Houston Biotech Company Recipient Of $1 Million Award From Texas Emerging Technology Fund Endothelix Recognized for Advancement in the Detection of Heart Disease

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Houston-based Endothelix Inc. has been named the recipient of a $1 million grant by the State of Texas’s Emerging Technology Fund. The Texas Life Science Center recommended Endothelix for a $1 million grant to the Texas Emerging Technology Fund Board.

Houston-based Endothelix Inc has been named the recipient of a $1 million grant by the State of Texas’s Emerging Technology Fund. The Texas Life Science Center recommended Endothelix for a $1 million grant to the Texas Emerging Technology Fund Board.

“We were pleased to recommend Endothelix for the Texas Emerging Technology grant” said Charles Tate, Chairman of the Texas Life Science Center. “Endothelix is a prime example of an emerging medical technology company that can benefit from the grant, and has the potential to pay back the state of Texas many times over.”

Endothelix was awarded the $1 million grant for the development of its low-cost, non-invasive VENDYS™ procedure, a new technology developed for the measurement of vascular reactivity, a marker of endothelial dysfunction, by monitoring temperature changes at one’s fingertips. The company has positioned itself as the first endothelial function monitoring company in the U.S. and is developing a pipeline of technologies to maintain its leadership.

“Endothelial dysfunction is the gateway to cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke,” explained Endothelix founder and CEO Dr. Morteza Naghavi, a former director of the Vulnerable Plaque Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center and the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. “Current technological difficulties have limited the use of endothelial function measurement to research laboratories. Endothelix’s mission is to bring this valuable test to patient care and enable physicians to detect their patient’s endothelial dysfunction and apply appropriate therapies,” says Dr. Naghavi.

“With this grant, we can continue our clinical trials and recruit a management team necessary to secure the long-term commercial success of Endothelix,” said Dr. Michael Jamieson, a member of the company’s board of advisors. “Endothelial function monitoring and therapy is emerging as a new era in cardiovascular medicine, much like blood pressure monitoring and therapy 30 years ago. Endothelix can capitalize on this opportunity.”

Scientists have called endothelial function a “barometer” of cardiovascular health. In addition to heart attack and stroke, it is associated with diabetes, heart failure, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s.

“The State of Texas is honored that Endothelix Inc is dedicated to the commercialization of a non-invasive endothelial dysfunction monitor for early detection of cardiovascular disease that will lead to an increase of high-quality jobs in our state,” stated a letter to Dr. Naghavi signed by Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, and Speaker of the House Tom Craddick. “We are confident that you will find Texas an ideal environment for expediting your emerging technologies to the market.”

The Texas Emerging Technology Fund is a new initiative by Governor Perry’s economic reform committee to foster development of emerging technologies in Texas. “The Emerging Technology Fund is a great initiative and we are delighted that a Houston-based life science company has won the award in such a competitive race,” said Jacqueline Northcut, president of BioHouston (http://www.biohouston.org), a non-profit organization that is leading a broad effort to establish Houston region as a vigorous global competitor in life science and biotechnology commercialization. Endothelix is a BioHouston Associate.

Endothelix has also been recently approved by the board of Houston Technology Center (http://www.HoustonTech.org) as a Client Company and is working with the center to recruit a world class management team to assure the company’s rapid commercialization and entry to the cardiovascular market. “As the largest technology business incubator in Texas, we are proud to help promising technology companies like Endothelix,” said Paul Frison, CEO and president of the Center.

Last year, Endothelix received a worldwide exclusive license from the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center and the Texas Heart Institute for the thermal detection of endothelial dysfunction, a technology invented by Dr. Naghavi and his graduate student. In September 2003, Dr. Naghavi left the university to advance and commercialize the technology. In collaboration with the faculty of other Houston-based institutions, Dr. Ralph Metcalfe, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Houston, and Dr. Craig Hartley, Professor of Biomedical Engineering from the Baylor College of Medicine, Endothelix is advancing its technology platforms beyond thermal monitoring. “Noninvasive imaging of endothelial dysfunction has enormous potential. At the Computational Biomedicine Laboratory* (CBL) we are pleased to collaborate with Endothelix and help realize this opportunity,” said Dr. Ioannis Kakadiaris, another collaborator of Endothelix who is a Professor of Computer Science and Director of CBL at the University of Houston.

Local investors associated with Houston Angel Network (http://www.houstonangelnetwork.org) and Houston Technology Center have supported Endothelix. Endothelix is currently conducting clinical studies and seeking FDA approval with the goal of making its first product available for commercial use in 2007. The company envisions a home-based model of VENDYS™ in future.

In addition to local universities, the Endothelix Scientific Advisory Board includes world-renowned cardiovascular researchers from various institutions including the University of California in Los Angeles, Columbia University Medical Center and Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, and Aarhus University in Denmark.

About: Endothelix is dedicated to bringing endothelial function measurement from research laboratories to the mainstream practice of medicine in a low-cost and operator-independent manner. Endothelial dysfunction is associated with several diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal failure, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. The immediate focus of the company is on early detection of cardiovascular disease and monitoring response to therapy. More information is available at http://www.endothelix.com.


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