WARF Startups

WARF currently is working with approximately 60 active startups whose business markets include biotech, clean technology, high-tech, medical devices, research tools, stem cells and therapeutics. WARF currently holds equity in more than 30 of these companies. Some of WARF's startup companies have achieved IPO status as publicly traded companies and have been acquired by large, well-established companies, such as Roche and Hologic.

Successful Exits


Imago was acquired by Ametek Inc. in 2010. Imago Scientific Instruments Corporation was founded by Tom Kelly, professor of materials science and engineering and director of the Materials Science Center in 1998. Since then Imago has become the world leader in 3-D structure and composition analysis at the nanoscale by developing the award-winning Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP™) microscope. It currently has 40 employees in Madison, Wis., a world-wide customer base with over 25 instruments around the world and global technology affiliations.

LifeGen Technologies LLC

LifeGen was acquired by Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. in 2011. LifeGen utilizes DNA microarrays to identify changes in gene expression that are associated with the aging process and how these changes are opposed by caloric restriction (CR). The same process is being used by LifeGen scientists to screen for compounds that have the ability to mimic the transcriptional activity of CR. This research permits LifeGen to partner with companies to develop pharmaceutical and nutraceutical compounds to retard aging. LifeGen also has constructed an extensive, proprietary gene expression database on aging, which provides vital information to life sciences companies.

Mirus Bio Corp.

Mirus Bio was acquired by Roche in 2008. Mirus Bio is a life science company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing innovative nucleic acid based technologies and products. Mirus R&D uniquely integrates nucleic acid delivery and chemistry, a core competency which is unmatched in the industry. This serves as the foundation for its novel research reagents.

Nemean Networks

[Qualys Announces Acquisition of Nemean Networks]

Nemean Networks was acquired by Qualys® Inc. in 2010. Nemean was started in 2007 based on patented technology developed by Paul Barford of UW–Madison and managed by WARF. Nemean is developing the next generation of computer network intrusion detection systems. Its products identify network intrusions in near-real time, with great accuracy and very few false alarms.

NimbleGen Inc.

NimbleGen was acquired by Roche in June 2007. Roche NimbleGen Inc. is a leading innovator, manufacturer and supplier of a proprietary suite of DNA microarrays, consumables, instruments and service.

Third Wave Technologies

Third Wave was acquired by Hologic in June 2008. Hologic holds the number one position in nine technology areas serving women's health, including breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, cervical cancer screening, prenatal testing and osteoporosis detection. Hologic believes that the health issues facing women today deserve and demand the singular dedication of a passionate company.


TomoTherapy Inc. had an initial public offering in April 2007 and was acquired by Accuray in 2011. TomoTherapy has developed the Hi-Art treatment system, which combines CT imaging and two flexible radiation delivery modes, TomoHelical and TomoDirect, for highly-precise cancer treatments that help limit radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. The Hi-Art treatment system is the only device developed from the ground up for image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, and allows a consistent planning and treatment process to be applied to a wide range of cancer cases, with confidence in the results. The technology is used to serve cancer patients on more than 225 systems installed around the world.

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