Invenra and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Enter Collaboration

Invenra, Inc., a pre-clinical stage bio-pharmaceutical company focused on next-generation therapeutic human antibodies, bispecifics and antibody derivatives, and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (“QIMR Berghofer”), one of Australia’s largest, fully integrated biomedical research and development centres today announced a collaboration to identify and characterize a panel of fully human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against a novel target that QIMR Berghofer has identified.

Read more at BusinessWire.

ParqEx Raises More than $1M

ParqEx, the Chicago-based company that lets people rent out their private parking spots, has raised more than $1 million, the company said.

The 2-year-old company said investors in the round include Venture Management and Wisconsin Investment Partners, both based in Madison, Wis., where ParqEx formally expanded its service earlier this month. It also said it received funding from participating in two accelerators, $90,000 from Gener8tor in Milwaukee, and $20,000 from Elmspring in Chicago.

Founder Vivek Mehra, who serves as ParqEx’s CEO and CTO, said he wants people to see his company as an “Airbnb for parking.”

Unlike other Chicago-based parking-booking services ParkWhiz and SpotHero — which let people prepay for spots in commercial lots and garages, often at a discount — Mehra said his service focuses on private parking spaces.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

Sitka Salmon Plans for Growth

Sitka Salmon Shares continues to grow.

The business is expanding into a larger warehouse section of the Sustainable Business Center, 2900 W. Main St. It is one of the businesses that operates out of the SBC, and has a retail office in downtown Galesburg, 109 S. Cherry St.

Sitka Salmon President Nic Mink said a freezer that can hold 100,000 pounds of fish will be operating early next year, which is five times larger than the current freezer at the SBC.

Currently the company has about 4,000 members, or customers who receive five pounds of fish delivered to their door in a vacuum-sealed container with recipes and a newsletter on where the fish came from monthly. The new freezer will allow the company to grow to between 5,000 and 10,000 members.


Silatonix Looks to Make “Exploding Phones” a Thing of the Past

It’s been a no good, very bad month for Samsung: The Korean electronics company has been forced to discontinue its hotly anticipated line of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after widespread battery failures caused the devices to catch fire.

One thing that can happen is that a thin, paperlike barrier inside of the battery that keeps the positive and negative electrodes from touching may get punctured. The other way a battery can fail is if a buildup of carbon dioxide occurs due to high internal temperatures. That can cause the battery to swell up within its hermetically sealed casing.

Hamers said Silatronix had initially been pitching an electrolyte to manufacturers that was rich enough in the organosilicons that it rendered a lithium battery totally inflammable. However, companies weren’t sold on the product, since it necessitated a trade-off in terms of battery life.

The product that Silatronix is now pushing is a compromise of sorts: It doesn’t totally eliminate the flammability risk, but it does mitigate it. Plus, there’s an upside that’s grabbed the attention of battery manufacturers.

“There’s actually an increase in performance — you can have higher temperatures, but no risk of a gassing problem,” said Hamers.

It’s a class of compounds, he said, that’s “unlike anything that anyone has used before.”

Hamers said that Silatronix is in the process of testing its product with all of the major battery manufacturers in the world right now. The dragon to slay after that, he said, will be introducing the safer lithium ion batteries to the world on a major scale, in some sort of major consumer product.


MVI Early Findings From MVI-118 Clinical Trial Selected for Presentation

Madison Vaccines Incorporated (MVI), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, says initial analysis of the first 13 patients enrolled in the MVI-118 clinical trial shows acceptable safety and tolerability, and enhanced patient immune response to the AR antigen encoded by the vaccine. The human androgen receptor is the critical biological target that drives the progression of prostate cancer and, in many cases, is responsible for the resistance to current therapies. MVI-118 is being developed to prolong the duration of disease control gained from standard hormone deprivation therapies. The findings will be presented at the annual Prostate Cancer Foundation Scientific Retreat, October 27, in Carlsbad, CA, just north of San Diego.


HealthMyne Raises $6.9M

HealthMyne, a fast-growing Madison start-up that that provides analytics for medical images in cancer care, has raised $6.9 million of investments, according to a filing with federal securities regulators.

