VelocityTX backs military medical SAMMI Innovation Fund in San Antonio

By Iris Gonzalez
Entrance to VelocityTX, courtesy image

VelocityTX announced new military medical partnership agreements to support local military medical research. The San Antonio nonprofit, a subsidiary of the Texas Research & Technology Foundation (TRTF), helps early-stage bioscience companies launch innovative breakthroughs.

VelocityTX agreed to fund the continuation of the San Antonio Military Medical Innovation (SAMMI) program and its director position under the VelocityTX umbrella. On August 30, 2022, the San Antonio Economic Development Corporation (SAEDC) board approved a professional services agreement with  VelocityTX. SAEDC is a nonprofit corporation created in 2010 by the City to promote economic development.

San Antonio Military Medical Innovation (SAMMI) Fund

The SAMMI Fund was created in December 2019 to provide financial assistance for local early-stage companies developing dual-use technologies relevant to military medicine and the biomedical industry.

Read: New San Antonio Biomedical Seed Fund Invests $150,000 in Local Innovators for Military Medical Collaboration

Over the first three years of the fund, SAMMI made commitments to invest in five local companies up to $50,000 each if certain milestones are reached. Renovo Concepts was the first SAMMI Fund company to secure $50,000 in SAMMI Fund investment, which was converted to Series A shares.

In August 2017, the City and the SAEDC formed the Community Life Science Working Group to study the biomedical and bioscience ecosystem in San Antonio. The resulting San Antonio Military Life Science Commercialization Action Plan called for establishing the San Antonio Military Medical Innovation or SAMMI Fund and a fund director position aligned with a governmental entity to enhance collaboration between the military medical missions in San Antonio and the local bioscience industry.

In August 2019, the SAEDC board signed off on a three-year employment agreement with Dr. Corey Levenson as the SAMMI director, ending on October 1, 2022. With no new funding, SAMMI would be retired until new financial support materialized.

VelocityTX will fund SAMMI moving forward

VelocityTX will provide the SAMMI fund with potential new funding sources, technical assistance, mentoring, and access to VelocityTX’s space for startup companies needing more help commercializing their advances for the market.

VelocityTX will also pursue formally establishing a San Antonio Military Life Science Alliance, continue to host military industry days, and seek partnership agreements with the military medical community to assist the military in transferring medical technology to the commercial sector.

“Adding SAMMI and its innovative functions is a perfect fit for the VelocityTX model,” said
David Fonseca, VelocityTX CEO. “Locating at VelocityTX provides SAMMI opportunities for increased collaboration with the military and access to community partners, startup companies, and entrepreneurs interested in leveraging military medical research.”

CRADA teaming agreement supports military medical public-private ventures

In September, VelocityTX also announced its Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR) based at Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Houston. This pivotal public-private venture between ISR and VelocityTX will address technology gaps in battlefield medicine, specifically developing automation technologies to support military medical operations in future battlefield environments.

The CRADA gives the ISR access to VelocityTX’s facility space in their Innovation Center located on San Antonio’s Eastside. “If we are to meet the challenges for medical operations in future battlefield environments, it is essential that the ISR collaborate with the private sector and academia in developing these systems,” said Dr. Jose Salinas, ISR science lead for organ support and automation technologies.

The two teaming agreements — SAMMI and CRADA — enable VelocityTX to support the military in finding critical technologies for its future military medical battlefield needs. Parent organization TRTF is working towards establishing a military medical research center of innovation and campus on a  six-acre site next to VelocityTX at the historic Merchant’s Ice Complex and is in discussion with the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, the State of Texas, local universities, and private sector developers.

“TRTF created VelocityTX in 2017 to focus on bioscience innovation and leverage our vast military medical research assets in San Antonio for commercialization opportunities,” said Randy Harig, TRTF CEO. “We look forward to optimizing the opportunity of SAMMI at VelocityTX and continuing the great work started by the City and the SAEDC through this initiative.”

The featured image is of the entrance to VelocityTX, courtesy photo.

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