Gov. Rick Perry today announced the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) is investing $1.9 million in Savara Inc. of Austin for the development of their innovative product that improves lung cancer diagnostics and treatment delivery.
"Texas is a leader in cutting edge biotechnologies thanks to investments from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund that have attracted companies and top researchers to our state," Gov. Perry said. "Savara's technology will help identify and treat lung cancer more quickly and efficiently, saving lives and bringing us one step closer to eliminating this deadly disease."
Savara's product is a dry powder that can be inhaled to deliver CT contrast agents and cancer therapies deep into the lungs and lymph nodes, helping more accurately diagnose and treat lung cancer. Accurate diagnosis and determination of the cancer stage is a challenge and major impediment to successful treatment, as there is not currently a method for the safe and effective delivery of imaging contrast agents and therapeutics. Savara's technology provides a non-invasive method of imaging the lungs and lymph nodes, eliminating the need for exploratory surgery and reducing the cost of complications and traumas due to unnecessary surgery.
The company is partnering with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas College of Pharmacy, Baylor College of Medicine, Scott and White Cancer Research Institute and Texas A&M University for the development of this technology.
The TETF is a $200 million initiative created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 at the governor's request, and reauthorized in 2007 and again in 2009. 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 speaker of the House. To date, the TETF has allocated more than $155 million in funds to 110 early stage companies, and $153 million in grant matching and research superiority funds to Texas universities.