Category: Morning Edition

Door to Door Organics leads charge among area venture-capital deals in 2Q

Nine of the 19 venture-capital deals in Colorado during the second quarter were struck by companies in the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado, led by Louisville-based online grocer Door to Door Organics Inc., according to the quarterly MoneyTree Report released Friday.

Door to Door Organics and its new partner, Charlottesville, Va.-based Relay Foods, garnered $10 million in equity financing provided by the Arlon Group and existing Relay stockholders.

The two online sellers of organic groceries announced in June a merger in which they plan to operate under a new brand to be disclosed later this year.

The 19 deals in the state during the second quarter amounted to $78.5 million, compared with $44.6 million in 15 deals during the first quarter of the year.

Nationally, venture capitalists invested $15.3 billion in 961 deals in the second quarter. Compared with Q2 2015, dollars and deals are down 12 and 22 percent, respectively.

Other companies in the region that received venture capital during the quarter included:

Minute Key Inc., Boulder, $2.5 million from Matrix Partners and Serent Capital. Minute Key makes automated key duplication kiosks.

Rapt Media Inc., Boulder, $2.5 million from Boulder Ventures Ltd., Golden Seeds LLC and an undisclosed firm. Rapt Media provides a cloud-based interactive video creation and editing platform.

Woot Math LLC, Boulder, $1.3 million from and undisclosed firm. Woot Math offers mathematics instruction tools.

Kapteyn-Murnane Laboratories Inc., Boulder, $1.2 million from an undisclosed firm. K-M Labs is a manufacturer of laser systems.

Prieto Battery Inc., Fort Collins, $1,040,000 from Stanley Ventures. Prieto Battery is developing 3-D lithium battery technology.

Soundwall Inc., Broomfield, $1 million from an undisclosed firm. Soundwall makes a canvas that is a speaker and is connected to the Internet, enabling it to play music from a mobile device or play back the artist’s voice describing the painting.

Shinesty Inc., Boulder, $915,000 from Azure Capital Partners LP and an undisclosed firm. Shinesty is an online clothing retailer.

BiOptix Diagnostics Inc., Boulder, $800,000 from an undisclosed firm. BiOptix develops tools for the life-sciences industry.

The MoneyTree Report is compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association based on data provided by Thomson Reuters.

Editor’s note: This story was revised shortly after being published changing the number of venture-capital deals in Colorado during the second quarter from 20 to 19. Thomson Reuters had listed an investment for Cherwell Software in Colorado Springs worth $8.2 million, but that deal was removed because it was a filing for employee stock options and does not count as VC funding.

Troubled Louisville biopharma GlobeImmune to delist its stock from Nasdaq exchange

LOUISVILLE — Having failed in a yearlong quest to find a buyer or other “strategic transaction” for the company, officials for GlobeImmune Inc. disclosed in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that they plan to delist the firm’s common stock from the Nasdaq Capital Market exchange.

The move continues the downward spiral for the Louisville biopharmaceutical company, which suffered a crippling blow last year when clinical trial results for its hepatitis B drug candidate revealed that the drug did not show a reduction of the disease at the end of a 24-week study.

Down to 2.5 full-time employees, GlobeImmune (Nasdaq: GBIM) in May of this year received a delisting warning from Nasdaq for falling out of compliance with a rule requiring minimum stockholders equity of $2.5 million, as well as alternative benchmarks for market cap and net income from continuing operations. At that time, GlobeImmune had a 45-day grace period to submit a plan for regaining compliance but has instead opted to voluntarily delist.

GlobeImmune’s share price plunged 36 percent Wednesday on the news of the delisting plans. Shares were trading at $1.15 apiece by late afternoon.

The company will making a formal filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on July 15 officially notifying the regulatory body of its plans to delist and deregister its common stock. GlobeImmune expects the filing to become effective July 25, at which time the company will request the suspension of its financial reporting obligations as well.

Following the effectiveness of the delisting, GlobeImmune officials expect the company’s stock to begin trading on the OTC Market’s Pink market tier under the company’s current ticker symbol of GBIM.

“The Board made the decision to allow the Common Stock to be delisted from NASDAQ and to seek deregistration under the Exchange Act following the Company’s review and careful consideration of several factors including the inability to find a suitable strategic transaction despite a comprehensive year-long process, the ongoing listing, legal, administrative and additional accounting costs associated with being a publicly listed company, the non-compliance letter received from NASDAQ for the continued listing requirements, the inordinate amount of executive time and Company resources consumed in regulatory compliance obligations and the lack of investor interest as shown in the low daily trading volumes of the Common Stock on NASDAQ,” company officials wrote in the Form 8-K filed Tuesday. “The Board determined that delisting and deregistration are in the overall best interests of the Company and its stockholders.”

