FRI AM News: Coronavirus vaccine in the works, UW-Madison experts say; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Jalal Sulaiman, CEO and founder of Promiss Diagnostics

— Disease specialists at UW-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine expect the scientific community will produce a vaccine for the novel coronavirus in less than two months. 

“According to our [National Institutes of Health] colleagues, there’s hope that such a vaccine would be ready for human trials by April 1 of this year,” said Thomas Friedrich, a researcher in the Department of Pathobiological Science. 

Friedrich and other experts detailed the current stage of vaccine development for the virus last week during a panel discussion hosted by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. Their presentation came days before the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Wisconsin by state health officials. 

The World Health Organization has categorized the ongoing coronavirus outbreak as a global health emergency with more than 500 associated deaths and nearly 30,000 cases in China alone. 

Scientists around the globe are working to develop methods of fighting the virus, and several panelists acknowledged the work of Chinese researchers who have sequenced the virus’s entire genome. 

According to Kristen Bernard, a professor of virology at UW-Madison, Chinese scientists have determined the new virus interacts with host cells in much the same way that the SARS coronavirus of 2003 did. 

“This also plays into where the virus can replicate in the human body, as well as which hosts, which animal hosts it can replicate in,” she said. “That’s very important information to have obtained.” 

Meanwhile, researchers at UW-Madison are working on antiviral drug treatments for the virus. 

See more: 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” features Jalal Sulaiman, CEO and founder of Promiss Diagnostics. 

This Milwaukee-area startup is developing a diagnostic test for early ovarian cancer detection. After launching in late 2017, the business recently closed on a $400,000 investment round with participation from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and Northwestern Mutual’s Cream City Venture Capital. 

The company’s blood test can differentiate between malignant and benign ovarian masses, according to a release. The test’s name stands for Predicting Risk of Ovarian Malignancy In Serum Samples. 

Sulaiman explained most patients with ovarian cancer aren’t aware they have the disease until they experience abdominal pain, which indicates the disease has progressed to more serious stages. 

“Currently, ovarian cancer is diagnosed in late stages … where the survival rate is very low,” he said, noting the five-year survival rate for Stage 4 diagnosis is around 17 percent. “However, if the patient is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Stage 1, the survival rate is 92 percent.” 

The company’s diagnostic tool incorporates patient data with a machine learning algorithm to diagnose ovarian cancer. Sulaiman envisions the relatively inexpensive test being widely used to diagnose this disease, including in rural areas where ovarian cancer survival rates are lowest. 

He also touches on participating investors in the company’s recently closed round and how funds will be used to augment the development process for the diagnostic test. 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See a full list of podcasts, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— WiSys has launched a new initiative aimed at creating startup hubs across the state in partnership with UW System campuses. 

This nonprofit group handles technology transfer and licensing for UW System schools aside from UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee. Its new VentureHome program will connect entrepreneurs with resources at the state and local level, including experts on intellectual property, funding and other areas of importance for startups. 

According to a release announcing the new initiative, the startup hubs will have a goal of increasing the diversity of early-stage companies being launched in the state, as well as boosting the overall number of startups. 

“While communities across the state have energetic initiatives for budding entrepreneurs, the local ecosystems often have some unmet needs,” said WiSys President Arjun Sanga. “We work with our local partners to identify these needs and tap into WiSys resources and connections to fill the gaps.” 

The first WiSys startup hub will be launched at UW-Eau Claire with participation from CoLab, a local coworking space. A launch party is scheduled for Feb. 19. 

See more on the Eau Claire launch party: 

See the release: 

— The Legislature’s top Republicans immediately dismissed Gov. Tony Evers’ call to pump $251.9 million of an expected surplus into education, saying they’re still focused on using the money to cut taxes.

The competing calls set up a standoff on what to do with the projected surplus with the legislative session quickly winding down and proposals already on the table to boost funding for farmers and rural Wisconsin, address water quality, and fund initiatives to fight homelessness.

Evers’ plan would take roughly half of the expected surplus to pump $130 million more into equalization aid, $110 million into special education and school-based mental health services, and $10 million to sparsity aid.

See more at 

— The upcoming 2020 Madison Startup Fair will give UW-Madison students and members of the general public a chance to learn more about the local startup scene and network with like-minded individuals. 

The event will take place from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery in Madison, organizers announced recently.

According to the hosts, Capital Entrepreneurs and The Hub, the event is part career fair and part startup showcase. Attendees also can find a mentor or learn about available internships and full-time positions.

Also, startups may reserve an exhibitor table for free through Feb. 14.

See event details: 

See more at Madison Startups: 


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– January Class III milk price falls to $17.05

– Breunig elected chair of Dairy Innovation Hub Council


– Chicago developer building pair of daycare centers in Waukesha County

– East Town lacking development momentum of Westown, downtown property owner says

– On the level: Bruns seeks to regain Boldt’s market in northern Wisconsin

– Budget estimate for two UW-Madison projects up $33M


– $1 million gift will help 40 Boys & Girls Club students through college

– UW Regents Committee approves increased tuition for graduate students

– Evers calls for $250M increase in public school spending

– Agronomy Day slated for February 20 in Random Lake


– Lawmakers advance tax breaks for UW Hospital projects


– Cassandra Erato named CEO of Spaulding Clinical Research

– Wilson Center announces new dual leadership team


– Generac names a chief operating officer for the first time


– DNC security zone: Downtown will still be open

– Republicans ready bill allowing late bar-closing during DNC that includes other alcohol regulations


– Townhouses proposed for American Legion site in Shorewood


– Summerfest Tech to return in 2020 with expanded programming


– Milwaukee Art Museum updates O’Donnell Park structure, but more work needed


– Sen. Jon Erpenbach: It’s time to stand up for Wisconsin’s agricultural communities


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

UW-Milwaukee & New video podcast launching from Lubar Entrepreneurship Center

Beyond Reality Plumbing: Strong partnership expedites expansion loan for beyond reality plumbing

Lockheed Martin Corp.: Tenth Wisconsin-built Littoral Combat Ship delivered to U.S. Navy