TUE AM News: Delivering therapies with bio-engineered bacteria; Evers calls on Trump to end trade war with China

— UW-Madison scientists have bio-engineered bacteria to deliver certain therapies to patients with heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other conditions. 

In treating metabolic diseases like these, doctors will often rely on polypeptides as therapeutic agents. They include hormones, enzymes, antibodies and other small molecules. Despite their miniscule size, delivering these therapies to patients’ bodies can prove difficult.

According to an info sheet from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, ingesting these treatments doesn’t work, as the polypeptides are broken down through digestion or otherwise blocked from reaching the bloodstream. Therefore, these treatments are usually introduced directly to the bloodstream through an IV. 

Still, that common method poses its own problem. Certain genetically engineered bacteria have been used to deliver the treatments to specific parts of the body, but some patients with weaker immune systems can be negatively affected. 

Using experimental mouse models, researchers have demonstrated they can engineer bacteria to deliver therapeutics while avoiding substantial pollution of the bloodstream with the bacteria, the info sheet shows. 

While the researchers say their method is comparatively non-invasive and effective, they also claim it represents an “inexpensive approach … that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive.” 

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/using-bio-engineered-bacteria-to-deliver-therapies/ 

— Gov. Tony Evers urged President Trump to “stop this unnecessary trade war” with China, writing the president’s “never-ending tariffs” have hit Wisconsin and the ag industry hard. 

Evers’ letter came the same day the state Dem Party took Trump to task for trade policies that impacted Wisconsin manufacturer Harley-Davidson. 

In his letter, Evers wrote farmers have been “hit by a triple whammy of trade uncertainty, low selling prices for their products, and bad weather.” 

He added the aid payments the president has implemented to ease the impact of the tariffs don’t make up for what farmers have lost financially or personally. 

“A government check simply does not make up for the pride they felt knowing they were getting a fair price for their high-quality corn, soybeans, or ginseng,” Evers wrote. 

A regional spokesman for the White House didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. 

Evers wrote that trade relations can take years to build, but a single “Tweet can harm thousands of Wisconsin citizens who make their living in our agricultural industry.” 

He urged the president to work to restore critical trade relationships. 

“Farmers want trade more than government aid,” Evers wrote. “They deserve better than short-sighted trade wars that do lasting damage to their businesses and their heritage.” 

See the release: 

— Specialty Cheese Company is planning a $1.65 million expansion at its Reeseville manufacturing facility, for which WEDC has authorized up to $100,000 in tax credits. 

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. says this project is expected to directly create 36 jobs in the next two years. The company can earn the full $100,000 in tax credits through April 2021, and the tax credits will be calculated based on 10 percent of wages paid to eligible workers, according to a contract obtained from WEDC. 

Between now and then, Specialty Cheese Company must maintain the net number of full-time jobs in the state above where it started when the contract began, or risk clawbacks. And the company is on the hook for creating 28 full-time jobs — about 80 percent of the expected new positions. 

A release from WEDC shows the company is expanding its Reeseville site to boost production capacity for its snack line and other products. A portion of the facility will be remodeled to make space for new manufacturing equipment. 

In the release, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald praises WEDC for bringing more “family-supporting jobs” to Reeseville, which falls under the area he represents. 

“It’s great to see the 13th Senate District benefiting directly as a part of our state’s strong economy,” the Juneau Republican said.  

Aside from the 36 expected jobs, WEDC cites an economic modeling study to estimate the project could create 119 additional jobs in the region. 

The release shows Specialty Cheese Company has tripled its employment in the last 25 years, and currently produces more than 35 types of cheese “representing dozens of ethnic traditions.” Milk for the company’s cheese comes from about 100 family farmers, according to WEDC. 

See the release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/wisconsin-economic-development-corporation-specialty-cheese-company-inc-expands-operations-in-reeseville/ 

— One Wisconsin-based employer, Arcadia-based Ashley Furniture, is sending workers out of the country to save money on medical procedures, a Kaiser Health News report shows. 

This is just one example of U.S. companies incentivizing their workers to travel to other countries for medical treatment, where procedures often cost much less than in the United States. 

In the case profiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a Wisconsin surgeon named Dr. Thomas Parisi along with a Mississippi native and total knee replacement patient Donna Ferguson flew to the resort city of Cancun, Mexico, for the procedure. 

According to the report, the employer cost for this procedure was less than half of what it would have been in the states. Because of that, workers who take this approach pay no deductibles or out-of-pocket copayments. Rather, they receive a $5,000 payment from the company, and their travel expenses are also covered. 

Ferguson gets her insurance through her husband, Terry, a longtime employee of Ashley, the report shows. The furniture company has 17,000 employees in many states, and Ferguson was its 10th insured person to go to Cancun for medical procedures. 

Marcus Gagnon, manager of global benefits and health at Ashley, says those workers who’ve traveled for treatment have had positive experiences. 

