MCW Start-Up Companies
Several start-up companies have been formed in Wisconsin and elsewhere based on research conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Ariosa is a molecular diagnostics company committed to innovating together to improve patient care. The flagship product, the Harmony Prenatal Test, is a safe, highly accurate and affordable prenatal test for maternal and fetal health which equips pregnant women and their healthcare providers with reliable information to make decisions regarding their health, without creating unnecessary stress or anxiety. Led by an experienced team, Ariosa uses proprietary technology to perform a directed analysis of cell-free DNA in blood. The company was acquired by Roche in January 2015 with operations based in San Jose, CA.
Brain Symphonics is an MCW start-up company developing innovative, non-invasive neuroimaging tools to detect the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), the most common form of dementia. AD affects more than 5.3 million Americans and costs nearly $150 billion annually to treat and care for AD patients. The company’s technology is based on the inventions of co-founder Shi-Jiang Li, PhD, MCW Professor of Biophysics, and Director of MCW’s Center for Imaging Research. The methods developed by Dr. Li and his colleagues employ a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) known as resting-state functional connectivity MRI (r-fcMRI). The company is the recipient of a $1.8 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Imaging Biometrics, LLC develops ready-to-use software applications for the healthcare industry. The strength of Imaging Biometrics is its extensive software development experience integrated with its client-centric approach. Through close collaborations with top research minds in the medical imaging field, proprietary and sophisticated advancements are translated into easy and intuitive quantitative software solutions for researchers and clinicians. More specifically, Imaging Biometrics’ quantitative approach has been proven to accurately assess and monitor treatment therapies for cancers as well as evaluate the effectiveness of new therapies.
An imaging software and service company dedicated to diagnosing, planning, treatment, and management of soft tissue tumors including brain tumors and other neurological disorders.
A medical diagnostics company addressing infectious disease with multiplexed PCR, Prodesse was later purchased by Gen-Probe and subsequently by Hologic Inc.
Protein Foundry was founded by Brian F. Volkman, PhD, Francis C. Peterson, PhD and Michael B. Dwinell, PhD and manufactures recombinant proteins including secreted, wild-type forms of over 15 human chemokines. Protein Foundry also produces custom chemokine variants and performs stable isotope labelling for NMR, MS and other applications. They provide unique tools for structure-function analysis and their proprietary methods yield products of the highest purity, ensuring reproducible results with minimal variation between lots.
Somna Therapeutics, LLC
Founded in March 2012, Somna Therapeutics is a start-up medical device company focused on improving the quality of life for the millions of people suffering from extraesophageal acid reflux disease (EERD). The solution is the non-invasive, safe, simple and effective Reza-Band, UES Assist Device. The inventor of the Reza-Band is MCW’s Reza Shaker, MD, Professor and Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine. The license agreement was negotiated by the Office of Technology Development and the technology and license is managed by Joseph Hill. Somna Therapeutics raised $3.4 million from angel investors to bring the device to market. In March of 2015, the company received FDA clearance for the Reza-Band and began to sell the device in the U.S. out of its Germantown, Wisconsin headquarters.
TAI Dx LLC
Founded by Aoy Tomita-Mitchell, PhD and Michael E. Mitchell, MD, TAI Dx seeks to commercialize a safe, rapid, highly sensitive and specific non-invasive targeted genetic diagnostic test to: detect rejection of a transplanted organ; and monitor the health of patients who received organ transplants by analyzing DNA shed by the donated organ into their blood. TAI Diagnostics was awarded second place in the Life Sciences category of the Governor’s Business Plan Contest in June of 2014 and raised $8 million in 2015.