will move into 16,000 square feet of the 20,000-square-foot building at 12500 Network Blvd. on the Northwest Side in mid to late November.

The rest of the building will be occupied by an arm of the Texas Research & Technology Foundation, which assists other technology and biotech companies. The foundation also is an investor in the InCube incubator.

InCube Labs will invest $15 million in the $25 million incubator. The other $10 million will come from local governments and other investors.

The city is investing $6 million, Bexar County $2 million, the Texas Research & Technology Foundation $1 million, and the University of Texas at San Antonio and the UT Health Science Center each are investing $500,000.

The initial three companies, to be followed by more companies, will be further supported financially by a venture capital fund called InCube Ventures II. The fund is projected to grow to $100 million, with $50 million to be raised nationally by Imran. As of June, $30 million had been raised in San Antonio, including a $10 million investment from insurance giant USAA.

Imran said Tuesday that local investment commitments still stand at about $30 million and that he has raised another $30 million from national sources.

"We have investments from Singapore, and a couple of (U.S.) pharmaceutical companies have also committed. We are in discussions with a number of others. We think by early next year, we will reach our goal of $100 million and maybe even exceed it," Imran said.

In all cases, the investors, including the city and state, hope their equity will yield profits. The payoffs will come when the companies bring in revenues and net income or are acquired by larger, existing companies.

Sculley said any city profits will be plowed back into job-creation efforts.

Several investors in InCube Ventures II attended Tuesday's announcement. Broadway Bank officer Joe McKinney said his firm invested $1 million.

"It should bring great economic development to the city," McKinney said.

J.P. Singh, founder of Karta Technologies Inc., said he was an investor, too, although he didn't disclose the amount.

"I think it is a great opportunity. They have an excellent track record. They are doing a lot of good for people with medical issues. The need for these products is huge," Singh said.

Imran holds about 250 patents and has created 22 companies, 20 of which still exist. About 15 of them have been purchased by other medical device industry giants, including two to Minnesota-based Medtronic Inc., which last year opened a sales-and-customer-support center in San Antonio for its diabetes unit.

Imran uses the proceeds of company sales to form new firms.

Imran first visited San Antonio last December when he was in Texas and actually looking at Dallas for expansion. He switched to San Antonio and has visited the city nearly every week this year. He estimated he has made 25 visits in the last nine months and plans to buy a San Antonio home soon.

The inventor was accompanied by his wife, Christine, on Tuesday. They have four daughters and a son.

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