Spin-off speeds up


Waukesha bio-tech firm receives

$1.5 million in seed funding

A Waukesha-based bio-technology firm has garnered $1.5 million of first-round angel funding – financing the company says it will use to hire additional staff and to expand its laboratory.
The company, Prodesse, is receiving the funding through Shamrock Partners, an investor group that consists of nine individuals from across the United States, six of whom are from Wisconsin. Also represented are investors from California, Nebraska and Tennessee.
Prodesse has developed several medical diagnostic products with unique capabilities, and has several more products in its pipeline. Its gene-based technology was developed at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Prodesse is a portfolio company of TechStar, the consortium of area colleges, universities and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce charged with fostering technology transfer from research facilities to the marketplace.
"Prodesse has already developed the best diagnostic test worldwide for the rapid and accurate detection of respiratory viruses. This funding will enable us to ramp up our product development efforts and our sales and marketing initiatives while building the infrastructure required for a world-class biotech company", said Tom Shannon, newly appointed president and CEO of Prodesse. "We are well positioned to continue expansion and build on our track record of quality and efficiency in providing multiplexed molecular gene-based diagnostic tests and improved patient care."
"Prodesse’s funding event really highlights the TechStar mission and value proposition to our stakeholders," said Lane Brostrom, managing partner of TechStar. "Wisconsin has tremendous technology opportunities, and I am very pleased to see a combination of both Wisconsin and out-of-state money coming together to build Prodesse."
Prodesse will use the proceeds of the funding to hire additional research scientists, a sales and marketing executive, a business development professional and additional laboratory personnel. It will also construct additional lab space and offices at its Waukesha location.
Prodesse’s products are based on intellectual property that they have exclusively licensed from the Medical College of Wisconsin. It says its first product, the Hexaplex, provides a much more accurate diagnosis of respiratory viruses than any other product currently on the market.
Kelly Henrickson, MD, founded Prodesse in 1993 from his research efforts and developed the patented diagnostic procedures in a laboratory at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
"The team at Prodesse is delighted with the interest shown in our technology by Tom and the other investors," Henrickson said. "We are all excited to have Tom Shannon leading the efforts to take Prodesse to the next level."
The company now employs 10 full time people and operates out of a CLIA-certified laboratory at its Waukesha headquarters in the Riverwood Corporate Center off Highway J. More information in the firm can be found on the Web at www.prodesseinc.com.

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June 7, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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