Wisconsin Roundup: Tax Credits, VC Funds, Medical Devices, & More

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Here’s a collection of some recent headlines from Wisconsin’s tech and innovation community:

—A report from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. reinforces the fact that 2014 was a strong year for investments in Badger State companies. The annual report on the Qualified New Business Venture program—a state initiative that offers a 25 percent tax credit on equity investments made by angel investors and VCs in local early-stage companies—said that it awarded $12.8 million in tax credits to investors last year, the highest amount doled out since the program’s inception in 2005. Wisconsin companies eligible for the credits raised $175 million total last year, a number that includes angel investments, venture capital, grants, and other financing sources. That amount was the third-highest since the tax credit program began.

The QNBV program has cumulatively awarded $80.3 million in tax credits since 2005. During that time, Wisconsin companies accepted into the program have collectively raised $1.2 billion in total investments, the agency said. (Click here to read the full report.)

—The Morgridge Institute for Research, located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, received a five-year, $300,000 donation from the BerbeeWalsh Foundation to help commercialize medical devices developed by university clinicians, students, and others working in the Morgridge Advanced Fabrication Lab.

The foundation was created by Jim Berbee and his wife, Karen Walsh. Berbee is an entrepreneur, a medical doctor, a UW-Madison clinical assistant professor, and a Morgridge trustee. Walsh is a former assistant dean of the university’s college of engineering.

—Japanese pharma company Takeda said it will close its Madison facility by mid-2017 and shift those operations to the Boston area. The move is part of a consolidation of Takeda’s U.S. vaccine business. The company currently employs 15 people in Madison, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

—UW-Madison intends to keep running its flagship energy research center, the Wisconsin Energy Institute, despite the recently passed state budget cutting funding for the institute. The university said it will try to come up with the $4 million previously provided by the state, money used to match a federal grant for the center, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

—Stealth Therapeutics has started a clinical trial in Wisconsin to figure out the best target market for its lead medical device, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The Madison-based company sells the Invisiport, which it says offers a less invasive way for delivering chemotherapy, antibiotics, and nutrients to patients intravenously. Stealth raised more than $450,000 in September to fund further clinical research into the device, which the FDA approved for sale in 2011.

—The Wisconsin State Journal profiled the Software Assurance Marketplace (SWAMP), a project based on UW-Madison’s campus that helps developers fix software bugs and find potential weaknesses that could be exploited by hackers.

—The Wisconsin Angel Network, a Wisconsin Technology Council program that supports local angel investors, named Bram Daelemans as its director. Daelemans succeeds Dan Blake, who left several months ago to become a partner with HealthX Ventures, a Madison-based fund that plans to invest in healthtech startups. Daelemans’s career includes working for Golden Angels Investors, one of the state’s largest angel investor groups, and for Madison-based water treatment technology company AquaMost.