Fannin Innovation Studio

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Ecosystem Institution
Fannin Innovation Studio
Fannin Logo
Institution Information
Cohort Information
Director Information
City Houston
Date Founded 2005
Cohort Size 9
Percent Funded 11.11%
Percent Acquired 0.00%
Percent IPO 0.00%"%" can not be assigned to a declared number type with value 0.
Number of Directors 3
Experienced Directors 2
© McNair Center, 2016

Part of the Start-Up Guide (Issue Brief) Series


The Fannin Innovation Studio is a Houston-based, for-profit co-founding institution founded in 2005. It advertises a wide array of services, including access to experts, directors for companies, start-up services and co-founding. Fannin Innovation Studio has three directors, two of whom have indirect entrepreneurship experience in the sector. Of the nine startups which have enrolled in the Fannin program, one has received venture capital funding. No companies which have participated in the Fannin program have been acquired or exited in an IPO.

Contact Information

Address 3900 Essex Lane, Suite 575 Houston, Texas 77027
Phone 713-966-5844


Name VC? Acquired? IPO?


Name Bio Class
Leo Linbeck III Chairman and Founder, Fannin Innovation Studio None
Dr. Atul Varadhachary MD, PHD Managing Partner, Fannin Innovation Studio D2
Mark Worscheh Chief Financial Officer, Fannin Innovation Studio D2

Services Provided

Start-up Services

Old Stuff

Cofounding in Exchange for Equity


"Fannin gives you another option. We co-found the company with you. If the technology really is promising (with some third-party validation), we’ll do the work of setting up the company, licensing in the technology and working with you to design the next phase of development. At the beginning phases, we work for equity, so that the seed money that we put in when the company is started all goes for third-party expenses to advance development. We’ll assign a senior Fannin manager to be responsible for the program, supported by in-house professionals, fellows and interns who will handle much of the day-to-day work. Because we manage many companies on a pooled basis, you won’t get all of our attention 100% of the time – but you will get 100% of our attention when it matters, and we’ve found that this approach works particularly well in life science product development." From July 2016

"All companies in the Fannin portfolio are medical technology companies in the Texas Medical Center. Fannin Innovation Studio invests in these companies and works with them to take their ideas to market. In exchange for equity, the leaders of Fannin help co-found and manage the companies, and provide companies with working space, networking resources, and investment money. One of the three members of the leadership team manages each portfolio company. Fannin helps its portfolio companies gain grant money, secure licensing, seek mentorship, and move into the next stage of development." From Spring 2016

[Fannin Website]

"Fannin’s model is to incubate its portfolio companies and provide shared management, thereby taking those costs off of the books of young biotech companies."

[Xconomy on Fanin and Acelerox]

  • Note: Angela Shah has written multiple articles for Xconomy about Fannin and its startups. [1]

Fast Facts

Founded: 2005 under the name AlphaDev. [2]

Money: "In 2015, the firm closed a $7.3 million round to help fund 15 new companies in the next five years." [3]

  • They also don't appear on SDC data

Leadership experience:

  • Linbeck

"Early in his career, Linbeck was co-founder of the Jafy Corporation, a software development firm. He also worked for Nishimatsu Kensetsu Kaisha in Tokyo and Osaka.[1]

Linbeck serves as CEO of Aquinas Companies, LLC. After Linbeck joined the leadership team at the company, its annual revenues grew from $40 million to more than $500 million.[3][4] Aquinas Companies has three principal business lines: construction management (Linbeck Group), real estate development (Essex Commercial Properties), and early stage biotechnology development Fannin Innovation Studio (formerly AlphaDev).[5][6][7][8][9] The Greater Houston Community Foundation owns 11% of Aquinas Companies, LLC.[10]

Linbeck was a founder of the Collaborative Process Institute and the Lean Construction Institute.[11] Linbeck is also the founder of Fannin Innovation Studio, a life sciences business development studio in Houston, Texas, where he is active as a design engineer and business adviser for various life science startups." [4]