In the company’s first-quarter earnings report in May, GlobeImmune officials disclosed that they could be forced to shut down the company if a strategic alternative, such as a buyer, is not found “in the near future.” They added that the company has enough cash to operate as a going concern through the middle of next year, but that a decision to wind down the company would burn through its cash more quickly.

GlobeImmune laid off all but six of its 22 employees last summer following the negative trial results. As of the company’s most recent quarterly report, only vice president Jeffrey Dekker and a scientist remained onboard full-time, while chief executive Timothy Rodell is a half-time employee at this point.

GlobeImmune is focused on developing products for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. The company has three ongoing clinical trials being conducted by Gilead Sciences Inc. and Celgene Corp.

GlobeImmune was founded in 1995 as a spinoff of University of Colorado technology. The company raised a Series A funding round in 2003 and pulled in a total of $119 million in private equity before going public in 2014 with a $17.25 million initial public offering.

Longmont-based UQM Technologies to sell controlling stake to Hong Kong group

LONGMONT — Electric-motor maker UQM Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UQM) announced on Tuesday that it has struck a deal to sell a controlling stake in the company to a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Hybrid Kinetic Group Limited for $48 million in cash.

The deal will help Longmont-based UQM, which will continue to operate as a standalone company, continue to gain a foothold in China, where it expects much of its future business to come from. Last fall, the company announced a 10-year supply contract with Chinese firm ITL Efficiency Corp. that could provide $400 million in revenue for UQM over the life of the deal.

In a regulatory filing made Tuesday, UQM officials said the company’s headquarters will remain in Longmont for at least three years following the close of the transaction, as will primary research and development efforts. But UQM chief financial officer David Rosenthal said in an interview Wednesday that company officials anticipate maintaining the local headquarters, R&D and manufacturing for the Americas and other parts of the world besides China well into the future, adding that he expects the new deal with HKG to be a job creator locally.

UQM employs 50 people, all at its 130,000-square-foot facility at 4120 Specialty Place, which is technically in an unincorporated portion of Weld County.

While some of the new cash infusion will be used to build a 30,000 to 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in China by 2018, the money will also be used to expand UQM’s global presence in other parts of the world.

“We expect that we’re going to be adding more manufacturing and engineering talent here in Colorado,” Rosenthal said.

UQM current management will remain in place at least through their existing employment contracts that terminate on June 30, 2017. UQM’s board, meanwhile, will expand to nine directors, including five nominated by the buyer, UQM’s CEO and three of UQM’s four current independent directors.

The deal, expected to close within four to six months, is subject to approval of both companies’ boards, as well as various regulatory approvals, including by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United Sates for the controlling investment by a foreign-controlled entity. Two-thirds of UQM common stockholders must also approve the deal.

Under terms of the deal, HKG subsidiary American Compass Inc., will buy 66.5 million newly issued shares of UQM common stock for 72 cents per share, a 6.4 percent premium over the average trading price for the 90 days ending Monday. That will amount to 58 percent of UQM’s common stock, or about 54 percent on a fully diluted basis.

UQM shareholders will continue to hold their shares in the company, and UQM stock will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

In early trading Wednesday morning, UQM shares shot up as high as 83 cents per share, from Tuesday’s close of 62 cents. But they’d lost all of those gains by late in the trading day.

UQM’s product is a multi-faceted electric propulsion system — targeted mostly at light-duty trucks, vans and heavy-duty transit buses — that includes motors, inverters and software. The company reported revenue of $5.3 million and a net loss of $6.9 million for its fiscal year that ended March 31.

While a majority of UQM’s business today comes from the United States, Rosenthal noted that China is the world’s largest market for electric vehicles. He said the company has known for years that to be successful it would have to have a presence in China, and also that it would be difficult to do that without help.

Rosenthal said UQM officials have been seeking some sort of strategic partner for a couple of years, eyeing three main criteria for a partner, those being: capital, the infrastructure to help build a manufacturing plant in China, and connections in China to help UQM gain access to a customer base there.

“It has been a very long and thoughtful process,” Rosenthal said.

While the overarching focus of seeking such a deal was to gain a foothold in China, UQM had also made a commitment to ITL to start manufacturing in China by 2018.

