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New Biotechnology Research Accelerator Launches in Houston

By June 14, 2021June 15th, 2021No Comments
  • K2-BioLabs offers “big company” resources that accommodate “small company” budgets

  • Rapha Portfolio Company PONCE Therapeutics, Inc. is an investor and the first tenant of K2 Bio

Houston, TX, June 14, 2021 – K2 BioLabs, a new biotechnology research accelerator was recently formed in Houston and has now launched its suite of services offered to early-stage biotech companies either in or moving to the area.

K2Bio was the “brainchild” of some of the early pioneers in the ongoing process of building Houston into a biotech center on par with those established in cities like Boston and San Francisco.  Andrew Strong, Chairman of K2Biolabs, was founding President and CEO of the start-up biotech company, Kalon Biotherapeutics, formed by the Texas A&M System in 2011.  He successfully grew Kalon to over 100 employees and eventually sold the company to Fujifilm and Mitsubishi in December 2014.  Andrew, now a partner at the law firm Pillsbury, advises many of the early-stage biotech companies increasingly forming or gravitating to Houston, and thus was intimately aware of the need for a facility like K2-Biolabs.  Kevin Slawin, MD a founding Board Member and investor in K2-Biolabs, and founder and CEO of Ponce Therapeutics, Inc. (https://poncetherapeutics.com), a biotech company leveraging the growing scientific knowledge surrounding the process of aging to develop products to arrest or reverse the aging process, is the first company to be leasing space in K2BioLabs.  Dr. Slawin was the founder of Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, which he took public on the NASDAQ in 2014, at that time, the first Houston biotech company to IPO since Tanox, which did in 2000. In 2007, Tanox was sold to Genentech for close to $1B.

“Just when we funded and began looking to execute PONCE Therapeutic’s R&D plan, we heard that Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, which I had left in 2017, was cutting its R&D program, terminating its scientists and research technicians, and selling off its brand new, fully equipped Research Facility, including its state-of-the-art mouse vivarium, at 2710 Reed Road.  I heard Andrew was trying to preserve the facility intact and create a new research accelerator.  We began speaking and accessing our networks, and the rest is history,” commented Dr. Slawin.

“We acted quickly to secure the space, including all of its brand new, certified, equipment, from the landlord and from Bellicum.  And most importantly, we were able to retain some of the most talented and experienced staff, bringing them on to help run K2 Biolabs” said Dr. Slawin “Add to that an experienced board of directors that includes Andrew Desomma, an experienced investor in both private and public companies and Clifford Stocks, an experienced biotech executive, and we had a “dream team” to execute our plans” he added.

K2-BioLabs offers researchers the option to add or subtract services based on their individual needs. They provide rentable offices, wet labs, equipment, process and analytical development, animal studies and small-scale manufacturing spaces. They also provide additional research and development services including preclinical study design and implementation, CMC development, procurement, and IT.

K-2 Biolabs is located near the Texas Medical Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of health, education, and research in Houston.  The TMC plans to build TMC3, a world-class, life science complex that will unite the best minds in medicine across 37 acres, with shared and proprietary research centers, multi-disciplinary laboratories, healthcare institutions, a hotel and conference center, retail, and a unique double-helix green space – totaling almost 3.7 million square feet of developed property.  K-2 Biolabs and TMC3 are just some of the new developments occurring in Houston that will help it achieve the goals that Mr. Strong and Dr. Slawin set out to create there over a decade ago.

About K2 Bio

Big company resources that accommodate small company budgets” – K2bio provides a state-of-the-art facility with experienced research managers and staff and uniquely, a mouse vivarium, through a mix of shared and private research laboratory spaces, to early-stage biopharmaceutical companies, providing them access to our research facility at an affordable cost. We do this by creating a novel plug-and-play menu of options that provide a shared but secure research laboratory in which access to our expensive equipment and resources is made affordable by sharing them across multiple companies.

About Rapha Capital Management, LLC

Rapha Capital Management, LLC is an investment management firm located in Miami, Florida, focusing on strategic investments in early stage, non-public biotechnology companies.  Rapha Capital was founded by its President, Kevin Slawin, MD, a successful and experienced oncologic and robotic surgeon, biotech consultant, investor, and founder focusing on technologies in oncology, T cells and immunotherapy, as well as other breakthrough healthcare technologies.  He is the founder of Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLCM).  He is co-Inventor of the FDA,-approved “prostate health index (phi)” test licensed and marketed by Beckman Coulter and utilized around the world.  He has published extensively in top medical and scientific journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).  He has also been routinely listed in America’s Top Doctors for Cancer (Castle Connolly Medical) and The Best Doctors in America (Woodward/White).  In 2003, he was awarded the F. Brantley Scott, Jr., Award for Innovation and Creativity in Urology.

 About Ponce Therapeutics, Inc.

Ponce Therapeutics – “Anti-aging Technologies Based on Real Science and Developed by Real Scientists” – Ponce Therapeutics is leveraging the growing scientific knowledge surrounding the process of aging to develop its first state-of-the-art biotechnology platform to restore the youthful balance of aged or “senescent” and young cells in the skin, targeting the p16-expressing senescent cells for elimination. This provides a “reboot” of one’s genetic program to turn the clock on one’s skin back to its youthful exuberance.  Targeting p16 will also potentially allow targeting of Bowen’s disease as the regulatory pathway for approval.  While initially focused on skin, Ponce is planning to develop a wide-ranging portfolio of anti-aging products based on the best science in the nascent anti-aging field. Ponce is headquartered in Miami, Florida with research facilities located in Houston, TX. For more information, visit www.poncethera.com or email [email protected].

For more information about K2 Bio, visit https://K2-biolabs.com.

For more information about Rapha Capital Management, visit https://raphacap.com

For more information about PONCE Therapeutics, visit https://poncetherapeutics.com