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3 Madison firms pitch ideas at InvestMidwest venture capital forum

MPathic-VR, from Madison-based Medical Cyberworlds, trains individuals to handle challenging conversations by having them talk with computer-based virtual humans.

MPathic-VR, from Madison-based Medical Cyberworlds, trains individuals to handle challenging conversations by having them talk with computer-based virtual humans.

Medical Cyberworlds Inc.

Among 45 promising emerging companies in the life sciences, technology, and food/agriculture/bioenergy industries, three Madison firms were selected to showcase their ideas at the 17th annual InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum last week in St. Louis.

Medical Cyberworlds Inc., Deltanoid Pharmaceuticals Inc., and PhylloTech LLC were each chosen to present their business plans to an audience of national venture capitalists, corporate and private investors, and investment bankers March 23–24 at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark in downtown St. Louis. 

Since its first forum in St. Louis in May 2000, InvestMidwest has helped generate more than $1 billion in investments and acquisitions for innovative growth companies.

“We received over 140 applications from companies that have developed products and services that address many of the global issues making recent headlines, so there was much excitement to hear from the selected presenters heading into this year’s event,” said Chris Walsh, executive director of InvestMidwest, whose mission is to provide access to equity capital for emerging, privately held companies seeking venture funds from $1 million to $20 million.

Medical Cyberworlds presented in the Technology Track. The company aims to improve communication in the medical industry through the development of its first product, MPathic-VR.

The patented technology trains individuals to handle challenging conversations by having them talk with computer-based virtual humans (VHs). The VHs feature a human appearance and interact using communications behaviors expected in human-to- human conversation. As individuals talk with the VHs, MPathic-VR captures cognitive, verbal, and non-verbal data that can be used by organizations to train employees, assess skills, and certify competency in high-stakes communication.

With poor communication strongly implicated as a major cause of preventable medical error, Medical Cyberworlds says its technology has the potential to improve patient experience, reduce medical errors, and result in greater revenues and reduced costs for medical organizations.

Milwaukee’s ConsortiEX Inc., which is working to address severe financial, quality, and regulatory challenges regarding the management and administration of pharmaceuticals within large health systems, also presented in the Technology Track.

Presenting in the Life Sciences Industry Track, Deltanoid Pharmaceuticals is developing DP001, a single oral agent used to manage hard-to-control Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (SHPT), with little-to-no side effects.

Active Vitamin D is typically the first-line option for treatment of SHPT but often isn’t enough to control parathyroid hormone (PTH) as it is limited by hypercalcemia/hyperphosphatemia. Calcimimetics are added when PTH isn’t controlled; however, that is limited by hypocalcemia, poor tolerability, and high cost.

According to Deltanoid, DP001 is five to 40 times more potent in suppression of PTH than older activated Vitamin D sterols (AVDs). DP001 is formulated in an oral soft gel capsule and is given three times per week at the time of dialysis, which facilitates patient compliance and avoids the costs of IV administration. The drug reduces the need for adjunctive calcimimetics and avoids the associated side effects.

PhylloTech, which presented in the Food-Ag Industry Track, is creating new agricultural sprays to replace current toxic pesticides. The sprays combine protein-based antimicrobials to inhibit fungal and bacterial pathogens, an approach that will allow farmers to overcome crop losses from numerous pests.

According to the company, PhylloTech’s biopesticide products are natural, safe, and inexpensive. They are also effective against a broad spectrum of fungal and bacterial pathogens. PhylloTech’s core technologies are protein-based antimicrobials identified from natural sources that are highly active against numerous pathogens yet pose minimal environmental impact. The antimicrobial proteins can be utilized as topical sprays or genetic traits for agricultural use.

More geographically diverse than ever before, this year’s selected presenters hailed from 15 states, and one was based in Europe. Applicants were reviewed by a panel of experts, and the companies were selected based on their value, proposition, products/services, financial summaries, management teams, and marketing strategies and opportunities.  

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