Dallas-Fort Worth is well known for its tech expertise. Now it being recognized as the place where technology meets life science—a convergence that’s driving rapid growth in the biotech ecosystem. Leaders in the industry attribute this success to the unique convergence of the region’s exceptional tech talent pool and cutting-edge developments in life science. The area has seen groundbreaking advancements in areas ranging from genetic engineering to cancer treatment to eco-restoration.
Dr. Hubert Zajicek, CEO, Partner, and Co-Founder of Health Wildcatters, is among a group of local biotech leaders who see Dallas’ strength in technology and its role in the region’s biotech boom. “Our region is not a single-industry type region. It’s much more than that—and technology is at the forefront,” he said on a recent panel hosted by D CEO Healthcare. He sees the “distributiveness of the region” as a primary strength, together with a growing base of research institutions.
Other area biotech leaders, such as Gabby Everett, director of business operations and strategy at BioLabs Pegasus Park, and Sulagna Bhattacharya, CEO of Nanoscope Therapeutics, are also optimistic about the future of biotech in Dallas-Fort Worth. Everett says Biolabs Dallas has $4.5 million worth of research equipment on hand to help biotech startups, while Bhattacharya believes that “one day, Dallas will be not only the emerging hub but also the biotech hub.”
Duane Dankesreiter, who leads research and innovation at the Dallas Regional Chamber, emphasizes the role of DFW’s strong tech talent pool and the influx of college graduates as key factors in the region’s biotech success. In his words, Dallas-Fort Worth is “putting the tech in the bio.”
Leading the charge in this biotech boom are 16 North Texas companies that are developing breakthroughs using cutting-edge technology, such as virtual reality-based therapies for seniors and AI-powered algorithms to predict patient responses to life-saving treatments.
16 Companies Leading the Way in North Texas Biotech
Balanced Media Technology
BMT is collaborating with SMU and the Retina Foundation of the Southwest to commercialize technology to fight age-related macular degeneration using a crowdsourced video game to capture data.
Caris Life Sciences
Caris innovated AI-powered algorithms to predict patient responses to treatments such as immunotherapy and chemotherapy, based on their personalized molecular profile. Its database has 275,000-plus matched patient records to date.
The biotech, best known for “rewilding” efforts to bring back the woolly mammoth, is using CRISPR—a gene editing platform—to improve the field of genomics and pioneer ecosystem restoration. It’s garnered the attention of the CIA, which invested through its nonprofit VC
Evolve, an Ontario-based company, is investing in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Sachse to produce plasma-derived therapeutics. Set to open in 2024, Evolve chose DFW for its skilled workforce, central location, and booming pharma sector.
A spinoff of Colossal, this computational life sciences platform uses deep learning AI algorithms and an “intuitive” user interface to manage large datasets, workflows, and results visualization.
The biotech develops patient-specific therapeutics to treat cancer. Its proprietary immunotherapy platform, Vigil, has potential applications across multiple solid tumor types. Gradalis has its own Good Manufacturing Practice, or GMP, facility in the city.
The software company uses a cloud-based technology platform to improve the healthcare credentialing process. Globally, more than 10 thousand healthcare facilities use its product, called SEC³URE Ethos.
Lantern uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to reduce the cost, risk, and time involved in developing cancer therapies. Partnerships in technology and healthcare include cloud computing firms, hospitals, and tissue banks.
Its machine‑learning platform can analyze a human body’s joint-level movement (in real time) for use in sports, healthcare, security, and more. The company’s tech stack reveal and scores movement pattern differences.
This digital therapeutics company uses virtual reality to improve the quality of life for seniors. MyndVR collaborated with Stanford on research, and in 2022, partnered with Select Rehabilitation—a provider of contract rehabilitation and consulting services in the U.S.
Neuro Rehab VR
The female-founded virtual reality healthcare technology helps physical therapists use VR as a game-changing therapy modality for patients of all ages.
The pre-IPO medtech combines two powders to create medical oxygen on demand. Combined with engineering, IoT, and AI technologies, Kwivik wants to disrupt the way several conditions are treated, including asthma, cluster headaches, migraines, and skin care.
Signify’s platform helps both providers and patients evaluate care needs with costs. The company, which uses data analytics, acquired Caravan Health in March.
Taysha Gene Therapies
Located at life science hub Pegaus Park, Taysha uses machine learning to develop gene therapies for diseases of the central nervous system. The therapy is delivered through an injection in the spinal canal.
This health and life sciences company under Google parent-company Alphabet opened in Cypress Waters in 2022. The San Francisco company cited both healthcare and tech capabilities as factors. The diverse talent pool is also key; it plans to hire up to 115 employees.
ZipData’s digital solution streamlines the transfer of patients’ electronic health records through use of machine learning algorithms and APIs. The company aims to “eliminate the fax machine and data entry once and for all” for healthcare providers.
A version of this story was originally published in Dallas Innovates 2023.
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