Wisconsin Roundup: Cellular Dynamics, Baird, Health Apps, & More

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Here’s a collection of recent announcements from Wisconsin’s technology and innovation community:

—Cellular Dynamics International (NASDAQ: ICEL) has reached a proposed settlement in three similar class-action lawsuits challenging the Madison-based company’s proposed $307 million sale to Tokyo-based Fujifilm, according to an SEC filing. The lawsuits alleged that Cellular Dynamics’s sale process was flawed and that the deal unfairly benefits company board members and executives at the expense of individuals with smaller stakes. Cellular Dynamics has said it was under pressure to inject new capital into the business, and its leaders ultimately decided the Fujifilm acquisition was the best option on the table.

The proposed settlement calls for Cellular Dynamics to pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and disclose more information to the SEC regarding the company’s sale process, which it did in Thursday’s document that details the legal settlement.

—Madison-based Cellectar Biosciences (NASDAQ: CLRB) has started testing one of its experimental drugs in patients with multiple myeloma, a plasma cell cancer. The Phase 1 proof-of-concept trial will study the impact of I-131-CLR1404, a small-molecule radiopharmaceutical meant to deliver a cancer-killing payload directly to the site of malignant tumors. In December, the FDA granted Cellectar orphan drug designation for using the therapeutic to treat multiple myeloma.

—Five Milwaukee-area universities received a $300,000 federal grant to launch a program to boost commercialization of campus ideas. Over the next three years, 90 entrepreneurial teams—consisting of a professor or post-doctoral student, a graduate student, and a mentor with business experience—will try to validate their business ideas, find customers, and connect with potential sources of funding. Within six months of completing the program, each team will decide if they should turn the idea into a full-fledged business.

The initiative is led by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, along with Marquette University, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Concordia University of Wisconsin. Resources available to participants will include the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium, the Global Water Center, and Bridge to Cures, among others.

—Menomonee Falls-based ZBB Energy (NYSE MKT: ZBB) announced a four-year agreement with Solar Power, in which ZBB will supply the Shanghai-based photovoltaic technology company with its energy storage systems. The supply agreement is valued at between $80 million and $120 million. In addition, Solar Power will take a stake in ZBB via a $33.4 million purchase of 8 million shares of ZBB common stock and 28,048 shares of convertible preferred stock.

—Baird Capital’s private equity group has invested an undisclosed amount in Alpha Source, a Milwaukee-based medical equipment manufacturer and distributor. Alpha Source’s products include medical device batteries and other electronic components. Baird Capital is the investment arm of Milwaukee-based financial services firm Robert W. Baird & Co.

—Private equity firm LLR Partners invested an undisclosed amount in New Berlin-based WennSoft, which makes Microsoft-based software for workers providing services in the field, such as installation, maintenance, and repairs.

—After a pitch contest last week, three mobile apps proposed by teams from the Medical College of Wisconsin will be developed by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students. The winning ideas, according to a press release, include apps that will track concussion symptoms, educate healthcare providers about ways to better care for transgender patients, and offer info to help perform emergency resuscitation of children. For more on this healthcare mobile app partnership, now entering its second year, check out Xconomy’s recent profile.

—Veolia, The Water Council, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. are forming a two-year program that will call on entrepreneurs and startups nationwide to submit ideas for improving water sustainability. The partners would choose the best ideas to enter the program, the details of which will be announced soon, according to a press release. Paris-based Veolia provides products and services to manage water, waste, and energy. It has a presence in The Water Council’s Global Water Center near downtown Milwaukee.