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State investing in San Antonio biotech firm
September 30, 2009

By David Hendricks - Express-News

The state will invest more than $1 million in Azaya Therapeutics Inc. of San Antonio through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund for the development of its innovative Azaya Liposome Encapsulated Radiation Therapy for treatment of cancerous tumors, Gov. Rick Perry's office announced Tuesday.

The therapy uses liposomes, or tiny bubbles made of cell membrane material, to deliver cancer-therapy drugs by injection directly into a tumor. The therapy will be used as a post-surgery treatment for several types of tumors and can potentially be used to treat a variety of cancers including prostate, breast, rectal, head and neck.

Because current cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation do not focus specifically on cancer cells, they are often detrimental to the patient's health. Azaya says its drug therapy focuses on a specific cancerous tumor, improving the outcome and safety of oncology treatments.

The Emerging Technology Fund is a $200 million initiative created by the Texas Legislature in 2005. It was reauthorized in 2007 and again last spring with $203.5 million for the 2010-2011 biennium.

A 17-member advisory committee of high-tech leaders, entrepreneurs and research experts reviews potential projects and recommends funding allocations to the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker.

To date, the ETF has allocated more than $102 million to 81 early-stage companies and $148 million in grant matching and research superiority funds to Texas universities.


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