APRIL 20, 2017
As published in the San Antonio Business Journal
By W. Scott Bailey
bioAffinity Technologies Inc. has found its groove since moving from New Mexico to San Antonio in March 2014.
Steven Girgenti, executive chairman of bioAffinity, attributes that momentum largely to the support the company has received in the Alamo City from UT Health San Antonio, the University of Texas at San Antonio and local governmental leaders.
“The collaborative research agreement that we have with UT Health has helped us immensely. It’s helped us advance,” Girgenti told me.
That collaboration has put bioAffinity in position to launch a $12 million fundraising round later this year that will allow the company to bring its first product – a lung cancer diagnostic – to market within the next 18 months. In addition, bioAffinity plans to expand its diagnostic portfolio and to develop new cancer therapeutics.
Meanwhile, UTSA has provided bioAffinity with additional institutional support, including a brick-and-mortar home for its laboratory.
“It’s been a very beneficial relationship with brilliant minds and great personalities who are very loyal to the effort,” Girgenti said.
Girgenti, who lives in New York, has founded several companies and taken some of them public – including HealthWorld Corp. He took an interest in bioAffinity CEO Maria Zannes and her cancer diagnostic technology roughly five years ago and has since helped give bioAffinity more corporate structure and financial stability.
“The more I got involved as an adviser, the more I began to appreciate the technology and the opportunity,” said Girgenti, who has invested his own money in bioAffinity and helped convince others to do the same. “The marketing opportunity is clear. As sad as it sounds, there is nothing out there today that is adequate to diagnose early lung cancer or some of the other cancers that we are involved with.”
bioAffinity, which has already raised about $10 million, will now look to top that in its Series B round later this year. That funding will give the company the leverage needed to get to market and to expand its work to the therapeutic arena.
“As an offshoot of our research, we’ve been able to discover certain things about cancer that will allow us to develop another set of technologies in the therapeutic field,” Girgenti said.
It’s the move to San Antonio and the collaborative support from the Alamo City that has opened more doors for bioAffinity.
“When Steve [Girgenti] and I first started to work together, we were looking for a location for the company where we would attract [scientific] people and also investors,” Zannes said. “I think we have certainly done that in San Antonio.”
The city of San Antonio’s decision to invest in bioAffinity through its San Antonio Development Corp. has reinforced that belief.
“That’s provided a real boost,” Zannes said. “It’s a validation of the work we are doing.”
bioAffinity has been able to recruit the talent and solicit the support needed to pursue its mission because of San Antonio’s rising stature in bioscience, Girgenti said.
“We could not be more pleased,” he said.