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Wisconsin Roundup: Epic, Engineered Propulsion, Scanalytics, & More

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Here are some of the past week’s major headlines from Wisconsin’s tech and innovation community:

—The CEO and CFO of Cambridge University Hospitals have stepped down amid financial pressures partly tied to a $300 million implementation of electronic health records software developed by Verona-based Epic Systems, according to British media reports and a note to investors from Robert W. Baird & Co. The resignations come as observers continue to scrutinize the “deteriorating financial condition” of Cambridge, Epic’s first U.K. customer, Baird said. Several other health systems in the country still intend to install Epic, but at least one hospital there concluded Epic “did not provide the best value,” according to the Baird note.

—New Richmond-based startup Engineered Propulsion Systems has raised $1.4 million, a figure that could reach $14.5 million, according to an SEC filing. Three investors participated in the round, which is a combination of equity, debt, and options. According to the company’s website, it’s developing a lightweight diesel engine for general aviation that emits 17 percent less carbon dioxide than competing diesel engines.

—Milwaukee-based Scanalytics has been selected for the fall class of Seamless, a Grand Rapids, MI-based accelerator for “Internet of things” startups. Scanalytics has created a smart floor sensor to measure foot traffic at stores and other physical places. Seamless participants receive $20,000 in seed investment and access to large companies like Meijer, a supermarket chain based in Grand Rapids.

—The Water Council, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee released a report on the impact of investments in water technology in an area centered in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, which the report calls “The Water Technology District.” From 2010 to 2014, public and private investments have totaled $211.4 million. Property values in the district increased by 16.6 percent over the four-year period, the report found. The Water Council’s Global Water Center is located in that neighborhood.

—Arrowhead Research (NASDAQ: ARWR), which is based in Pasadena, CA, but houses its research and development operations in Madison, released data Thursday showing its hepatitis B drug candidate significantly reduced viral antigens in humans and chimpanzees. Shares in the company soared in early trading Thursday, then fell steadily, finishing up 6.7 percent on the day. CEO Chris Anzalone says that during Phase 2a clinical trials, one patient cohort experienced “the highest knockdown ever reported in a human” treated with a ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) therapeutic.

—Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) said it will trim its global salaried workforce by about 3,000, or 2.5 percent of total employees, over the next two years. JCI said it will save $250 million annually from the staff cuts. The Sept. 18 announcement capped a busy week for the company, which is best known for making batteries, car seats, and efficiency systems for buildings.

—The Badger Fund of Funds, a state initiative aimed at pumping more venture capital into Wisconsin startups, could begin investing later this year, general partner Ken Johnson says. The fund of funds will manage $25 million from the state and at least $8 million in private investments. A key next step is naming managers of the “recipient” funds, which will receive chunks of money from the core fund. Five candidates are undergoing a “due diligence process,” Johnson says.