April 1, 2020

Briefcase – April 2020


Biodesix promotes two to executive team

BOULDER — Lung cancer diagnostics company Biodesix Inc. promoted two employees to its executive team early in the week of March 8. The Boulder company promoted Bobbi Coffin, formerly chief marketing officer, to chief growth officer, a position in charge of future strategy, while head of corporate development Kieran O’Kane was promoted to chief commercial officer.

O’Kane was in charge of Biodesix’s acquisition efforts for the past two years, including its most recent buyout of U.K.-based Oncimmune’s American assets.

In a prepared statement, CEO Scott Hutton said the promotions are meant to position the company closer with health-care partners.

Ziggi’s to open Wellington location

LONGMONT and WELLINGTON — Longmont-based Ziggi’s Coffee has signed a deal to open a shop in the town of Wellington, a community that claims to be the fourth fastest growing town in Colorado according to its website. The drive-through coffee company will be the first retail outlet in a six-acre new development in the community.

Known as the Boxelder Commons, the site is located off Interstate 25 at the Wellington exit, an area that sees approximately 25,000 vehicles per day. This will be the first drive-through coffee shop for the town of nearly 10,000 people.

Ziggi’s began as a single coffee shop on Main Street in downtown Longmont and has expanded to 21 company and franchise locations in Colorado, Arizona and Oklahoma.


Broomfield’s Aktivax wins $24.5M contract to develop nerve agent treatment

BROOMFIELD — The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Aktivax Inc. a $24.5 million contract over the next five years to develop an injectable treatment for soldiers exposed to chemical weapons. The injectable treatment would carry Scopolamine, a compound used in humans to treat motion sickness, but shown in animal studies to reduce the immediate symptoms of poisoning by sarin gas and other nerve agents.

The compound would require approval from federal drug regulators before it can be used as a treatment for soldiers in war zones.The deal is worth more than the company’s entire federal contract earnings since 2014. Contracting data shows Activax earned just over $20.42 million from federal contracts since 2014.

CU team awarded $2.5M grant for science education program

BOULDER — A team at the University of Colorado led by Tamara Sumner, CU’s director of the Institute of Cognitive Science and a professor in computer and cognitive science, was recently awarded a nearly $2.5 million grant to develop programming that supports science education.

The grant, to be paid over five years by the James S. McDonnell Foundation, will help the CU team build a “a model of teacher learning to support computationally rich communication in science classrooms,” according to a foundation news release. CU is one of five universities to receive a total of $15 million in grant funding for science education.

Hex Performance completes $5M funding round

BOULDER — Hex Performance LLC, a line of eco-friendly cleaning products for activewear fabrics that established a headquarters in Boulder last year, announced March 16 the completion of a $5 million funding round. The round was led by Lykos Capital Partners, which, according to a news release, is described as  “a women-owned growth equity firm that partners with remarkable consumer product brands.” The funding is expected to help the firm “fuel the innovation pipeline [and] add talented team members,” the release said.


Charlotte’s Web acquires hemp brand Abacus Health

BOULDER — Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. (OTC:CWBHF), a local CBD product manufacturer, announced March 23 the acquisition of Canadian hemp topicals maker Abacus Health Products Inc (CSE:ABCS).The total value of the deal is more than $68 million. Combined, the two firms accounted for $29.1 million in sales during the third quarter of 2019. The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2020.

Nanotech firm seeks tax incentives for HQ expansion

LOUISVILLE — Forge Nano Inc., a local atomic layer deposition firm, is applying for a series of economic development tax incentives from Louisville that the company hopes to use to expand its headquarters and keep operations in the city. Louisville’s City Council is set to consider the incentive package — which includes tax and fee rebates that total roughly $185,000. Forge Nano, which employs 43 people, currently operates out of a roughly 11,000-square-foot space at 1172 W. Century Drive. The firm would like to expand into an adjacent suite and ultimately occupy about 30,000 square feet, according to a Louisville planning memo. Building expansion and equipment purchases would reportedly result in capital investments of more than $14 million over the next five years. The company plans to complete the expansion by June, according to planning documents.

