In the years since researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison derived the first human embryonic stem cell line, in 1998, numerous stem cell-focused businesses have popped up in the area. Each one has its own unique concentration, but the overarching goal of these companies is to develop and sell lines of stem cells, as well as to create therapeutics and ancillary products to help researchers study the cells.

Stem Pharm is one of the newest Madison-based startups to join the field. The company, which was formed in 2015 and builds on research conducted in the laboratory of UW-Madison biomedical engineering professor Bill Murphy, is developing biomaterials capable of supporting stem cells as they grow. Stem cells are of interest to scientists in part due to their versatility; they can be turned into specific cell types and programmed to perform functions like regrowing tissue, for instance. That can help drug makers evaluate new therapies they’re developing or be used by groups in the regenerative medicine field to manufacture human tissues, among other applications, says Murphy, co-founder of Stem Pharm. Read the full story here.