“This gives us a path to do that,” Rosenthal said.

He said the first place proceeds from the sale will be deployed is in building and equipping the China plant, which will take roughly $10 million. He said money will also go toward expanding R&D efforts on new-product development and on expanding marketing activities in new places around the world.

He said the company has plenty of room to grow at its Longmont facility.

Founded in 1967 as Unique Mobility Inc., the company is a veteran of the EV industry that has been through several iterations of itself.

The company had grown to about 100 employees in 2013 when it took a major hit from the bankruptcy of California-based electric-car manufacturer CODA Auto. UQM had contracted to build thousands of propulsion systems for CODA’s passenger cars, ramping up and spending heavily on inventory. CODA’s collapse subsequently has led to tough times for UQM in recent years as the company has tried to recover.

Bour leaving Innovation Center of the Rockies

BOULDER — Tim Bour is leaving his job as executive director of the Innovation Center of the Rockies, a nonprofit entrepreneurial support organization in Boulder, to become a director for 4iNNO LLC in Cincinnati where he will help science and technology companies grow.

Bour will start his new job July 5.

Tim Bour

Tim Bour

“I thought this was a good opportunity,” Bour said. “I’ll be working in a consulting role, combining some of the things I did at the Innovation Center with 4iNNO’s concepts of open innovation and lean startup methodology.”

4iNNO works with Fortune 100 companies and helps clients bring in new ideas from the outside to boost their revenue. 4iNNO also has offices in New York City, San Francisco, Princeton, N.J., and London.

Bour had been with the Innovation Center of the Rockies since September 2007. Early on during his tenure at the center, Bour focused on the commercialization of university inventions. Starting as a commercialization partner of the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office in September 2007, he developed similar relationships with the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, the University of Denver and most recently the University of Wyoming. The Innovation Center under Bour’s leadership later developed programs for early stage companies in a variety of industries such as natural and organic, software, renewable and sustainable energy, bioscience, nanotechnology and aerospace.

Bob Gill, chairman of the Innovation Center’s board of directors, said an interim director will be chosen from the existing staff, and the board will begin a national search for Bour’s replacement.

concept3D adding new dimensions to design

Concept3DBOULDER — Sometimes a great business plan is to follow the smartest people you know in the industry, and in the tech industry who’s smarter than Google?

While Oliver Davis’ business plan has progressed substantially, including a major product launch on June 16, that was pretty much what he was thinking when he founded concept3D.

That business plan began in 2006 when Google acquired Boulder’s wildly successful SketchUp, a three-dimensional modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architecture, interior design, civil and mechanical engineering, film and video-game design. Google Earth was just getting off the ground and Davis figured on partnering with the tech giant to create 3-D worlds.

“It was evident that there were no companies doing that,” said Davis, the company’s chief executive. “Our roots are really in SketchUp, and we built Google Earth models. From there we did a lot of work on the Beijing Olympics (in 2008) and a lot of work for South African and European stadiums.”

A services company during its infancy, concept3D still had plenty of steady work early on with offices in Boulder and in Eden Prairie, Minn. Zack Mertz, who was the lead trainer for SketchUp prior to the Google acquisition, was the company’s first hire and runs the Minnesota office as vice president for design and production.

A sample rendering of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., demonstrates the full depth of the atlas3D platform.

A sample rendering of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., demonstrates the full depth of the atlas3D platform.

“Then Disney came along and we started creating campus models,” Davis said. “We were contacted by Boston University (for a campuswide model). We had done some research in ways to make maps and 3D information more accessible, and that was the beginning of our CampusBird software.”

CampusBird, the company’s first product line, provides interactive maps and virtual tours to enrich online visitor experience — and presumably to enhance school enrollment. The company has sold the software to more than 250 universities, colleges and independent schools, but most of the 3-D imagery and mapping, which grew to include facility management services, was created by concept3D staff — meaning there was still quite a lot of reliance on the professional-services business model.

But a number of potential clients also were looking at the CampusBird model and wondering why concept3D wasn’t servicing their industries. One of those was the convention business, which has been using interactive mobile apps with maps to serve its guests, but really needed a more top-to-bottom software solution.

That solution, from Davis’ perspective, is the recently released atlas3D, which he said serves all elements of convention marketing and sales, as well as the exhibitors and guests. “Frankly, there are a lot of applications that work well enough for the guests,” he said.

