Startup Bill, Water Council, CDI, & More: This Week’s WI Watchlist

Cooler autumn temperatures appear to be here to stay. Stay warm, and stay current with these recent headlines from Wisconsin’s innovation community:

—The office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said she reintroduced a bill aimed at helping entrepreneurs and early-stage companies in the Badger State and around the country. Known as the Small Business Innovation Act, the bill seeks to provide startups with better access to venture capital, and would target growth industries such as life sciences, software, and cleantech. The bill was the first that Baldwin—a Democrat from Madison who previously served in the House of Representatives—introduced following her election to the Senate in 2012.

Publications such as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Milwaukee Business Journal have reported that the bill’s chances of passing are slim, due to the fact that Republicans currently control both houses of Congress.

—The Water Council, a water industry coalition based in Milwaukee, said it forged an agreement with the Berlin-based German Water Partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, the two groups would give “assistance to companies seeking to establish and expand their presence in each other’s markets,” The Water Council said. German Water Partnership will be allowed to use space in Milwaukee’s Global Water Centers and together, the two groups will discuss launching an accelerator for German water-focused startups.

—Madison-based Cellular Dynamics International announced the launch of a new product: hepatoblasts, which are the fetal precursors of hepatocytes, or liver cells. Like many of the other cell lines CDI sells, the hepatoblasts will be derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, which can be turned into any type of cell found in the human body. Unlike some of the company’s other, “fully differentiated” cell products, hepatoblasts can either become hepatocytes or cholangiocytes, which are epithelial cells of the bile duct, CDI said. Ultimately, the hope is that hepatoblasts can help researchers who are developing liver regeneration therapies.

—Nearly 18,000 people descended upon the campus of Epic Systems, the health records software giant based in Verona, for the company’s annual Users Group Meeting, Becker’s Hospital Review reported. The theme of this year’s UGM was “An Adventure in Wonderland,” according to the website Epic created for the event. Epic founder and CEO Judy Faulkner reportedly gave her keynote address dressed as the Mad Hatter. Per the Becker’s write-up on the conference, in one part of Faulkner’s speech, she emphasized the importance of collaboration between networks of hospitals and clinics.

—In other Epic-related news, the Wisconsin State Journal had a story about a tool the company co-developed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve the process of assessing which older adults are at risk of falls. These incidents “are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans,” according to the website of the National Council on Aging. The software program was released to Epic customers based in the U.S. earlier this year, the newspaper reported.

—The schedule of events for the first-ever Milwaukee Startup Week, which runs from Nov. 1-6, was released. Many of the sessions will take place in Milwaukee, but there will also be ones in cities to the south (Beloit) and west (Brookfield), just to name two others. Matt Cordio, a co-organizer of Milwaukee Startup Week, said that entrepreneurs will also have the chance to visit some of the different coworking spaces in and around the city.

—Monona-based Shine Medical Technologies announced that it will be moving its headquarters about 40 miles southeast, to Janesville, later this year. The company has … Next Page »

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

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