Wisconsin Roundup: Shoutlet, Cellectar, Cellular Dynamics & More
Here are some of the past week’s major headlines from Wisconsin’s tech and innovation community:
—Madison-based Shoutlet was acquired by Austin, TX-based Spredfast, a fellow player in the social media management space, for an undisclosed sum. The Shoutlet brand will continue to exist and its headquarters will become the second largest development center for the combined company, which will have more than 600 employees and more than 1,400 customers. As of February, Shoutlet had raised about $31.2 million, a relatively large amount for a tech business in Wisconsin.
—Madison-based cancer drugmaker Cellectar Biosciences (NASDAQ: CLRB) reported a second-quarter loss of $2.3 million, or $0.30 per share. CFO Chad Kolean said in an earnings call the company ended the quarter with $4.8 million in cash and cash equivalents, down from $9.4 million at the end of 2014. The amount on hand will be enough to carry Cellectar through the end of the year, Kolean said, but the company will need additional capital to fund its “planned clinical and preclinical development.” In the same call, Jim Caruso, who came on board as CEO in June, said Cellectar is exploring collaborations. Caruso said development of a therapeutic to treat multiple myeloma will remain in-house, but, “We view all [other] existing assets…as potential partnership opportunities.”
—Rent College Pads, a Milwaukee startup that helps college students find off-campus housing, raised $500,000, said founder and CEO Dominic Anzalone. The financing round marks the first outside investment in the website, which has been visited by over 800,000 users since its launch in 2012 and has listings in 10 states, most of them in the Midwest. Reached by e-mail Wednesday, Anzalone declined to name the seven investors who participated in the round.
—Integrated Vital Medical Dynamics received $342,000, its first outside investment, from the angel investor group Wisconsin Investment Partners, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The Madison-based company, founded by University of Wisconsin-Madison neurosurgeon Joshua Medow, is developing software to help doctors and nurses ensure more organs of patients who have agreed to be donors are ultimately transplantable. The software would accomplish this by monitoring the patients’ vital signs as they near death and alerting clinicians of irregularities.
—Cellular Dynamics, the Madison-based provider of living human cells for research and medical applications, is making a foray into the South Korean market after reaching a deal with SeouLin Bioscience. SeouLin will initially distribute several types of stem cell-derived cells in its home country, and is in discussions to also distribute donor-specific cells. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. In March, Tokyo-based Fujifilm acquired Cellular Dynamics for $307 million.
—Madison Vaccines announced a clinical trial is underway of its lead prostate cancer-treating vaccine coupled with the “checkpoint inhibitor” pembrolizumab (Keytruda), which is one of a small group of approved cancer immunotherapies. Checkpoint inhibitors stop cancer cells from using a particular protein to evade the immune system. The trial is being conducted at UW-Madison under the direction of Douglas McNeel, one of the school’s leading cancer researchers.
—Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling was selected for the startup accelerator Cleantech Open Midwest, a 20-week program in Minneapolis, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The Madison-based startup has developed technology to extract phosphorous from wastewater before it reaches treatment plants, where it can be harmful, and returns the chemical to farms, where it’s useful for growing crops.
—ZBB Energy is now known as EnSync Energy Systems (NYSE: ESNC), reflecting the Menomonee Falls business’s transition from battery-maker to “applications solutions company,” according to a press release. The old name came from the zinc-bromide batteries the company once manufactured. Today, it makes systems to manage power and store renewable energy, which are used by utilities and in commercial and industrial buildings.