CPRIT awards $56M in grants

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The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has awarded new grants totaling over $56 million and consisting of 13 academic research recruitment awards and a product development research award.

“Special recognition is given for first-time recruitment awards to the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, the new School of Veterinary Medicine at Texas Tech University in Amarillo, and the Jane and Robert Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston,” Wayne Roberts, CPRIT chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Four Academic Research Established Investigator grants were awarded, including one to the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station for a leader in mechanobiology and advanced mathematical image analysis for the study of cancer.

MD Anderson Cancer Center received two awards for an expert in positron emission tomography radiochemistry and an internationally regarded researcher who focuses on the role of oncogene addiction in cancer and its impact from translation to targeted therapy. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center received a grant for a researcher with a highly innovative program that targets cancer vulnerabilities for the development of novel cancer therapies.

MD Anderson and UT Southwestern each received a Rising Star award. First-Time, Tenure Track Faculty awards were made to Baylor College of Medicine, Baylor University, MD Anderson, Texas Tech University, UTHealth Houston, and UT Southwestern.

CPRIT’s recruitment awards are used to establish the finest cluster of cancer researchers in the world. Recruits accepting the awards are given the “CPRIT Scholar” designation.

CPRIT awards three types of recruitment grants: Established Investigators for senior research faculty with distinguished professional careers and established cancer research programs; Rising Stars for early-stage investigators who have demonstrated promising continued and enhanced contributions to the field; and First Time, Tenure Track Faculty for emerging investigators pursuing their first faculty appointment who are expected to make outstanding contributions in cancer research.

Additional information on CPRIT Scholars at Texas institutions is available here.

A Company Relocation Product Development Award was given to Invectys USA Inc., a French biopharmaceutical company developing innovative anti-cancer products in immunotherapy based on leading technology from Institut Pasteur in Paris. Invectys seeks to advance its novel CAR T platform to conduct early stage clinical studies in Texas.

Company Relocation awards seek to support early stage “startup” and established companies in the development of innovative products and services with significant potential impact on cancer patient care. Recipients of the Company Relocation Product Development Award must relocate to Texas within one year upon receipt of the award.

Recipients of academic research grants are:

Recruitment of Established Investigators Awards* – Four grants totaling $22,073,674

  • Dean Felsher, Recruitment to MD Anderson Cancer Center from Stanford University – $6,000,000

  • Tanmay Lele, Recruitment to Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station from the University of Florida – $5,073,674

  • Henry Charles Manning, Recruitment to MD Anderson Cancer Center from Vanderbilt University Medical Center – $6,000,000

  • Wenyi Wei, Recruitment to UT Southwestern Medical Center from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School – $6,000,000

Recruitment of Rising Stars Awards* – Two grants totaling $8,000,000

  • Veronika Fedirko, Recruitment to MD Anderson Cancer Center from Emory University – $4,000,000

  • Ken Wang, Recruitment to UT Southwestern Medical Center from Johns Hopkins University – $4,000,000

Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members Awards* – Seven grants totaling $11,900,000

  • Klementina Fon Tacer, Recruitment to Texas Tech University from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – $1,400,000

  • Robert Hillman, Recruitment to MD Anderson Cancer Center from MD Anderson Cancer Center – $2,000,000

  • Jason Lee, Recruitment to Baylor College of Medicine from the University of Colorado, Boulder – $2,000,000

  • Matthew Parker, Recruitment to UT Southwestern Medical Center from the University of California, Berkeley – $2,000,000

  • Liela Romero, Recruitment to Baylor University from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – $2,000,000

  • Eric Von Nostrand, Recruitment to Baylor College of Medicine from the University of California, San Diego – $2,000,000

  • Megan Whisenant, Recruitment to UT Health Science Center at Houston from MD Anderson Cancer Center – $500,000

* Recruitment grants awarded indicate only approval to negotiate offers; at the time of release candidates have not accepted offers.

Awarded product development research grants:

Company Relocation Product Development Research Awards – One grant totaling $14,196,990

  • Invectys USA, Inc.

  • CARGo: a CAR T cell program targeting HLA-G – a novel immune checkpoint and tumor specific antigen for advanced clear cell renal and ovarian carcinomas – $14,196,990

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