Promentis, Kiio, EmOpti, & More: This Week’s Wisconsin Watchlist

Take a break from raking leaves and putting up your Halloween decorations and catch up on the latest news from Wisconsin’s innovation community:

—Milwaukee-based Promentis Pharmaceuticals raised nearly $8.8 million in equity financing from eight investors, according to a document filed with federal securities regulators. Reached by phone, Promentis president and CEO Chad Beyer declined to comment on his company’s plans for the money it raised as part of the Series C funding round.

Promentis is developing molecules that are designed to modify brain chemistry to treat central nervous system disorders, such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. The company, which was founded in 2007, raised $2.9 million in a Series B financing round in 2014. Last year, Promentis signed an exclusive licensing deal with the University of Montana, in which the company agreed to ship some of its compounds to the university to have them tested there.

—In other fundraising news, Kiio added $700,000 to the $227,000 in debt financing the Madison-based startup raised in July, according to an SEC filing. Kiio has developed software for healthcare providers and insurers that’s aimed in part at getting their patients to understand and adhere to rehabilitative exercise programs, said Lydia Zeller, director of patient engagement solutions. The startup also makes hardware, including a “clinically-validated wireless sensor” that can measure force, Zeller said. Kiio, launched in 2011, has now raised more than $4.8 million, according to regulatory documents.

—The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce said that this week, it’s leading a delegation traveling to Silicon Valley that includes five startups based in the area. One of the companies is Polco, which in August won a pitch contest put on by the chamber. This is the third year the chamber has organized a pitch competition and subsequent trip to California. The other startups making the trip are AkitaBox, GrocerKey, Markable, and Moxe Health.

—Speaking of Moxe Health, that company recently raised $5.5 million from investors as part of a Series A funding round. Safeguard Scientifics (NYSE: SFE), based in the Philadelphia area, led the round. Dan Wilson, who founded Moxe in 2012 and serves as the startup’s CEO, said that some of the money will be used to expand Moxe’s team, which currently comprises 10 employees. One of the ways Moxe’s software is used is to connect networks of hospitals and clinics with insurers so that they can exchange patient records. This sharing of information has become increasingly important as the industry moves toward value-based care, and new models for reimbursing providers.

—Aurora Health Care began using digital tools developed by the tech startup EmOpti that are aimed at reducing wait times in the emergency room, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. EmOpti and Aurora are both based in the Milwaukee area. During a test at one of Aurora’s medical centers, there was a 75 percent decrease in “emergency room initial wait times,” the newspaper reported. The idea behind the technology is reportedly to allow patients to consult with physicians in a remote “command center” using a hospital-provided tablet computer.

—Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARWR) said it made an agreement with Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SBPH) to study two of the companies’ drug candidates for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus. Arrowhead is based in Pasadena, CA, but houses its research and development operations in Madison; Spring Bank is based in Hopkinton, MA. According to a press release, “the companies plan to first conduct preclinical models with both agents together and then study the agents clinically in a cohort to be added to Arrowhead’s ongoing… Phase 2b study.” Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed in the release.

—Allergy Amulet, a still-to-be-commercialized device that is designed to test for peanuts and other common food allergens, is on the verge of closing a $1.1 million seed funding round, said co-founder and CEO Abigail Barnes. The startup was originally headquartered in the Boston area but is now based in Madison, following its participation in the Gener8tor accelerator program earlier this year. New York-based Colle Capital led the round. Barnes said the money will be used to fund Allergy Amulet’s operations through the summer of 2017, when the startup plans to raise a Series A round.

—Madison-based Pinpoint Software has teamed up with a chain of grocery stores as part of Pinpoint’s Stop Waste Together initiative, said Andrew Hoeft, the company’s founder and CEO. Metcalfe’s Market, which has stores in the Madison and Milwaukee areas, has used Pinpoint’s software for the past year to track items whose expiration dates are approaching, the company said in a press release. Now, as part of the Stop Waste Together effort, customers will be able to buy these items at a 20 to 30 percent discount, Pinpoint said. Hoeft said in an e-mail message that Americans throw away about 40 percent of the food that is produced here.

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