Hyde, a Milwaukee startup with a sleek, new concept for a life vest may have won the top prize in the 2016 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan contest, but if there was an unseen victor, it would have to be Thomas “Rock” Mackie.
Mackie, a UW-Madison professor emeritus of medical physics and engineering physics and director emeritus of medical engineering at the Morgridge Institute for Research, is co-founder of two of the finalists in this year’s contest, Asto CT and Linectra, as well as one of last year’s finalists, OnLume.
Linectra tied for second place in the advanced manufacturing category, behind Hyde. Linectra is developing a heavy-duty 3D printer that can print metal parts for industrial components.
Asto CT finished in third place in the life sciences category. It is working on a device to conduct CT (computed tomography) scans of horses — in particular, their legs and heads.
“The UW veterinary school came to us,” Mackie said. “We are developing a system that can go in multiple directions.”
Mackie said the device, based on a scanner used for security checks of large luggage, is designed to let veterinarians see the start of a fracture in a horse’s leg before it turns into a full break that topples the horse. Activities such as racing, jumping and dressage can all cause stress fractures, he said.
OnLume is working on a medical device for use in cancer surgery in coordination with drugs that light up cancerous tumors. Currently, those tumors have to be viewed in the dark; OnLume’s technology will let the surgery be performed with the lights on, Mackie said.
He said a prototype for use with animals is just being completed.
With three device-based startups in the nest, Mackie has set up his own business incubator at 3300 Commercial Ave. “We call it The Clubhouse,” he said.
The prolific scientist and entrepreneur — who still is a liaison for Morgridge — also is co-founder of HealthMyne, a health information technology company. Founded in 2013, HealthMyne mines data from tumor images to help radiologists better diagnose and treat cancerous tumors.
HealthMyne received $4.5 million from investors in 2015, and has about 25 employees. In January, it was named “most promising company” at the Personalized Medicine World Conference in Silicon Valley.
The four young companies are just a few of Mackie’s endeavors. He is best known as co-founder of TomoTherapy, the Madison company with a radiation-based cancer treatment machine that is now part of publicly traded Accuray, of Sunnyvale, California.