Free Tuesday Trends sample: Stratatech rising, Oshkosh Corp. mixed and solar power falling

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RISING

Stratatech: The Madison-based regenerative medicine company announces a federal contract worth up to $47.2 million to continue development of Stratatech’s skin replacement product. The five-year contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority will consist of two base years, followed by contract options for another three years. The total award will support the pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory and technology development activities needed to complete the FDA approval process for StrataGraft skin tissue, which would be used to treat burn injuries. The contract will also help fund manufacturing process development and scale-up so that Stratatech will be positioned for large-scale production — in the case of either general commercial needs or a mass casualty event. Company officials say the BARDA contract — believed to be the first awarded to a Wisconsin company — recognizes the quality and potential impact of the StrataGraft product.

MIXED

Oshkosh Corp.: The Fox Valley vehicle manufacturer reports a quarterly profit nearly double the same quarter in 2012. The company attributed the rise from $77.1 million net income last year to $148.4 million this time around to better-than-expected prices and sales of its construction equipment. But a potentially big job creator for Oshkosh could be in jeopardy due to ongoing fiscal cuts at the federal level. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlines a dramatic spending cut plan to address federal sequestration, and one Marine Corps official has said he has higher priorities than replacing Humvees — a potential 20-year, $30 billion contract that includes Oshkosh as one of three bidders. CEO Charles Szews, however, says he believes the Humvee replacement contract is still a high enough priority for the military that it will go forward; a spokesman adds that Oshkosh receiving the contract “would forever change the company.”

FALLING

Solar power: A pair of issues before the state Public Service Commission has drawn the ire of renewable energy advocates. First, the utility regulatory agency votes to suspend incentives for homeowners that install solar systems from the middle of this month through the rest of the year. It’s the second time in three years that the state’s Focus on Energy program has seen the solar incentives suspended; officials said projections showed spending on solar and wind projects would exceed Focus on Energy standards for this year and that they expect the incentives to return in 2014. Critics say the stoppage will once again hurt more than 300 small businesses working in renewable energy. Meanwhile, Green Bay-based Wisconsin Public Service Corp. is arguing in a rate case before the PSC for more restrictive solar policies. The PSC says it wants to ensure its customers aren’t unfairly subsidizing others with solar installations; opponents say the utility is essentially discouraging solar energy.