Fort Collins church advances expansion plan

FORT COLLINS — A church in Fort Collins has moved within a final vote of launching an $8.2 million expansion with the help of a state clean-energy financing program. With just two dissenting votes, the congregation at Foothills Unitarian Church, 1815 Yorktown Ave., on March 2 authorized Golden-based Ewers Architecture PC to complete design of the project’s first phase, and also authorized the church’s board of trustees to acquire $1.2 million of the cost through the Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program. Financing comes from providers of private capital at competitive rates with repayment terms up to 25 years. A final vote to break ground will be held at the church’s annual meeting on May 31.

Loveland council approves incentive deal for outdoor retailer Jax

LOVELAND — The Loveland City Council approved an incentive package March 23 for Jax Inc. that will permit the outdoor recreation and farm/ranch retailer to move to the west side of Loveland and expand operations, if it can negotiate a deal to buy the Kmart site at 2665 W. Eisenhower Blvd. The deal will provide Jax a sales tax rebate of up to $1.5 million paid over 10 years out of incremental increases in sales tax collections. The city will not advance any money into the deal; Jax receives the rebate only if its sales perform at a level greater than $5 million per year. The Jax plan would include renovating the existing Kmart building, creating retail pad sites that would be marketed to other companies, and attempting to capitalize on the millions of visitors who pass by the site on their way up the Big Thompson Canyon and Rocky Mountain National Park.


Ball to buy Brazilian aluminum plant

BROOMFIELD — Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL), a Broomfield-based can manufacturer with a large aerospace division, March 12 announced plans to buy the Tubex Industria E Comercio de Embalagens Ltda., an aerosol-packaging operation near Sao Paulo, Brazil, for about $80 million. The facility employs about 300 people. The acquisition comes about a year and a half after Ball closed a beverage packaging plant in Cuiabá, Brazil.

Connecticut tech company acquires Captricity

BOULDER — Multinational financial technology company SS&C Technologies Holdings Inc. has acquired Captricity Inc., a California-based tech company with operations in Boulder, for an undisclosed amount.Captricity, which does business as Vidado, provides cloud-based artificial-intelligence technology and optical character recognition, which digitizes print documents.

With the acquisition, SS&C, based in Windsor, Connecticut, assumes 30 full-time Captricity employees in Oakland, California; New York; and Boulder. There are three employees operating in Boulder, including Nowell Outlaw, Visado CEO.

Woodward, Hexcel’s merger takes off

FORT COLLINS — The $6.3 billion merger of equals between Woodward Inc. (Nasdaq: WWD) and Hexcel Corp. (NYSE: HXL) is still on track, but it could end up operating in an aerospace industry grounded by the global spread of the novel coronavirus.

Weeks after the two companies won clearance to merge from U.S. regulators, Woodward and Hexcel’s merger is still on track to close by the end of the third quarter this year. But while the turmoil in the larger world economy doesn’t appear likely to cause either side to abandon the tie-up, a combined Woodward-Hexcel could be seeing a dramatically different aerospace market when it debuts.

Engineering firm acquires Longmont’s Deere & Ault

LONGMONT and GLEN ALLEN, Virginia —Schnabel Engineering Inc., a Virginia-based company, has purchased Deere & Ault Consultants Inc., a Longmont and Boise, Idaho, located company that specializes in water resources, civil and geotechnical engineering. The purchase expands Schnabel’s national exposure and increases the company’s capabilities. The Longmont location will retain its Deere & Ault name but add “a Schnabel Engineering company” to it.

FoCo investment planning company expands

FORT COLLINS — Financial Planning of Fort Collins has acquired the fee-only financial planning firm Well Rounded Success, also based in Fort Collins.

As part of the deal, Dan Andrews will join Financial Planning as vice president. Andrews and the Financial Planning team will continue to serve the current client base as well as expand offerings to new clients.

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