Epic Trial, WARF Funding, & City Rankings: This Week’s WI Watchlist

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Start your weekend with these recent headlines from Wisconsin’s innovation community:

—The trial between Verona-based health records giant Epic Systems and Tata Consultancy Services, based in India, is now underway, the website WisBusiness.com reported. In October 2014, Epic sued Tata, alleging that its consultants working with Epic’s software stole thousands of documents containing proprietary information that could be used to improve Tata’s own healthcare software. One Tata employee’s account reportedly downloaded 6,477 documents over connections in India and the U.S.

—In related news, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examined some of the results of moving from paper charts to digital record-keeping systems developed by Epic and other vendors. The number of unnecessary medical tests performed at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, a Milwaukee health network, has reportedly been cut by more than 20 percent. At The MetroHealth System in Cleveland—which, like Froedtert, uses Epic’s software—the number of patients who followed up on referrals increased more than 25 percent over the course of a year, the newspaper reported.

—The Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest has been narrowed down to 27 finalists from industries such as agriculture, information technology, and life sciences. Two of the companies—Emonix and WeightUp Solutions—are graduates of the gBETA accelerator. Next month the field will be trimmed to 12 companies, and a grand prize winner will be announced on June 8.

—Another finalist in the contest is Linectra, which makes a high-resolution, high-throughput 3D metal printer and is one of five startups in gBETA’s recently unveiled third class. Linectra and two other companies in the cohort have worked or are working with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to patent their technologies. In November, WARF—the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s technology transfer office—became a sponsor of gBETA, which is run by the Wisconsin startup accelerator Gener8tor.

—More WARF news: The UW-Madison said that faculty members have selected 14 research projects that will receive funding as part of the “UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative.” WARF will reportedly provide $5 million during the first year of the initiative. Its aim is “to support projects that could ultimately transform a field, contribute to a social policy, or launch a key new technology,” Marsha Mailick, a vice chancellor for research and graduate education at the university, said in a statement.

—A cardiac electrophysiologist with Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care has helped develop a computer program that could reduce the cost of treating heart arrhythmia, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Jasbir Sra is the founder of APN Health, which has reportedly been working to make it possible to generate 3D maps of heart chambers using less-expensive—and more ubiquitous—equipment than what is typically used today. The company, which Sra launched in 2010, received FDA clearance to sell its new system earlier this year.

—Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that Milwaukee is one of six cities added to the What Works Cities program, which seeks to help municipalities put more data behind the decisions they make. Of the 27 U.S. cities that are now in the program, Milwaukee is the only one in Wisconsin. According to the What Works Cities website, the initiative kicked off a year ago and there are plans to add more than 70 mid-sized cities to the current roster.

—Not to be outdone, Madison finished 13th in a Forbes ranking of the country’s “20 Best Cities For Young Professionals.” The magazine said it compiled the list, which is topped by San Francisco, using “data on job growth, unemployment rates, pay, and cost of living.” In 2014, Madison came in fifth in a Forbes ranking of “The Cities Winning The Battle For Information Jobs.”

—Fitchburg-based Pegasus Sustainability Solutions, whose software helps connect organizations or individuals that generate waste with groups that can come take it away, raised $2 million from investors. Like Uber—whose software connects drivers and passengers, but which doesn’t own vehicles doing the actual transporting—Pegasus has been able to grow rapidly thanks in part to a balance sheet that is relatively light on capital assets, said founder and CEO Mark Hope.

—The Securities and Exchange Commission said that G. Steven Burrill agreed to pay $5.8 million to settle charges of mishandling money from investors, Reuters reported. Burrill, a biotech-focused venture capitalist based in San Francisco, is a UW-Madison graduate and helped launch a business plan competition at the university’s business school that ran from 1998 to 2015.