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Wisconsin Roundup: CDI, Exact, Centrose, ConjuGon, ConsortiEX, & More

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Here are the latest headlines in Wisconsin’s tech and innovation community:

—Madison-based Centrose raised $1 million in convertible debt that will help fund the salary of CEO James Prudent through 2019, according to a new SEC filing. The company is also raising equity investments through this funding round, which could eventually reach $21 million. Centrose is developing what are called extracellular drug conjugates to treat cancer.

—Madison-based ConjuGon raised $700,000 in a financing round of debt and securities that could reach $1.5 million, a new SEC filing shows. ConjuGon is developing conjugation-based antibacterial drugs to fight bacterial infections of the skin and other soft tissues that are resistant to antibiotics.

—Madison-based Cellular Dynamics International (NASDAQ: ICEL) said it has manufactured stem cell lines from two anonymous “superdonors” whose human leukocyte antigens, or HLA, make their cells more compatible for use in potential treatments for unrelated patients. The two cell lines match with 19 percent of the U.S. population, Cellular Dynamics said, and the plan is to collect enough donor cell lines to increase that to 95 percent. The company said this is the first HLA superdonor cell bank in the world and the first created under the stringent manufacturing conditions that regulators require when developing treatments for humans.

—Milwaukee-based Narsys, which created the FocalCast mobile app, was accepted into the Capital Innovators accelerator in St. Louis. Founded by Marquette University students, the company’s app allows users to sling PowerPoint presentations directly from their smartphone or tablet to a display device, like a projector or smart TV.

—Madison-based Exact Sciences (NASDAQ: EXAS) signed a five-year extension of its collaborative research agreement with Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, MN. The two organizations worked together to develop Cologuard, Exact’s stool-based DNA test for colorectal cancer, which won U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval last year. The new agreement with Mayo expands their research collaboration to other gastrointestinal tract diseases and gives Exact the rights to certain Mayo intellectual property, including patents and new biological markers, according to a press release.

—Healthcare software startup ConsortiEX, which announced plans in October to open a Milwaukee office, has chosen to house its headquarters downtown at 1000 N. Water St., according to a Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. press release. ConsortiEX was founded in 2013 in the Boston area and went through the MassChallenge accelerator program last summer. The company intends to hire 77 people in Milwaukee in the next three years, including software developers.

—Symmetry Corp., an IT services provider, is moving its operations to Brookfield, WI, a suburb of Milwaukee. The decision was made to consolidate from three buildings on Milwaukee’s east side to a single location with a larger footprint than the company’s current offices, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

—Pharmaceutical Product Development, a contract drug developer and lab services company based in Wilmington, NC, continues to grow its Middleton, WI, operations. It has added 200 local employees in the past three years and intends to tack on another 75 this year, bringing its local staff to around 900, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

—Durham, NC-based CalStar Products is relocating production of its eco-friendly brick and decorative trim products from its Racine, WI, facility to a new, larger manufacturing plant in Columbus, MS. The decision will mean the loss of 29 jobs in Racine, The Journal Times reported. Thirteen jobs will remain here, focused on administrative duties and quality assurance and product testing.