(HOUSTON) — A Houston-based biotechnology company co-founded by a scientist at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology has received an investment award of $250,000 from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF).

The company is Pulmotect, Inc., which Magnus Höök, Ph.D., director and professor of the HSC-IBT Center for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases, co-founded two years ago. The company focuses on stimulating the lungs’ natural immune response to fight infectious disease. As part of the TETF agreement, an additional $750,000 has been reserved for the company if it achieves specific milestones.

Pulmotect’s technology is licensed from and benefiting from collaborations with the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology in Houston and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, with additional support provided from Baylor College of Medicine. The HSC-M.D. Anderson collaboration is part of a larger strategic alliance between the HSC-IBT and M.D. Anderson’s Division of Internal Medicine, which shares space in the Texas A&M Health Science Center’s Houston Campus building.

Pulmotect’s technology focuses on specific ways to stimulate the human lungs’ innate immune system, the body’s natural “first line of defense.” Targeted stimulation has been shown in live animals to boost immunity rapidly, providing effective short-term protection against a wide range of deadly pathogens. The range covers bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens, including influenza, staph and anthrax.

When Texas Governor Rick Perry announced the award, he noted, “Texans will be able to breathe easier, thanks to Pulmotect’s efforts to prevent lung infections.”

IBT’s Dr. Höök noted how this funding will benefit their research.

“We are excited about this award and the validation of our technology by the state,” he said. “These funds will help us accomplish key milestones that will take our technologies forward, bringing them closer to the hands of the doctors who can help save lives. The AlphaDev approach, and their experienced management, is helping us rapidly assemble a strong intellectual property position and advance our pipeline of targets and products in development.”

— Marketing & Communications