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Wisconsin Roundup: Zeon, Exact Sciences, Swoop Search, Isomark, & More

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

As everyone gets ready to enjoy time with family and friends, let’s take a moment to recap some of the big Wisconsin tech announcements in the days leading up to the holidays:

—Milwaukee-based software services company Zeon Solutions was acquired by St. Louis-based Perficient for $35.7 million, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported. Most of Zeon’s local employees are expected to keep their jobs, the newspaper said.

—Madison-based Exact Sciences (NASDAQ: EXAS) is raising $101.8 million through a public sale of 4 million shares of common stock. The offering’s underwriters have an option to purchase an additional 600,000 shares, which would bring the total raised to $117.1 million, before expenses. Exact will use the funds to boost commercialization efforts around Cologuard, its FDA-approved stool DNA test for detecting colorectal cancer. The money will also go toward product development, the company said.

—Madison-based data analytics company Swoop Search raised $2 million in a possible $4.5 million round, a new SEC filing shows. Swoop formed a joint venture with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, called Swoop-Med, to try to develop diagnostics and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a press release. The initiative was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The joint venture received the first investment from a seed fund backed by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the Wisconsin Technology Innovation Initiative (Wi2), which Xconomy profiled in June. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) is also a partner on the project and will help Swoop develop data processing technology based on HP’s Moonshot server. The data for the project will come from the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute’s Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, which includes information that is being gleaned from more than 1,500 people over a 15 to 20-year period.

—Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson invested $25,000 in Madison-based Isomark, the Republican’s second investment in a Wisconsin company, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Physicians Realty Trust (NYSE: DOC) was the first. Investors have put $800,000 into Isomark since 2010, the newspaper said. Isomark developed the “Canary” breath analyzer, which is meant to provide early indication of potentially deadly infections in patients, such as sepsis.

—Cambridge Major Laboratories, a Germantown-based pharmaceuticals manufacturer, is investing $20 million to build new headquarters and expand its research and development and manufacturing space, according to a press release. The company also intends to hire 75 people. The project is getting just over $2 million in public funds through a combination of state tax credits, a state worker training grant, village and county loans, and other incentives.

—Madison-based Shopbop is shuttering its only brick-and-mortar store, but the Amazon-owned women’s apparel seller is also hiring 80 local people for jobs in customer service, technology, and order fulfillment, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

—Greg Meier and Nick Wichert, who run the VictorySpark and Launch Box startup accelerators in Milwaukee and Racine, respectively, have been selected to run another local startup initiative: the incubator/accelerator being planned at the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium’s Energy Innovation Center on Milwaukee’s north side. The Milwaukee Business Journal first reported the news.

—Paragon Development Systems (PDS), a Milwaukee-based IT services provider, has tapped Asif Naseem as its new president and CEO. Naseem has held various roles with AT&T, Motorola, and Oracle, as well as multiple startups, PDS said. Naseem succeeds Jonathan Ravdin, who will continue as PDS vice chairman and chief medical officer.

—Marquette University Law School is opening a law and entrepreneurship clinic that will offer free legal services to startups. The program is the first of its kind in the Milwaukee area, Marquette said, and is similar to one offered by the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison.