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Biotech start-up developing patch to deliver drugs

Injecting a dose of vision
Biotech start-up developing patch to deliver drugs
Posted: July 29, 2005

Tony Escarcega spent 20 hours trolling the patent archives of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's technology transfer arm before finding five ideas he thought could spawn a good company.

He talked to all five inventors and whittled the list down to one promising technology: a large-molecule-drug delivery patch.

Escarcega became partners with a graduate student working on the technology, and the two spent five months tweaking a business plan.

The result is Ratio - a start-up biotech company that won the $10,000 prize in UW-Madison's G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition. The company also has been recommended by the board of the school's Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship Fund to receive a $100,000 equity investment.

Full story.

Large New World Discovered Beyond Neptune

Large New World Discovered Beyond Neptune
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 29 July 2005
11:08 am ET

A newfound object in our solar system's outskirts may be larger than any known world after Pluto, scientists said today.

It also has a moon.

Designated as 2003 EL61, the main object in the two-body system is 32 percent as massive as Pluto and is estimated to be about 70 percent of Pluto's diameter.

Other news reports that the object could be twice as big as Pluto are false, according to two astronomers who found the object in separate studies and another expert who has analyzed the data.

If the mass is only one-third that of Pluto, then theory holds that it can't be larger than Pluto, according to Brian Marsden of the Minor Planet Center, which serves as a clearinghouse for data on all newfound objects in the solar system.

Full story.

Len Seward Joins Neurognostics

For Immediate Release:

Len Seward Joins Neurognostics as Vice President of Sales

Milwaukee, WI, July 28, 2005 – Neurognostics, Inc., a company specializing in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) products and services, is pleased to announce Len Seward as new Vice President of Sales. With over 17 years of experience in medical device sales, Seward brings a distinguished track record of industry experience in sales and marketing.

As a key member of Neurognostics’ executive team, Seward is responsible for expanding the sales of Neurognostics’ MindState product line through direct and indirect channels, leveraging his experience in building start-up sales, and building a sales team to accommodate nationwide sales of the company’s products and services.

Continue reading "Len Seward Joins Neurognostics" »

NIH, Biotech Firms Oppose Grant Rules

NIH, Biotech Firms Oppose Grant Rules
Letter to Small-Business Agency Says Venture Capital Shouldn't Be Capped

By Anjali Athavaley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 28, 2005; Page D05

Biotechnology firms lobbying for access to Small Business Administration funding have gained support from the National Institutes of Health.

In a letter written last month and released yesterday by a biotech organization, NIH director Elias A. Zerhouni asked SBA chief Hector V. Barreto to waive restrictions on awarding SBA research grants to firms owned by venture capital investors.

Full story.

Richard Branson and Burt Rutan Form Spacecraft Building Company

Richard Branson and Burt Rutan Form Spacecraft Building Company
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 27 July 2005
03:09 pm ET

British entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, has teamed up with aerospace designer, Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites to form a new aerospace production company. The new firm will build a fleet of commercial suborbital spaceships and launch aircraft.

Called The Spaceship Company, the new entity will manufacture launch aircraft, various spacecraft and support equipment and market those products to spaceliner operators. Clients include launch customer, Virgin Galactic—formed by Branson to handle space tourist flights.

The Spaceship Company is jointly owned by Branson’s Virgin Group and Scaled Composites of Mojave, California. Scaled will be contracted for research and development testing and certification of a 9-person SpaceShipTwo (SS2) design, and a White Knight Two (WK2) mothership to be called Eve. Rutan will head up the technical development team for the SS2/WK2 combination.

Drawing from SpaceShipOne technology

The announcement was made today at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture gathering being held July 25-31 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The yearly event spotlights homebuilt aircraft, antiques, classics, warbirds, ultralights, rotorcraft—as well as the emerging commercial spaceflight business.

Full story.

Third Wave continues 2nd phase

Third Wave continues 2nd phase
00:00 am 7/28/05
Judy Newman Wisconsin State Journal

Third Wave Technologies saw its losses grow in the March-June quarter, but the Madison biotechnology company said that's just what it expected as it continued to change its focus.

Third Wave reported a $5.5 million second-quarter loss, or 13 cents a diluted share, on revenue of $5.8 million. That's a drop from a $106,000 net loss, or 0 cents a diluted share, on $12.6 million revenue for the same period last year.

The decline reflects Third Wave's decision to target its products for clinical patient diagnosis instead of research labs. Research revenue fell by $8 million from the 2004 second quarter, while clinical diagnostic sales, at $4.3 million, were up from $3.4 million a year ago.

"While the long-anticipated decline in research revenue may cloud the company's top- line story in the short term, our second-quarter results show that the investments we have made and will continue to make in molecular diagnostic product development and distribution are beginning to pay off," John Puisis, president and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

Full story.

Plastic gains flexibility

Plastic gains flexibility
State's businesses benefit from advances
Posted: July 26, 2005

Plastic parts so small they can be seen only with a microscope.

Plastic walls that capture light.

Corn fibers in plastic to make car bumpers.

These are just some of the promising products and technologies under development in the plastics industry, which is an integral part of Wisconsin's economy. The state ranks about 10th in the nation for employment in plastics manufacturing and 12th for plastics shipments, which total more than $10 billion a year, according to industry sources.

Advances in areas such as polymers and resins are critical to the industry's survival, said Jay Smith, president of Teel Plastics Inc., a Baraboo manufacturer that also does research.

"Plastics is one area where I believe the United States leads other countries," Smith said. "There aren't a lot of those product areas today, but plastics is one of them."

The use of nanoparticles, measured as 1 billionth of a meter, is one of the hottest areas in plastics. Essentially, the tiny bits of materials are added as filler to change the way plastics behave.

Full story.

State tech firms gain tax equity in budget

State tech firms gain tax equity in budget

The Capital Times
July 27, 2005

The state budget signed into law Monday by Gov. Jim Doyle puts technology companies on equal footing with other businesses by extending the so-called single-sales factor tax treatment to tech firms.

Two years ago, the state began a phase-in of the single-sales factor tax treatment for firms in other business sectors, such as manufacturing.

Under current state law, Wisconsin-based tech companies face the threat of double taxation when they make sales outside Wisconsin: By Wisconsin, which has treated out-of-state sales as Wisconsin sales, and by the destination state. A Wisconsin firm's corporate income tax has been determined using a formula that included the value of in-state property and payroll, as well as sales.

Starting with this year, revenues from the licensing of computer software and services will be treated as Wisconsin revenue only if the purchaser of the software or services uses them in Wisconsin.

Full story.

Should kids be used in clinical research?

Should kids be used in clinical research?
Doctors, others debate the ethics


For Hunter Fulton, the best part of participating in the advancement of medicine is the $20 gift certificates.

And what's an extra blood test each year and a few survey questions if the 11-year-old with Type 1 diabetes can help the greater good?

"I like to do it," said Hunter of Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood. "I know that it will help them try to find a cure."

But it would be another matter if doctors wanted to test experimental drugs on him, Hunter said. He wouldn't do that -- not for $100 gift certificates. "Maybe $1 million."

That line between routine, barely invasive research and riskier clinical experimentation drives even the nation's top regulators, ethicists and researchers into intense and sometimes contentious debate. About 200 such professionals gathered in Seattle last weekend to grapple with how such studies should be regulated -- and how to deal with huge loopholes in the laws. The Center for Pediatric Bioethics, which is part of Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, sponsored the conference.

Full story.

Microsoft Vista May Face Trademark Trouble

Microsoft Vista May Face Trademark Trouble

The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 26, 2005; 9:06 PM

SEATTLE -- There's a line of sewing machines, an elevator monitoring system, even a brand of detergent used to clean dairy equipment _ all bearing the brand name Vista. There are plenty of computer products that claim the Vista trademark, too.

So Microsoft Corp.'s choice of Vista as the name for the next version of its Windows operating system has some intellectual property experts wondering if a company that has been fiercely protective of its own trademarks will get hauled into court.

"It seems like they were a little lax in their intellectual property due diligence _ maybe because they're so big, maybe because they're so powerful, maybe because they feel they can do anything they want," said James T. Berger, a Chicago-area marketing communications consultant who teaches at Northwestern and Roosevelt universities.

Full story.