Electric Harley, Ab E, D2P, & More: This Week’s Wisconsin Watchlist

During a ceremony held at dawn on Friday in Sun Prairie, WI, Jimmy the Groundhog saw his shadow, which according to Groundhog Day lore means Wisconsin will not be having an early spring this year. Whether it’s frigid temperatures, flu season, or something else keeping you indoors, take a few minutes to stay current on news from Wisconsin’s innovation community with these recent headlines:

—Harley-Davidson, the iconic Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer, said it’s on target to launch its first electric motorcycle by mid-2019. Harley (NYSE: HOG) also said it plans to “invest more aggressively to lead in the application of electric motorcycle technology to inspire ridership among a new audience.” Harley’s electric bike is part of the 115-year-old company’s effort to evolve its product line and court more young riders.

—Elanco Animal Health, a division of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY), said it entered into a licensing agreement with Madison-based Ab E Discovery. The two groups are seeking to commercialize an egg antibody designed to support the gut health of poultry by decreasing susceptibility to certain pathogens. Ab E Discovery’s plan is to eventually produce an animal food additive that’s free of antibiotics and designed to help animals’ immune systems. The technology under development “will focus on the natural ability of hens to pass antibodies to their offspring through eggs,” Elanco said in a news release, though the technology could potentially also be used on other types of animals.

Separately, Ab E Discovery plans to construct a $3.5 million, 25,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Waterloo, the Waterloo/Marshall Courier reported. That city is located about 25 miles east of Madison.

—The University of Wisconsin-Madison named three finalists for the top job at Discovery to Product (D2P), a program that helps students, faculty, and staff at the school turn ideas into companies. They are: Dan Blake, director of investor relations at HealthX Ventures; Andy Richards, interim D2P director and chief of staff for UW-Madison’s vice chancellor for research and graduate education; and Laura Strong, founder of Propagate Health.

—iDAvatars, which develops software that allows users to interact with virtual assistants and is powered by natural language processing, facial recognition, and other technologies, is “winding down operations,” BizTimes Media reported. The Mequon-based startup reportedly laid off 10 employees last month and Norrie Daroga, who founded iDAvatars in 2013, is the company’s sole full-time employee. Daroga will now try to sell some of his firm’s assets, potentially through an auction, according to the report.

—Verona-based Epic Systems added new features to its Care Everywhere application, which allows the hundreds of healthcare organizations that use Epic’s software to exchange patient data. One new tool within the application is “Images Everywhere,” which lets doctors and other users view images like X-rays and CT scans that are stored on fellow Epic customers’ computer systems.

Epic said it plans to introduce additional Care Everywhere features in the future. One tool that’s on the horizon is a duplicate checker that would make sure that orders placed by clinicians (to prescribe patients medications or have them undergo tests, for example) haven’t already been placed by a user at another organization.

—Epic and other businesses that develop electronic health records software, such as … Next Page »

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