See more: http://khn.org/news/to-save-money-american-patients-and-surgeons-meet-in-cancun/ 

— The state Department of Health Services is expanding the scope of an ongoing investigation into cases of lung disease linked to e-cigarettes. 

DHS has confirmed 12 cases of severe lung disease, and has 13 more cases under investigation. The afflicted individuals all report vaping e-cigarette fluid containing nicotine, or marijuana oils and extracts, a release shows. 

Previously, the agency had only identified cases in teens and young adults. But now, DHS says officials have confirmed cases in “older age groups.”

“We are continuing to interview patients so we can identify a possible cause,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “All patients reported vaping prior to their hospitalization, but we don’t know all the products they used at this time. The products used could include a number of substances, including nicotine, THC, synthetic cannabinoids, or a combination of these.” 

Cases have been confirmed in Dodge, Door, Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha and Winnebago counties. Patients are experiencing shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pains, coughing and weight loss. 

The DHS shows the agency is conducting the investigation alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is coordinating efforts with other states as well. 

See the release: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/releases/080819a.htm 

— The state Department of Workforce Development’s worker’s compensation division has rolled out a new electronic warrant filing system, which the agency says will streamline the filing process and save money. 

According to a release, the system will help staff at DWD file warrants with state circuit courts when the worker’s comp division moves to recover benefits paid from the state’s Uninsured Employers Fund. 

“Warrant filing is a powerful administrative tool to hold employers accountable when they fail to carry worker’s compensation insurance as required by law and to ensure solvency of the Uninsured Employers Fund to pay benefits to injured workers,” said DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman. 

DWD estimates the worker’s comp system will save $55,000 each year through the new filing system. The system is funded through an annual administrative fee on insurance carriers and self-insured employers, the release shows. 

See the release: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/2019/190812_wc_process_improvements.htm 

— Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is now accepting nominations for the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest, being held for the fourth year in a row. 

Kurt Bauer, WMC’s president and CEO, says the contest helps highlight the state’s “vibrant and diverse manufacturing industry.” 

“As we approach Manufacturing Month in October, we hope this contest will bring attention to not only the cool things made in this state, but the outstanding career opportunities available in Wisconsin’s largest economic industry,” he said. 

WMC puts on this contest with Johnson Financial Group, spanning mid-August to early October. Several rounds of judging will be held over the coming months, whittling down the nominees through a bracket-style competition called Manufacturing Madness. 

Previous winners have included Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson, Oshkosh Corporation and Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe based in De Pere. 

See the release: http://www.wmc.org/news/press-releases/what-is-the-coolest-thing-made-in-wisconsin-3/ 

Nominate a product here: http://madeinwis.com/ 


# Dodge County cheesemaker plans $1.65M expansion, creating 36 jobs


# Private money needed in new $66 million plan to save Mitchell Park Domes

# Wisconsin farms spending less due to low prices, increased consolidation


# Testimony over in Promega shareholder suit




– Wisconsin farms spending less due to low prices, increased consolidation



– Competition looks stiff for Oconomowoc public-safety building

– ABC: Despite strong economy, tariffs, debt and weak job growth could lead to slowdown


– New study finds Asian carp could survive throughout Lake Michigan


– Storms, floods cause $1.2B in damage to public infrastructure


– Advocate Aurora seeks startups focused on female health, parenting innovation


– Advocate Aurora completes voluntary early-retirement program 


– UW study indicates brain bounces back after anesthesia



– United Conveyor to create 50 jobs in Pleasant Prairie


– Illinois-based United Conveyor Corp. plans Pleasant Prairie facility


– Jason Industries sells Janesville Fiber business for $85 million; considers sale of entire company


– WMC, Johnson Financial again seek ‘coolest thing’ made in Wisconsin


– Jason Industries could be for sale after fiber solutions divestiture


– Milwaukee Business Journal’s parent company buys majority stake of business-data provider



– Evers asks Trump to end trade wars to save farmers



– IT company opening downtown Milwaukee office at The 42 


– Mandel planning 315-unit multi-family development at Oconomowoc’s Pabst Farms

– Volkswagen plans expansion of Pleasant Prairie facility


– Madison Finance Committee to take up configuration of affordable units at Judge Doyle Square



– Pegasus Games owners looking for next generation of gamers


– More light, windows and room for training at Springs Window Fashions



– Yahoo co-founder, Samsung part of $11.5M round for cloud company with ties to Brookfield 


– From earthquakes to active shooters, Madison company Singlewire specializes in emergency notifications



– Ridership on The Hop tops 100,000 in July


– Evers: Transportation grants will be distributed fairly to urban, rural communities


– BNSF Railway, local first responders practice response to train derailment on Mississippi River



<i>See these and other press releases: 

http://wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82 </i>

UW-Madison: Mead Witter School of Music Hamel Music Center opening this fall

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation: Specialty Cheese Company Inc. expands operations in Reeseville

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