NeuroPointDX, JCI, Resnick, & More: This Week’s Wisconsin Watchlist
Keep up with the latest news from Wisconsin’s innovation community with these recent headlines:
—NeuroPointDX, a business division of Madison-based Stemina Biomarker Discovery focused on diagnostics for neurological disorders, announced a partnership with New York-based Ovid Therapeutics. The collaboration is aimed at identifying novel biomarkers of Angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by intellectual disability, seizures, and jerky physical movements. The two companies plan to identify the new biomarkers by analyzing data related to changes in small molecules in the metabolism. Ultimately, the study could help select the patients most likely to respond to treatment, the companies said.
Stemina Biomarker Discovery, which is seeking to commercialize a test that makes it possible to diagnose children with autism spectrum disorders at earlier ages than is typical today, announced the creation of NeuroPointDX in May.
—Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls International (NYSE: JCI) acquired just under 5 percent of outstanding shares in Alameda, CA-based Aqua Metals (NASDAQ: AQMS). The California company is developing technology that allows lead-acid batteries to be recycled in a way that pollutes less than recycling them via high-temperature smelting. Under the terms of the deal, JCI will receive the first license to use Aqua Metals’ AquaRefining technology in North America, China, and Europe.
—Scott Resnick said he is leaving his post as executive director of StartingBlock Madison, an as-yet-unconstructed entrepreneurial center in Wisconsin’s capital city. He will take on a new role with StartingBlock: entrepreneur-in-residence. This move will allow Resnick to focus on what he does best, “generate, develop, and actuate upon innovative ideas,” he wrote in a Medium post. StartingBlock will soon kick off a search for a new executive director, according to the post.
—Spredfast, an Austin, TX-based company that develops digital marketing tools, said it plans to close its office in Madison later this year. The office, and many of the employees who work from it, were formerly part of Shoutlet, a Madison startup that Spredfast acquired in 2015. Spredfast said it is laying off 47 employees as part of the closure, including 21 who lost their jobs last Tuesday.
—LauberCFOs, a Milwaukee-based firm that provides services to small- and mid-size businesses, including helping them find chief financial officers, was sold by founder John Lauber to Mark Wiesman and Julie Tolan, BizTimes Media reported. Wiesman’s career has included stops at accounting firms and at companies in the healthcare and IT sectors. Tolan, who is married to Wiesman, reportedly led the restructuring of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, which recently emerged from bankruptcy. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
—Madison-based Propeller Health, whose digital health products help treat patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), announced a partnership with the Swiss pharma company Novartis to build an add-on sensor to its Breezhaler dry powder inhaler. The collaboration, one of several that Propeller has announced with large drug makers in recent years, is focused on patients with COPD who live in European countries. David Van Sickle, co-founder and CEO of Propeller, said that a majority of the dozens of inhaled medications currently on the market can now connect to his company’s digital platform.
—Madison-based Field59, which provides its clients with online video management services, including helping them live-stream events, said it has partnered with Montgomery, AL-based Community Newspaper Holdings. The collaboration will allow the newspaper group to broadcast breaking news live, upload video from mobile devices, and more, Field59 said in a press release. Community Newspaper Holdings, whose publications serve more than 130 municipalities across the U.S., will launch 22 properties on Field59’s platform this month, the company said.
—Catalyze, a Madison-based healthtech startup, said it is now calling itself Datica and has changed the name of some of its software offerings as part of a corporate rebranding. The company, which creates digital tools to help healthcare providers and software developers manage and share patient health data, said it unsuccessfully tried for nearly three years to trademark “Catalyze.” Another reason for the rebranding is that numerous healthcare organizations have names that include the word “catalyze” or “catalyst,” said Marcia Noyes, Datica’s director of communications.
—Madison-based Ebullient, which makes liquid-based systems for cooling computer components, raised $125,000 in debt financing from two investors, according to an SEC filing. The company’s patent-pending systems are designed so that a liquid flows through tubes to copper plates mounted directly on computer processors. The liquid boils into a vapor, and in the process captures heat, which is later released into the surrounding air outside a data center or other facility. Last year, Ebullient raised a $2.3 million round of equity funding.