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San Antonio biotech industry goes global in 2016
December 23, 2016

BioMed SA President Ann Stevens says Alamo City biotech companies gained some important global exposure in 2016. Photo by Lyndsey Johnson/SABJ

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

By the time the New Year's Eve confetti is cleaned up and the holiday gifts are returned, San Antonio leaders may look back at 2016 as one of the more critical years for the city's biotech industry.

There has been a confluence of deals over the last 12 months that have given the sector more breadth and depth internationally, while positioning San Antonio as a more important global player in the biosciences.

In August, StemBioSys Inc. CEO Bob Hutchens confirmed that the company entered into an agreement with Cellaviva AB, which secured the exclusive rights to distribute the San Antonio-based biotech company's cell-expansion product - BM-HPME - in Sweden and Denmark. Earlier in the year, StemBioSys entered into agreements with SeouLin Bioscience Co. Ltd. and Funakoshi Co. Ltd. to market and distributes its products in the Republic of Korea and Japan, respectively.

"Our distributor agreements internationally were all-important for San Antonio and obviously for StemBioSys," Hutchens said.

Roughly three months after StemBioSys confirmed its wins, I reported that San Antonio-based Prytime Medical Devices Inc. had secured a CE Mark for its initial product - the ER REBOA catheter. The regulatory clearance will enable Prytime to accelerate its expansion plans outside the United States, according to the company's president and CEO, David Spencer.

Meanwhile, bioAffinity Technologies Inc., which also has its headquarters in the Alamo City, secured a certificate of grant of standard patent for its proprietary CyPath early cancer detection technology from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2016. The patent expands bioAffinity's market opportunities across a broader international footprint.

San Antonio is also providing a new home for some international companies, including Cytocentrics, which relocated from Germany in 2015. The company recently changed its name to CytoBioscience to reflect its expanded scope of work, which should further raise the Alamo City's global profile.

INCELL Corp. also made moves that will draw attention to San Antonio. In 2016, the San Antonio biotech company entered into a joint venture with a Belgian investment group, forming a new company called BioTurnKey. That relationship spawned deeper discussions in recent weeks about more expansive collaboration between San Antonio and Belgium.

BioMed SA President Ann Stevens insisted that it is incumbent on industry leaders to seek out more global opportunities.

"We must continue to build on these early activities and consciously leverage our unique assets," she said.


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