CDI, Novascan, WID, 4490, & More: This Week’s Wisconsin Watchlist
Coverage and analysis of Taiwan-based Foxconn’s announcement that it will invest $10 billion to build an electronic display-making plant in Wisconsin has dominated business news around the state lately.
However, there have also been numerous notable happenings apart from the Foxconn saga. Let’s catch up on some of them:
—Cellular Dynamics International scrapped plans to construct a new, 100,000-square-food headquarters several miles from its current home in Madison, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The stem cell provider made public its intention to relocate to Verona, a suburb of Madison, late last year. CDI, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Fujifilm, had reportedly obtained up to $6 million in financial incentives from the city of Verona. However, the company has instead decided to remodel an existing building—location to be determined—and manufacture stem cells there, according to the report.
—Madison-based Invenra, which develops therapeutic antibodies for large pharma companies and other clients, agreed to a partnership with Kenilworth, NJ-based Merck (NYSE: MRK). Under the terms of the agreement, Invenra will discover antibodies against an undisclosed target of interest to Merck. Invenra co-founder and CEO Roland Green declined to comment on specific financial terms of the partnership.
—The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced the five startups that will give pitches in front of investors and other audience members later this month as part of the organization’s “Pressure Chamber” contest. The quintet includes Cardigan, a company seeking to digitize business cards that we profiled in June. The winner of Pressure Chamber will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco in October to meet with Silicon Valley investment firms. Last year’s winner was Middleton-based Polco.
—Later this week, dozens of employees at Three Square Market, based in River Falls, will have a tiny chip implanted into their hands that will let them perform tasks like unlocking office doors and buying food in the break room. The company is working with Sweden-based BioHax International, which already has a number of “chipped employees” on staff.
—Milwaukee-based Novascan raised $50,000 as part of a funding round that could climb as high as $2 million, according to an SEC filing. The company develops tools designed to help customers detect forms of soft tissue cancer and reduce the length of surgical procedures they perform. Last year, Novascan participated in the TMCx accelerator for medical device startups, in Houston.
—A federal judge ordered Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to pay more than $506 million to the organization that manages patents and intellectual property for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The award was given in connection with a jury ruling in 2015 that found Apple infringed a patent held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The jury originally awarded $234 million to WARF, but U.S. District Court Judge William Conley ruled last week that Apple continued to infringe the patent until it expired in December 2016.
—UW-Madison’s news service published an interview with Jo Handelsman, who became the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery earlier this year. The institute, which brings together several scientific and engineering disciplines, was created in 2010 with financial support from WARF. In the interview, Handelsman discusses the institute’s “key focus” for the future: healthy people and healthy food.
—Exact Sciences, which is developing diagnostic tests for several different types of cancer, had its third strong quarter in a row and investors reacted favorably. Madison-based Exact (NASDAQ: EXAS) continues to increase sales of its flagship product Cologuard, a stool-based DNA test for colorectal cancer, and quarterly revenues have risen accordingly. The company now expects to complete 550,000 Cologuard tests in 2017, up from 244,000 in 2016.
Kevin Conroy, Exact’s CEO and chairman, said during an earnings call with analysts that his company is working to expand its current lab capacity to 2 million tests per year, or more. The company plans to break ground on a new lab facility later this year, Conroy said, according to a transcript of the call on the stock market website Seeking Alpha.
—Madison-based 4490 Ventures, which provides capital to software startups headquartered in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states, led an $8 million funding round in PhysIQ, of Chicago. PhysIQ develops machine learning-powered software that helps users monitor patients and clinical trial subjects.
According to 4490’s website, all of the companies in its portfolio are based in Wisconsin except PhysIQ and Networked Insights, which was founded in Madison in 2006 but later relocated to Chicago.