For one thing, atlas3D addresses interior spaces much in the same way that CampusBird does outdoor spaces and visitation. That allows space planning by the owner or manager of the facility, as well as the host of the convention; marketing and sales by the convention planner, including online sales of specific convention areas; and planning and pricing for participants in the convention.

To top it off, atlas3D largely functions like a content-management website, allowing managers to add content and events, and rapidly change additional locations for specific conventions.

“The sky’s the limit on how much content and how many locations a planner can add,” Davis said. “They can choose what is shared publically or privately, and up to 60 people can be using the application” with specific access to areas they can change.

While conventions are a good example of how robust the atlas3D software can be, Davis said a number of other users have embraced the system in the year before its official release. One is a vacation area in Martha’s Vineyard, and a number of retirement communities already are on board, as well.

“We built atlas3D to provide a competitive edge for any location or facility looking to engage visitors online and promote their space,” said Davis in a prepared statement.

“There is no better way to give visitors, guests and customers an experience that allows them to explore and request more information or make a decision on the spot,” he said. “The atlas3D platform provides a set of tools our clients now depend on, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

While moving from a service provider to software product sales sometimes can be financially daunting, Davis said both the CampusBird and atlas3D business sectors will be positive revenue producers this year. The company doesn’t reveal its overall revenue stream, but Davis said revenue has doubled every year for a company looking forward to its 10th anniversary in August.

The company also has high hopes for its simuwatt Energy Auditor software, a cloud-based, tablet and desktop software solution that provides commercial building energy audits while preserving the data to facilitate reporting, portfolio-wide tracking and reuse. While this is the one section of the business that is not producing positive revenues, concept3D has been working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to provide a commercial product in the simuwatt Energy Auditor.

The business perspective and client list, certainly have rapidly expanded from what might have been more simple aspirations 10 years ago, Davis said.

“We still do work with Google, started out as a Google partner and were featured at Google IO a few years ago,’ he said. “We have a continued relationship with Google, but at the same time we see the need to be map agnostic.”

Help tech-savvy drivers get a charge out of you

didn’t mean to do it. All I meant to do was meet up with a business contact for coffee at the east-end Laughing Goat. They happen to share a space with Green Eyed Motors, a car dealership specializing in low- or no-emission used vehicles. Then I saw it, in all her glacier-white glory: The 2012 Nissan Leaf. An hour later, I found myself filling out paperwork to make her mine.

It made too much sense. At a cost of $10,000, with $1,500 in tax rebates, it will end up costing my business $8,500 plus tax to have a company vehicle for around-town trips. You can easily spend more on a fancy mountain bike. In addition, we are showing a continued commitment to the environment everywhere we go.

The day after picking up the car, my excitement got the best of me and I decided to use it to visit a client in Aurora, a 70-mile round trip. The battery meter said that I have a range of 85 miles on the current charge. No problem.

Before even leaving the city limits of Boulder, my once-mighty 85-mile range estimate had dwindled to 60. Worry began to set in. With a gas vehicle, filling up takes minutes. With an EV, you’re looking at hours to get to full. Upon my arrival at my destination, I began my research to determine how I was going to make it back to Boulder after my appointment. After downloading the PlugShare app on my smartphone — an amazing app, by the way — it became clear to me that the EV charging infrastructure had matured more than I had expected.

All around me was a sea of free charging stations ready to serve me. The app allows the ability to rate each station. Some stations are frequently out of order, while others are solid choices. The rating system goes from one to 10. Some stations can charge a vehicle in 20 minutes, such as the ones at Nissan dealerships. Other charging stations can get you to 100 percent in a few hours.

On this day, due to my tight schedule, I opted for the Nissan dealership’s fast-charging station. After being offered a bottle of water, a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and free wifi, I began to realize that everything will be fine. The need to recharge the car’s batteries gave me a chance to recharge my own batteries. There is a deep lesson there.

The next day, I had to get myself down to Denver again. This time, I prepared the night before by locating the charging stations that were in close proximity to my appointment in Denver. A Whole Foods a few blocks away had two charging stations that would easily charge my car while I visited this client.

Why would Whole Foods decide to give me free electricity? This is like Safeway filling up your car with gas while you shop. It made no sense to me. As it turns out, it only costs 10 to 15 cents per hour to charge an electric car. Considering that I have a hard time leaving Whole Foods without spending at least $50, they might be onto something here. After my appointment, it was no surprise where I bought lunch.

