Titan Spine, Aurora, CMFG, & More: This Week’s Wisconsin Watchlist

Catch up on news from Wisconsin’s innovation community, starting with these recent headlines:

—Mequon-based Titan Spine, which makes titanium cages of various shapes and sizes designed for use in spinal surgeries, said it achieved “record sales” during the first three months of 2017. In a press release highlighting the company’s recent progress, Titan Spine said that more than 1,000 of its nanoLOCK Endoskeleton devices have been implanted in patients since the devices became available last year. Privately held Titan Spine did not include any specific dollar figures in the release, however.

Last July, the company announced that the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services created a new medical billing code for its nanotextured surface technology, which is designed to mimic the coarse surface of bones. Peter Ullrich, co-founder and CEO of Titan Spine, predicted at the time that the creation of the new code would be a “big selling point.”

—Aurora Health Care, a major healthcare provider based in Milwaukee, unveiled its new Oncology Precision Medicine Clinic. The mission of the clinic, which is located within one of Aurora’s flagship hospitals in Milwaukee, is to help patients with cancer that has proven resistant to radiation, chemotherapy, and other conventional treatments. The clinic will be the first in Wisconsin to use precision medicine software developed by Palo Alto, CA-based Syapse, Aurora said. Syapse’s products help with things like data management, decision support, and care coordination, according to the company’s website. In a press release, Aurora said Syapse’s software is compatible with electronic health records systems, such as the one Aurora uses, for things like comparing its patients’ outcomes with data from other care providers across the country.

—Madison-based Cellular Dynamics International signed a collaboration agreement with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, which is affiliated with a number of schools at the university, as well as hospitals and biomedical companies in the Boston area. Under the terms of the agreement, Cellular Dynamics will design, develop, and manufacture new lines of stem cells for researchers affiliated with the institute, said Bruce Novich, the company’s executive vice president and general manager.

—CMFG Ventures, an investment arm of the Madison-based insurance and financial services firm CUNA Mutual Group, led a $2.25 million investment in MortgageHippo. The Chicago-based startup makes white-label software used by lenders, brokers, and other organizations that draw up mortgages. MortgageHippo will use some of the proceeds from the seed funding round to hire more salespeople and software developers. See coverage in the Chicago Tribune, CUInsight, and HousingWire.

—Xconomy spoke with Stacey Orlandi, who last week was announced as the new CEO of Madison-based Virent. The company is seeking to commercialize bio-based fuels and chemicals, which can be used for everything from powering vehicles to creating plastic bottles and other packaging containers. Orlandi said that working at a company with only a few dozen employees has a “different feel” than at her previous employer, the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell. She takes the helm about seven months after Virent was sold to Tesoro (NYSE: TSO), a petroleum refiner based in San Antonio.

—Virent was also represented in a panel discussion held last week in Madison that focused on how cleantech products and services developed within startups or at colleges and universities can be commercialized on a large scale.

—The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s news service published an article about Propeller Health, a startup in town that develops Internet-connected hardware … Next Page »

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Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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