A company that has developed a portable device for treating diabetic foot ulcers won the grand prize in the 2013 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, organizers announced Wednesday.
NitricGen Inc., a Madison-based firm, designed and patented a shoe box-sized device that produces nitric oxide from room air to treat chronic foot ulcers, a serious complication of diabetes. The device electrically creates a flow of nitric oxide gas to be applied by the patient.
Nitric oxide is a natural signaling molecule produced by the body. Ten years of research shows it plays a key role in wound healing.
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“Diabetes is a national epidemic. About 900,000 diabetic Americans require treatment each year for foot ulcers, and about 80,000 undergo amputations,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest. “NitricGen’s device has the potential to improve treatment for patients while controlling costs and filling a market void.”
NitricGen is a two-year-old company led by former employees of Ikaria, a bio-therapeutics firm with an office in Madison. Fred Montgomery presented NitricGen’s business plan during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Middleton. NitricGen won the Life Sciences category of the contest. Other category winners were:
Advanced Manufacturing: V-Glass. This company is developing vacuum-insulated window glass, analogous to a flat Thermos bottle, to greatly reduce heat loss. Peter Petit, Pewaukee, presented for the company.
Business Services: Balanz. This company has developed a sensor system for trucks to enable the driver, owner and regulators to track weight, load balance, tire condition and brake condition in real time. David Buslee, Delafield, presented for Balanz.
Information Technology: Gristmill Studios. This Fitchburg company develops entertainment and educational games across mobile and other gaming programs. One of its games, Xenominer, is averaging more than 450 downloads per day. Shobhan Thakkar presented for Gristmill.
The awards were announced at the Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Middleton, where the top 13 contestants made oral presentations on their plans. Some 326 entries were received in January from contestants in 106 communities. About 70 judges and mentors took part throughout the contest’s four stages. Second- and third place winners in the 10th annual contest were:
Advanced manufacturing: Timothy Shedd, Datacenter Cooling Technology, Madison; Pradeep Rohatgi, Lightweight Composite Castings, Milwaukee; Bruce Bathurst, OSAT Real-Time Metal Analysis, Franklin (shared third).
Business services: Mitchell Fiene, DMZ Aerial, Whitewater; Heather Johnston, Find My Spot, Milwaukee.
Information technology: Brian Mayer, WeDo, Glendale; Justin Knupp, CyderMED, Middleton.
Life Sciences: Charles Potter, MTD Therapeutic Hypothermia, Mequon; Eric Ronning, Rehand, Madison.
Finalists submitted full business plans for review by a panel of judges established by the Tech Council, which is the non-profit and non-partisan science and technology adviser to the governor and the Legislature. Each plan describes the core product or service, defines the customer base, estimates the size of the market, identifies competition, describes the management team and provides key financial data.
The executive summaries of the Top 25 contestants are available for inspection by accredited investors through the Wisconsin Angel Network, which has more than 25 member angel networks, private equity funds or corporate strategic partners.
About $200,000 in cash and in-kind prizes have been pledged for the 2013 contest, with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. being the lead prize sponsor. Other sponsors are: 5Nines; Aberdean Consulting; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Company; AT&T; BDO; City of Waterloo; Cleantech Open; Compass Properties; Cornerstone Office Corp.; Cresa Madison; EarthIT; Flanagan Financial; Functional Biosciences; Grant Thornton; JZB Solutions; Kohner Mann & Kailas; Kollath & Associates; Logistics Health; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic; Michael Best & Friedrich; Midwest Prototyping; Milwaukee Institute; Mortenson Construction; Murphy Desmond; Nelson Schmidt Inc.; OEM Fabricators; Pieper Properties; Quarles & Brady; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.; Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media; Smith & Gesteland; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; University Research Park; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; WEA Trust; Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority; and Wisconsin Technical College System.