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North Texas Enterprise Center, Halff Associates, Opportunity Houston, Greater Houston Partnership, Rice University, ImmuneRegen Biosciences, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Penn Genome Frontiers Institute

Halff Associates Becomes Stakeholder in North Texas Enterprise Center
The North Texas Enterprise Center for Medical Technology said this week that Halff Associates is a new stakeholder in NTEC.
Halff Associates, an architecture and engineering firm with several offices in Texas, will provide 3D visualization technology to medical device and healthcare-related technology firms using NTEC’s services.
NTEC, based in Frisco, Texas, is a non-profit corporation that assists entrepreneurs with starting and growing new medical technology ventures.

Opportunity Houston Donates $200K to Rice U Business Competition
Opportunity Houston, a fundraising vehicle for economic development organization Greater Houston Partnership, has donated $200,000 toward the prize money in the Rice University Business Plan Competition, GHP said this week.
The two new $100,000 awards increase total prizes to more than $600,000 for the business plan competition, to be held April 3-5 and hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and the Jones Graduate School of Management.
One new $100,000 prize will be awarded to the company with the best life science technology business plan, while the second will be awarded to the graduate student team with the top business plan in the areas of energy and petrochemicals; IT; aviation and aerospace; or nanotechnology.
The awards will provide seed funding to launch the winning companies in the Houston region.
“The generous prize money solidifies RBPC’s status as the largest and richest intercollegiate business plan competition in the world for the fourth year running,” Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, said in a statement.

ImmuneRegen Taps Lovelace Institute to Develop Anti-Bioterror Treatments
ImmuneRegen Biosciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of IR Biosciences Holdings, said this week that Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute will provide support to ImmuneRegen as it prepares an Investigational New Drug application for Homspera, a peptide immunomodulator being developed to counter bioterrorism threats.
Under the agreement, Lovelace Institute, based in Albuquerque, NM, will provide Scottsdale, Ariz.-based ImmuneRegen a broad range of product-development services related to inhalation and intranasal drug delivery, and associated regulatory affairs support.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

UPenn to Award More Than $250K in Interdisciplinary Genomics Grants
The University of Pennsylvania plans to support novel interdisciplinary genomics research by faculty members with up to $270,000 for two-year programs, the university said this week.
The Penn Genome Frontiers Institute said the “seed grants” will fund new programs in areas such as complex system-level genomics; computational modeling and analysis; single-cell and live-cell genomics; sensing technology and high-throughput technology development; and genomics applications to translational research.
PGFI will place emphasis on programs such as epilepsy research that combines engineering intervention, model organisms, neuro-anatomy and molecular physiology; organismal development involving cell biology, genetics, biomechanics, mathematical modeling, and evolution; and cell biology programs that combine novel optical imaging, microfluidics, genetics, biomaterials, and mathematical modeling.
The first phase of the grant programs will award researchers $20,000 for six months in order to plan for the Phase II grant, which could provide up to $250,000 over two years.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.