Two Madison startups in very different fields — Invenra and Markable — have filed papers with federal regulators saying they have raised money from investors: nearly $5 million between the two of them.
Invenra, a biotech company whose products could someday become cancer-fighting drugs, has added $3 million to its coffers.
The money will be used to develop products for its collaborators and for its own product pipeline, said Mark Kubik, senior vice president of business development.
Invenra makes antibodies, which are proteins created by the immune system to fight infection. The company says it has a faster, less expensive way to produce antibodies and test their cancer-fighting powers than standard methods.
Invenra has collaboration agreements with U.K.- and San Jose, California-based Oxford BioTherapeutics as well as several other biopharmaceutical companies, providing antibodies for them to test as drug candidates and, in some cases, partnering to develop drugs, Kubik said.
“Eventually, Invenra would like to discover and develop its own antibody therapeutics,” Kubik said.
Monoclonal antibodies have been shown to effectively treat not only cancer, but also a range of other diseases including cardiovascular, infectious and autoimmune illnesses, he said.Invenra, 505 S. Rosa Road, has 18 employees, all but one in Madison. The company has raised about $12 million since it was formed in 2012.
Markable is a fashion and shopping app, created in 2014. It has drawn $1.9 million from investors.
With offices in the 100State co-working community at 30 W. Mifflin St. as well as in Chicago, Markable’s technology helps people find and buy the clothing they like.
Someone using Markable can take a photo of apparel that catches the person’s interest, and the app will show the user similar merchandise and make it available to buy, spokesman JJ Pagac said.
“See it? Shop it!” Markable’s website says. More than 800 brands are featured on the website.
Cellectar founder Weichert resigns
Jamey Weichert has resigned as chief scientific officer and director of Cellectar Biosciences, and apparently is no longer directly involved with the Madison company he founded more than a decade ago to work on drugs to attack cancer.
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Weichert established Cellectar in 2002 based on research he was doing as part of a team at the University of Michigan in the early 1990s — research that was brought to the UW-Madison in 1998.
Cellectar has gone through a variety of changes over the years — including several CEOs since 2007 — but continues to pursue efforts to turn its technology into cancer drugs. Jim Caruso is the current CEO, appointed in June 2015.
In a terse statement filed with federal regulators, Cellectar said Weichert “tendered his resignation” as chief scientific officer, effective July 15, and ended his service as a member of the board of directors on May 19.
“The board of directors thanks Dr. Weichert for his years of service and wishes him well in his future endeavors,” the filing said.
Neither a Cellectar spokesman nor Weichert would comment on the development.
In a separate announcement, Cellectar said it has hired Jarrod Longcor, as of July 15, as senior vice president of corporate development and operations at a base salary of $285,000 a year. Longcor most recently was chief business officer of Avillion, a drug development company in London, England.
Weichert is an associate professor of radiology at UW-Madison.
Pressure Chamber finalists named
Five Madison startups have been named competitors in this year’s Pressure Chamber pitch event.
They are: Akitabox, with building management technology; Lynx Biosciences, predicting a patient’s response to specific treatment for multiple myeloma; Manifestly, software that uses visual checklists to manage a company’s workflow: POLCO, a platform for civic engagement; and Rigbot, using big data to make the trucking industry more cost-efficient.
Pressure Chamber, a program of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, will be held Aug. 23 at Monona Terrace as part of the Forward Festival, an eight-day series of events on entrepreneurship.
The winner of Pressure Chamber will be part of a Madison area delegation that will go to Palo Alto, California, this fall and meet with Silicon Valley investors.