  • Wohscheh

"Mr. Mark E. Worscheh serves as a Chief Financial Officer at Fannin Innovation Studio. He serves as the Principal of The Newcastle Group. Mr. Worscheh serves as Executive Vice President of Aquinas Companies, LLC. He has ten years of experience as an investment banker. He served as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of NextStage Entertainment Corporation. In this role, he negotiated and closed multiple financings totaling more than $100 million. He also built the internal finance and accounting team necessary to operate the business. Prior to joining NextStage, he served as Senior Vice President in Houston with NatWest Markets, in charge of public debt and equity offerings for the energy group’s Houston office clients. Prior to NatWest, he was a Vice President at Banker’s Trust BT Securities division, where he marketed, executed, and closed similar financings, as well as derivative-linked financings and risk management products. Prior to Banker’s Trust, he was an Associate with Merrill Lynch in New York, where he marketed and executed public financings, IPOs, valuations, tender offers, lease financings, and other structured transactions for a wide range of industrial and retail clients. While at Notre Dame, he was the Managing Editor of The Observer. He serves as a Member of the Board of Directors at Phoeben, Inc. He serves as Member of Advisory Board at Post Oak Bank, N.A. He serves as the President of the Afton Oaks Civic Club and leads the Afton Oaks Park Initiative. He has served on the Board of Stanford GSB’s Alumni Association and chaired his class’s GSB Reunion Committee in both 1994 and 1999. Mr. Worscheh graduated from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, having focused on the challenges of entrepreneurial business situations and from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with a minor in Business Administration. He received his MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business in 1989." [5]

  • Atul Varadhachary




  • Accelerox
    • ACELEROX is developing novel antioxidant nanoparticles that serve as therapies for reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated disease. ROS has been implicated in the progression of a broad range of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, ischemic stroke and traumatic brain injury. The company’s proprietary class of molecules, termed PEG-HCCs, can be used to directly treat the symptoms of these diseases as well as to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs into tumors.
  • ACF Pharmaceuticals
    • ACF PHARMACEUTICALS is a pre-clinical stage company testing novel molecules targeting the PGE2 pathway, which is important in cancer, fibrosis, inflammation and pain, in a unique partnership with a private chemical company and a research institution.
  • Apaxis Medical
    • APAXIS MEDICAL is developing a proprietary left ventricular assist device (LVAD) “connector” designed to make LVAD implantation faster and more reliable. Apaxis aims to improve physician experience with LVAD implementation, thereby growing the market and encouraging earlier interventions. Its associated company, Apaxis Kit has developed a suite of proprietary surgical tools that are designed to enable less invasive, safer off-pump LVAD implantations.
  • Brevitest Technologies
    • BREVITEST TECHNOLOGIES is developing a biomedical assay platform technology that could allow consumers, patients, caregivers, and others to more easily detect and quantify molecules of interest from a variety of sample types like blood, saliva, urine and water. This approach provides for a compact point-of-care diagnostics that is sensitive, specific and rapid. The BreviTest platform can be applied to a broad array of diagnostic tests, including those in emergency and non-emergency settings, allergen detection, home monitoring of chronic diseases as well as physiological conditions.
  • Clearview App
    • CLEARVIEW APP is developing a patent-pending assay platform technology that could allow users to visualize and identify contaminants on a broad range of surfaces. ClearView has developed technology base on a low-cost proprietary hardware added on to devices such as smart phones combined with a downloadable app.
  • Guidabot
    • GUIDABOT is developing robotic and imaging technologies to enable image-guided interventions (IGI) with real-time MRI (rtMRI) guidance. Interventions enabled by Guidabot’s patent pending technology will allow more efficient and safe tissue biopsy or delivery of brachytherapy seeds. Guidabot’s technology will enable a greater number of interventions to be performed by an imaging facility, thereby increasing throughput and associated revenue.
  • NewHeart
    • NEWHEART DEVICES holds the patent on a continuous flow (pulseless) artificial heart comprised of paired ventricular assist devices (VADs). The technology, still in the early development stage and virtually entirely funded by federal grants, was featured on the March 2012 cover of Popular Science after a trial version was implanted in a Houston man where it maintained life for five weeks.
  • Procyrion
    • VC funding
    • PROCYRION is developing a device that improves the treatment of heart failure. Deployed in the aorta using a catheter, the AortixTM is believed to represent one of the most minimally invasive heart failure devices currently in development, and its successful development could offer cardiologists a new way of treating the estimated 2.6 million U.S. patients who are no longer responding well to drug therapies for heart failure, a condition which costs $35 billion annually to treat in the U.S.
  • Pulmotect
    • PULMOTECT is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing PUL-042, a drug that stimulates the innate immune system in the lungs, which could provide short-term elevated capability to defend the body against inhaled pathogenic threats. While that application of technology is broad (and includes asthma, bioterror, pandemics and other indication), the Company’s initial clinical program is focused on patients at uniquely high risk for airborne infection, including leukemia patients enduring regimes of chemotherapy and organ transplant patients, who become immune-compromised as part of the transplant regime.

Leadership Team

  • Leo Linbeck III: Chairman and Founder, CEO of Aquinas Companies, LLC
  • Dr. Atul Varadhachary, MD, PhD: Managing Partner
  • Mark Worscheh: CFO, Executive VP of Aquinas Companies, LLC
    • Linbeck and Varadhachary are both associated with the RIce Business School


3900 Essex Lane, Suite 575 Houston, Texas 77027