Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TX Fund Invests Millions

The Governor of Texas Rick Perry announced that the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) a $200 million initiative created by the Texas legislature has invested $2 million in CryoPen LLC of Corpus Christi. The funding will be used to develop and commercialize their innovative cryosurgical device called CryoPen. To date TETF has allocated $115 million in funds to Texas companies and universities.

CyroPen provides a simple non-invasive and effective means to perform cryosurgery a surgical technique that implements freezing to destroy unwanted or harmful tissue, most often related to skin lesions removal.

Unlike other existing methods, CryoPen eliminates the need for storage and handling of hazardous cryogenic liquids and gases, plus the patient’s results are not highly dependent on operator technique. Therefore, CryoPen’s operational simplicity limits the amount of training needed to operate the device.

Because the CyroPen is safe and easy to use, the device makes cryosurgery more easily available to primary care physicians especially physicians in small communities eliminating the need for patients to travel to larger towns to see a doctor.

Skin lesion removal is a $3 billion market in the U.S. and a $6 billion market worldwide. CryoPen began selling the device in 2006 and in its regional phase 1 rollout, more than 50 CryoPen units were sold to help with lesion removals averaging six device sales per month. The units currently sell for $8000 per unit. The device has been selling to family and general practitioners, podiatrists, internists, general surgeons, pediatricians, gynecologists, and dermatologists.

Recently, the Tech Fund announced an investment of $1.5 million in Codekko Software Inc. of Dallas, and $250,000 to DentLight of Richardson to work on:

  • Codekko is working to improve the function and performance of computer servers by improving performance, scalability, and delivery speed by up to 10 times in the delivery of web-based applications. Codekko is partnering with the Jonnsson School of Engineering, the Computer Science Department, and the School of Management in the Marketing Department at the University of Texas at Dallas
  • DentLight’s dental diagnostic technology integrates LEDs, lasers, optics, and digital electronics into its next generation treatment devices. The company has partnered with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s dental school to research and evaluate the technology’s effectiveness at diagnosing dental disease

In a move earlier this year, TETF invested $5 million to use to recruit scientists and surgeons in trauma care and next generation medical technologies to the UTHSC-H for their newly created Center for Transitional Injury Research (CeTIR) program. In Texas alone, 85,000 Texans are hospitalized as a result of traumatic injury and more than 13,000 die.

In addition to the TETF investment, UTHSC-H, Memorial Hermann Hospital System and the University of Texas System Medical Foundation have pledged nearly $13 million to establish the CeTIR to attract a team of experts in medical research and trauma care.