Fund of Funds, ConsortiEX & Froedtert: This Week’s Wisconsin Roundup

Wrap up your week with these headlines from Wisconsin’s innovation community:

—The first recipient fund to launch under the Badger Fund of Funds will be The Idea Fund, based in LaCrosse, and managed by Jonathon Horne, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The Idea Fund, one of up to 12 funds that Badger Fund general partner Ken Johnson previously said he expects to spring up by 2018, will reportedly be required to raise at least $8 million. The fund of funds operates under the name Sun Mountain Kegonsa, an amalgam of Johnson’s Kegonsa Capital Partners, based in Madison, and Sun Mountain Capital, based in Santa Fe, NM.

—Lisa Johnson, CEO of BioForward Wisconsin, the state’s flagship life sciences trade group, spoke with Xconomy about her first year at the helm. She said the group is increasingly using the term “biohealth”—rather than, say, “biotech” or “biosciences”—because that term also encompasses health IT and medical devices, which she said are two of the state’s strengths. She said that during the past year, the most controversial issue that BioForward has been pulled into was a bill introduced by a Republican state lawmaker that would have outlawed certain research involving tissue from aborted fetuses.

—Milwaukee-based ConsortiEX, a healthtech startup that has developed an ordering and tracking software system for the production and distribution of sterile injectable compounds, said that two U.S. health systems have implemented the system. They are Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, also of Milwaukee, and Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health System, according to a news release. Last July, ConsortiEX raised $1 million in a funding round led by Effingham, IL-based Open Prairie Ventures.

—Froedtert was also in the news after it invested an undisclosed amount in Chicago-based Avia Innovator Network. Froedtert made the investment through a new organization it created called Inception Health, Froedtert Health CEO Cathy Jacobson said in a news release. Avia, whose members include more than a dozen academic medical centers and health systems, is exploring working with Inception Health on areas like behavioral health and post-acute care, according to the release.

—Madison-based Exact Sciences said it expects to launch a national campaign of TV commercials for Cologuard, a colorectal cancer diagnostic the company has developed that requires patients to ship stool samples to a lab for testing. Exact said in a news release that it recently finished a nine-week pilot TV ad campaign in five markets that resulted in, on average, a 50 percent increase in Cologuard orders and 100 percent boost in the number of new ordering physicians. Exact’s (NASDAQ: EXAS) stock price closed at $6.35 a share on Tuesday, the day of the announcement, down 9.2 percent from its Monday close of $6.99.

—Wicab, whose headset device—which helps blind people “see” their surroundings—has received commitments from Chinese investors to provide $4.3 million in venture capital as the Middleton-based company seeks to make inroads in that country. Wicab’s “BrainPort” product substitutes touch for sight; using a small video camera fastened to sunglasses, the device converts video signals into electronic impulses that are felt on the user’s tongue. Wicab believes the size of its addressable market is about 250,000 “profoundly blind” people, but CEO Robert Beckman said realistically only about 90,000 of them are likely to be interested in the BrainPort.

—Milwaukee-based STEMhero, a startup whose software is aimed at educating … Next Page »

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

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