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Grant Thornton to consolidate in Milwaukee; Madison company raises $40.6 million for heart cell research

Grant Thornton to consolidate in Milwaukee

Grant Thornton LLP announced it will close its Madison office and consolidate the business into its Milwaukee office.

The decision to consolidate the Madison office with the Milwaukee office follows a similar consolidation in North Carolina earlier this year. In that instance, the Greensboro office merged with the Charlotte and Raleigh offices.

The company said it intends to retain as many of its 61 Madison employees as possible.

“While this was a difficult decision, we believe southern Wisconsin can best be served over the long-term by a centralized office. Grant Thornton’s goal is to retain as many employees as possible during the transition. There are a variety of factors that will affect the exact number of employees transitioning to Milwaukee, including the employees’ personal decisions. We remain committed to the Madison market and will continue to provide our Wisconsin clients the same quality service we always have,” Melissa Koeppel, Wisconsin practice managing partner for the accounting firm.

The company has no plans for changes to its Appleton office.

Madison company raises $40.6 million for heart cell research

Cellular Dynamics International Inc. (CDI), the world’s highest volume manufacturer of human heart cells, has closed on a $40.6 million Series B private equity round for research.

The financing enables the company to increase production capacity for its iCell Cardiomyocytes, which are human heart cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The company will launch additional human tissue cell products for biomedical and pharmaceutical drug development and safety research.

CDI also plans to use the proceeds to rapidly expand its commercial organization to meet the growing demand for the iPSC-based products. CDI has raised a total of $70 million since 2004.

“CDI has now secured the highest-level of funding in this new industry,” said Robert Palay, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We have strong demand from pharmaceutical companies for live heart cells derived from iPSCs because the high purity and quality of our cells result in more accurate preclinical drug testing. Prior to our product introduction, new drugs were tested primarily on either human tissue cells from cadavers, cells derived from tumors, or animal cells, none of which accurately mirror what happens in a live human body.  We believe access to iCell Cardiomyocytes will help speed the discovery of safer and more effective medicines.” 

The company’s iCell Cardiomyocytes product line is the first commercial product based on stem cells grown from adult tissue using CDI founder James A. Thomson’s iPSC technology. Thomson is the University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist who discovered stem cells.

The recent Series B Preferred Shared financing was led by Tactics II Stem Cell Ventures, which also led CDI’s prior capital raises. Other investors in the recent financing include Sam Zell’s Equity Group Investments LLC and Sixth Floor Investors LP.


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