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Wisconsin Roundup: Ebola, Kiio, The Water Council, Uber, & More

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Here’s a collection of the latest updates from Wisconsin’s technology and innovation community:

—A new experimental vaccine to battle Ebola has shown early but promising results in protecting monkeys exposed to the virus. The vaccine, which is being co-developed by virus expert and University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist Yoshihiro Kawaoka, takes a different approach than some other developmental treatments: It’s an “inactivated whole virus vaccine,” meaning “it primes the host immune system with the full complement of Ebola viral proteins and genes,” which in theory could result in greater protection against the virus, according to a university press release.

—Madison-based Kiio has raised more than $770,000 from investors in a round that could reach almost $3.4 million when closed, according to a new SEC filing. Kiio is developing software-enabled equipment and devices that provide objective measurements during physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises. The company is growing its current staff of 12 and this week released a software product called Kiio Flex, CEO Dave Grandin said in an interview.

—The Water Council’s Global Water Center is close to capacity, and the organization is contemplating opening a second building nearby that would house small water technology companies, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The building could offer cheaper rent and shorter lease options than the Global Water Center, but tenants would still have access to the first building’s amenities, which include labs and an auditorium.

—Meanwhile, The Water Council was awarded a $71,625 federal grant under the new Regional Innovation Strategies program from the U.S. Commerce Department.

—Smart Choice MRI, which operates centers that provide magnetic resonance imaging services for hundreds of dollars less than hospitals, has ambitious plans to open another 12 to 18 locations in the next year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The company is opening its fifth center this month and is in the midst of raising $2 million from investors to help fund its expansion plans.

—Wisconsin legislators on both sides of the aisle have proposed a bill that would provide a path to statewide legalization and uniform rules for mobile app-enabled transportation services like Uber and Lyft to operate here. The bill would require drivers to undergo background checks, pass automobile safety and emissions tests, and have “adequate” auto insurance, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported. The bill would override municipal rules already passed by the city of Milwaukee, and would enable Uber and Lyft to legally operate in cities like Madison.