Raleigh-Durham Roundup: Merz, ChannelAdvisor, UNC, & More

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

Here are the headlines from the last week in North Carolina biotech, tech, and startup news.

—Ulthera, a subsidiary of Raleigh skin products company Merz North America, received FDA clearance on a medical device for treating cellulite. Merz points to clinical trial results showing that the Cellfina System can reduce the appearance of cellulite for up to two years. The system uses a needle-like device to cut the bands of connective tissue that create cellulite’s distinctive dimples.

Merz says independent physicians reported that the Cellfina treatment improved the skin’s appearance in 98 percent of the 55 patients treated with the device in a clinical trial. The company also says 96 percent of patients reported satisfaction with the treatment after two years. Side effects included bruising and soreness, which Merz says were mild to moderate and lasted about two weeks. Merz plans to launch Cellfina this fall.

—E-commerce software company ChannelAdvisor (NYSE: ECOM) hired Mark Cook to become its new CFO. Cook comes from Raleigh open source software company Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), where he was vice president of finance and controller. At Morrisville-based ChannelAdvisor, he will succeed John Baule, who is resigning as of Aug. 31 but will serve in an advisory capacity through September during Cook’s transition.

—The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill launched Technology Commercialization Center, an initiative that the university says will support entrepreneurs and inventors with programs with entrepreneurship training, early-stage venture launch support, and even funding. The new center is financially supported by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and matching funds from university’s Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

—The U.S. Small Business Administration named three North Carolina accelerators among the 80 winners in its second annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. First Flight Venture Center in Research Triangle Park, and RevTech Labs and QC Fin Tech, both in Charlotte, were each awarded $50,000. The accelerators must report metrics to SBA including jobs created, funds raised, and startups launched. First Flight says it will apply its award to LiftOff, a program that helps startups secure grant funding.

—In related news, two North Carolina cities were named winners in the SBA’s first Startup in a Day competition. Rocky Mount and Asheville were among the 27 cities receiving $50,000 awards to develop ways to streamline the processes for licensing, permitting, and other requirements for starting a business.

Photo of downtown Raleigh courtesy of Flickr user Pamela Ocampo via a Creative Commons license.