By Brian Moeller

Five Wisconsin bioscience companies have been selected as the winners of BIOforward’s 2014 Emerging Company Showcase, sponsored by The Center for Technology Commercialization, Madison Gas and Electric (MGE), and First Business Bank.

BIOforward and sponsors offer a program that delivers critical business assets and high industry exposure for emerging companies. The showcase is part of the 2014 Bioscience Vision Summit, being held on Wednesday, October 8th, at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wis. and hosted by BIOforward, the member driven, Wisconsin affiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), PhRMA, and Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed).

Each of these Wisconsin-based early stage companies were chosen because they have transitioned successfully out of research and development, with good proof of concept for their products. Each was judged to have a unique value proposition. This year’s Emerging Company Showcase winners are:

BioTechnique (Madison, WI)

BioTechnique is a contract manufacturing organization (CMO) providing cytotoxic and high potency sterile injectable fill-finish services. BioTechnique’s cytotoxic and high potency fill and finish contract manufacturing facility will surpass customer needs for sterile injectable fill and finish services in all stages of the drug life cycle, from investigational/clinical to final marketed product. BioTechnique is capable of handling vial sizes from 2ml to 100ml and batch sizes up to 250 liters for a variety of product formulations including emulsions, aqueous, suspensions, liquids, and lyophilized products.

Cellara (Madison, WI)

Cellara, LLC is developing personal automation to improve the productivity of routine stem cell culture. Current manual methods for stem and primary cells are highly repetitive and create a risk of repetitive motion injury, but require skill and experience to perform. Cellara’s ExCellarator™ system will provide affordable benchtop automation with a significant productivity and reproducibility improvement, but will fit into the infrastructure and workflow of current laboratories. The company is currently executing a seed phase of breadboard prototyping and market/customer development, and is raising $1.5 million to build a minimum viable product and place it in key early adopter laboratories.

GelCombs (Madison, WI)

Gel Combs LLC provides simple and innovative solutions to everyday problems encountered by researchers in the life sciences and medical fields. We design, manufacture and sell improved combs for gel electrophoresis applications as well as custom plastic parts for the microscopy and microbiology industries. Our founders work in the life sciences and know first-hand the pain points and problems of daily research. Our products enable scientists to make great discoveries by performing more efficient, cost-effective, and creative research. Smarter combs for the smarter scientist!

Kosmetikos (Marshfield, WI)

Kosmetikos is a Central Wisconsin based skin care company start-up, dedicated to developing a diverse line of products inspired by traditions of ancient cultures combined with modern scientific philosophies. Our formulations use natural actives and the compound Betula Papyrifera, acquired through a patented process method which extracts and synthesizes naturally occurring chemicals in the bark. Kosmetikos manufactures skin care products that emulsify rich essential oils, and nutrients to nourish and replenish the skin while acting as a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antioxident, thus making skin healthier. We are excited to develop our unique products using all Wisconsin based resources – keeping our business local, with sales to go global.

Organic Research Corp (Milwaukee, WI)

Organic Research Corp. develops digital pathology software tools that utilize advanced machine learning and image processing techniques to provide pathologists critical decision support by automatically identifying disease markers. Their flagship product, the Digital Liver Pathology Aid (DLPA), assists pathologists diagnosing and researching therapeutics for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition affecting more than 90 million Americans.

In addition to complimentary registration for the summit, the winning companies receive high-visibility exhibit space, recognition at one of the summit’s large plenary sessions, a complimentary year of membership in BIOforward, and specialized one-on-one technical assistance ranging from business planning and investor introductions to collaborative partnerships.

“These five companies characterize the diversity and innovation of technology within Wisconsin’s bioscience industry,” said Kathy Collins, Business Development Director at BIOForward. “BIOForward is committed to fostering growth in Wisconsin and these organizations represent key industries that will be at the center of future job creation.”

The BIOforward Vision Summit on October 8 at the Monona Terrace in Madison provides an opportunity to learn more about the association, to meet the highly enthusiastic Board of Directors and dedicated staff and to network with like-minded individuals to advance life sciences in Wisconsin.

Registration for the Bioscience Vision Summit 2014 is available online, with additional information at http://www.bioforward.org/?page=2014VisionSummit.

About BIOforward

BIOforward was founded in 1987. Its members include life science companies, universities, nonprofits, and service providers. As an advocate for advancing Wisconsin’s position as a leading life science community, BIOforward brings together the collective strengths and experience of Wisconsin’s life science innovators, providing the resources to create develop and deliver products to improve the lives of people around the world.