Wisconsin Roundup: VictorySpark, Imbed, Virent, Cellectar, & More

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

There was a flurry of funding deals and new partnerships announced by Wisconsin startups and tech groups over the past week. Here’s a recap:

—Madison-based Imbed Biosciences has raised about $683,000 from investors in a debt and equity funding round that could eclipse $1 million when closed, according to an SEC filing. The funding is an amendment of an earlier round disclosed in April, which raised $180,000 in a potential $250,000 debt financing. In July, Imbed was awarded a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health grant to help develop its antimicrobial, nanofilm technology that aims to help wounds heal without infection or the use of potentially harmful levels of silver.

—US HealthCenter, the Thiensville-based provider of software programs to help corporate clients boost their employees’ health and wellness, has raised $150,000 so far in a possible $5 million funding round, according to an SEC filing.

—Vetransfer, the Milwaukee-based nonprofit startup accelerator for military veterans that now goes by VictorySpark, has received a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration through the agency’s first Growth Accelerator Fund competition, which awarded grants to 50 programs nationwide. The money will allow VictorySpark to hold an accelerator program next year, the group said. As Xconomy recently reported, VictorySpark was in a holding pattern because it had used up its allotted funding.

The SBA also awarded $50,000 to the Launch Box accelerator program led by Gateway Technical College, located south of Milwaukee.

—Madison-based cleantech startup Virent has received another investment from Coca-Cola to boost Virent’s capabilities for manufacturing its bio-based paraxylene, called BioFormPX, which Coca-Cola intends to use to make a completely plant-based plastic packaging. Coca-Cola inked development and supply agreements with Virent in 2011. The size of the latest investment wasn’t disclosed.

Virent recently received an important U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval that brings its plant-based alternative fuel for motor vehicles closer to market.

—Madison-based Forte Research Systems, which makes software for clinical research, received a $550,000 state loan to expand the business. The company expects to add 55 jobs in the next three years to its current staff of 69, according to a press release.

—During the fourth quarter, Madison-based Cellectar Biosciences (NASDAQ: CLRB) plans to begin a Phase I/II clinical trial testing its cancer-targeting drug in 20 patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. The compound is designed to be a vehicle that delivers radioactive material directly to cancer cells, meaning it should unload toxins at the site of disease and minimize the damage to healthy tissue. Cellectar recently raised $13.5 million in its first public offering since moving to the Nasdaq stock exchange from being traded over the counter.

—Under a new partnership, the Milwaukee Institute will offer its high-speed computing resources to tenants at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa. The first tenants to use the services will be Concordia University and Brooks Stevens, the high-profile product development company. The nonprofit Milwaukee Institute also serves Rockwell Automation, Briggs & Stratton, Marshfield Clinic, and the Medical College of Wisconsin, among others.