Isomark, gBETA, Gregor, & More: This Week’s Wisconsin Watchlist
Keep up with the latest news from Wisconsin’s innovation community with these recent headlines:
—Members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s football team are using a device developed by the startup Isomark that gives them feedback on how they’re metabolizing food, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The device, called Energy Balance, reportedly tells users what and how much “metabolic fuel”—fat, protein, and carbohydrates—they’re burning while exercising. According to the report, Isomark won’t need FDA approval to sell the Energy Balance; that sets it apart from the Madison-based company’s Canary breath analyzer, which is designed to detect deadly infections in patients.
—gBETA, an equity-free program run by the startup accelerator Gener8tor, revealed the six members of its inaugural Minnesota class. Gener8tor has previously only run programs in Wisconsin but said in June that it planned to expand into the Gopher State, and later partnered with the University of Minnesota’s technology transfer office. You can read about the startups in Gener8tor’s current core accelerator program here.
—One of gBETA’s graduates, Gregor Diagnostics, was the subject of a profile by UW-Madison’s news service. Gregor was founded by Tobias Zutz in February. Zutz, an early employee at the Madison biotech company Exact Sciences (NASDAQ: EXAS), is hoping to commercialize a new prostate cancer screening test. David Jarrard, a urology professor at UW-Madison’s medical school who has researched new ways to identify cancerous prostate cells, is a consultant to Gregor.
—Exact Sciences reported earnings on Wednesday and despite what CEO Kevin Conroy called a “strong” third quarter, the company’s stock price finished the day more than 14 percent lower than the previous day’s close of $19.59 a share. Exact Sciences said it completed 68,000 tests of Cologuard, its stool-based screening test for colorectal cancer, during the quarter. The company reiterated its projection that it would complete 240,000 tests of Cologuard in 2016.
—Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that Madison has been added to the What Works Cities program, The Capital Times reported. The program seeks to help mid-sized municipalities put more data behind the decisions they make. Madison will work with the Sunlight Foundation and other program partners to renew its focus on open data. The only other Badger State municipality that’s part of What Works Cities is Milwaukee.
—Catalent, a Somerset, NJ-based pharmaceuticals company, plans to expand its operations in Madison, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. said in a press release. Starting next month, Catalent (NYSE: CTLT) will spend $34 million to expand its facility on the city’s west side and expects to add more than 100 employees to its staff there. WEDC said it will award Catalent up to $1 million in state tax credits over the next three years “to help secure the company’s commitment.”
—Madison-based Healthfinch’s application Swoop is now available to health systems that use patient records software developed by Watertown, MA-based Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN). Swoop is aimed at making the process of reviewing prescription drug refill requests more efficient by allowing clinicians to delegate refill-ordering to others. The application is listed on the Atenahealth Marketplace, which is designed to be like the app stores created by smartphone software makers, but for the healthcare field.
—A new Madison-based corporate venture capital group was recently unveiled publicly by CUNA Mutual Group. CUNA Mutual, which provides services to credit unions and other member organizations, said it launched an investment arm, CMFG Ventures, which will target fintech and insurance technology startups. The group has made five investments since late 2015, said managing director Brian Kaas. CMFG’s latest investment was in Chicago-based ForeverCar, which helps users purchase extended vehicle warranties and said it raised $10 million in Series A financing.
—I’m a little late getting to this one, but earlier this month The New York Times Magazine reported on the same dairy in Rosendale that my colleague Benjamin Romano wrote about in a 2014 story on biogas and agriculture technology. The Times Magazine article, titled “The Dizzying Grandeur of 21st-Century Agriculture,” describes two rotating carousels at the Rosendale Dairy that can milk nearly 8,000 cows three times apiece in a 22-hour period.