The company, which lists among its co-founders the medical physicist who developed the technology behind TomoTherapy Inc., will use the proceeds for research and development and general corporate purposes, the filing said. There were 23 investors participating in the deal, it said.

The investment puts the amount of funding the three-year-old company has raised over $10 million. HealthMyne most recently raised $4.5 million in March 2015.

HealthMyne operates in the emerging field of quantitative imaging decision support software, which treats medical images not just as pictures but as rich deposits of data that provide large amounts of information for decoding cancer tumors.

The company’s software is being tested at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Fla.

Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

HealthMyne Brings On New CEO, Eyes 2017 For Commercial Launch

HealthMyne, a healthcare IT startup based in Madison, WI, has named Arvind Subramanian as its new chief executive, the company said Monday. Subramanian’s first day at HealthMyne was Aug. 1, he said in a phone interview.

Subramanian replaces Praveen Sinha, who co-founded HealthMyne in 2013. Sinha will now be vice president of business development, the startup said in a press release.

Also joining HealthMyne, whose headcount currently stands at 24, is Linda Peitzman. She is a physician with extensive experience in healthtech, and will serve as the startup’s chief medical and informatics officer. Her first day at HealthMyne was Tuesday, she said, adding that she is the sole medical doctor at the company.

Peitzman and Subramanian share quite a bit of history. They have worked together for a total of 14 years, most recently at the Health Clinical Solutions business unit of Netherlands-based Wolters Kluwer. Before that, they were colleagues at ProVation Medical, a Minneapolis-based healthcare software company that Wolters Kluwer acquired in 2006. “We know each other well,” said Subramanian, who has also joined HealthMyne’s board of directors.

Read more at Xconomy.

Clean-tech Firm Virent Sold to Tesoro

Petroleum refiner and marketer Tesoro Corp. plans to acquire Madison-based renewable fuels technology company Virent Inc. this month, both companies announced Tuesday.

San Antonio-based Tesoro, which invested in Virent earlier this year, said it views the acquisition as a way to accelerate the commercial development of the Madison company’s renewable energy technology.

Virent will continue to operate from Madison, where it has its office as well as pilot and demonstration plants for biogasoline.

“With this acquisition, Tesoro intends to foster more rapid commercialization of Virent’s renewables technology, which could uniquely position the company with an improved means of future regulatory compliance, as well as potential licensing opportunities,” said CJ Warner, Tesoro executive vice president of operations, in a statement. “Tesoro plans to provide resources and expertise to support the scale-up and commercialization of the technology while maintaining Virent’s innovative culture and business that are key to its success.”

Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Zurex Pharma’s Antimicrobial Attracts $6.2M for Clinical Trial

Zurex Pharma, which is developing antimicrobial products for healthcare-associated infections, has raised more than $6.2 million in equity funding, according to a regulatory filing that was made public on Thursday.

In a press release, Middleton, WI-based Zurex said the money is an “initial close of a Series C financing,” and will be used in part to support a late-stage clinical trial of its lead product candidate, ZuraPrep, a pre-surgical skin preparation. This particular investment could top out at $8 million, according to the filing.

Zurex said that some of the 26 participating investors had backed the company previously, while others were first-time investors.

Read more at Xconomy.

PNL Awarded $3.6M in Army Contracts

Phoenix Nuclear Labs (PNL) announced today that it has been awarded multiple contracts by the U.S. Army totaling $3.6 million. Under these contracts, PNL will build an advanced neutron radiography system to detect defective munitions and demonstrate the ability to use their neutron generators to detect and identify concealed explosive threats.

The company will deliver an upgraded, pilot production neutron radiography system that will be the first such system to be installed in a munitions production facility.  The new system is expected to produce 10 times higher neutron yield, enabling faster performance and higher resolution.  It will be capable of producing digital images that will improve the system’s ability to analyze and store data.

In parallel, the Neutron-Emitting Mobile Explosives Sensing and Identification System (NEMESIS) will utilize PNL’s commercial neutron generator technology to demonstrate active neutron interrogation for explosive threat detection. The strong, compact neutron generator developed by PNL over the last 11 years is the enabling technology for mobile explosive threat detection from large standoff distances, greatly enhancing existing warfighter capabilities.

Read more at PR Newswire.