This made me realize that as more EVs join the fleet of customer vehicles, offering free charging is going to bring in those customers. EV owners are younger and wealthier than hybrid-vehicle owners, on average. If you are looking to attract more tech-savvy, affluent customers, give them free electricity.

The cost to purchase and install an EV charging station is about $2,000, depending on how hard it is to get a 220-volt breaker installed at your location. In addition, the county has some rebate programs to trim the cost. It’s a small price to pay to not only walk the sustainability talk but to feed your business bottom line.

Boulder’s tech scene will only keep growing as the Googles of the world eye its beauty. Let’s welcome them to our area (and businesses) with a world-class EV charging infrastructure.

Shaun Oshman is founder and chief executive of iSupportU in Boulder. He can be reached at 303-630-9974 or shaun@isupportu.biz.

BizWest 500 highlights largest, fastest-growing companies

Purchase this new publication by clicking BizWest 500. For a preview of the content, here’s the first page.

Welcome to the BizWest 500, an ambitious undertaking that highlights the largest or fastest-growing companies throughout the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado (and the highest-paid executives).

This special edition of BizWest aggregates content that previously had been published over a span of many months, but it also represents a dramatic increase in the data that we publish on the region’s largest private- and public-sector employers.

In these pages, you’ll find:

• The Mercury 100 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the Boulder Valley, along with five profiles of interesting companies on the list.

• The Mercury 100 list of the fastest-growing private companies in Northern Colorado, along with five profiles of interesting companies on the list.

• A list of the Top 25 highest-paid executives of public companies.

• A list of the 50 largest public-sector employers, including municipalities, counties, universities, federal laboratories, etc.

• A vastly expanded list of the region’s largest employers — 200 companies listed, compared with 50 published last year.

• A list of the largest publicly traded companies based in our region. (We’ve stretched this a bit, opting to include a handful of companies that have shifted their headquarters to the Denver area or other nearby cities, but which retain a significant presence in our region.)

All told, these lists represent the largest number of ranked lists we’ve ever published in one issue, outside of our annual Book of Lists publication.

Most companies cited in these lists responded to our surveys. Others are included based on BizWest estimates, reports by economic-development agencies, news accounts or other sources. Data for the public companies and highest-paid executives lists came entirely from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

This endeavor represents many months of work by our staff, especially our chief researcher, Chad Collins. As with any undertaking of this magnitude, errors and omissions are likely. In particular, our lists of the largest private-sector and public-sector employers will continue to be refined and expanded. If you’d like to see your company included — or if you spot a mistake or other omission — please contact Chad at ccollins@bizwestmedia.com.

It should be noted that we’ve opted to include aggregated numbers for some employers, such as major health systems, as well as numbers for some of their constituent institutions, i.e., a hospital within the system.

If you have a suggestion for the BizWest 500 next year, please feel free to contact me at the number below.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-630-1942, 970-232-3133 or cwood@bizwestmedia.com.

Prieto Battery receives investment from Stanley Black & Decker

FORT COLLINS — Colorado State University spinoff Prieto Battery on Thursday announced that it has received an equity investment from Stanley Ventures, the venture capital arm of tool manufacturer Stanley Black & Decker.

The size of the investment wasn’t disclosed but it comes on the heels of Prieto notching an investment from Intel last fall that Prieto officials told BizWest would be part of an ongoing Series B-1 funding round. A document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month shows that Prieto has so far pulled in $1,159,904 in the round, though Prieto lists the full amount of the offering at $3,590,607.

Prieto has been developing a pair of products. The first is a drop-in anode replacement for lithium-ion batteries that features greater energy density and safety than conventional graphite anodes. But the company’s larger play is Prieto’s own 3D lithium-ion solid-state battery cell.

A Stanley Ventures official said in a press release that the firm’s investment is aimed at bringing Prieto’s technology to market through the tool giant’s products.

11 startups culminate Techstars experience; 3 Colorado VC firms announce B Corp status

BOULDER – A software platform for preserving the sanity of mortgage loan officers. An app for making learning a new language a snap. A platform for helping insurance companies leverage drones so their building inspectors don’t have to ever climb precariously onto a steep roof again.

Those were a few of the ideas startup founders pitched Wednesday night at the Boulder Theater as part of Techstars’ 10th demo night for its Boulder accelerator program.

“Tonight we’re putting the banks on notice because we’re creating money without borders,” proclaimed Will Madden, founder and CEO of Bridge 21, a company that enables individuals and businesses to instantly transfer money across borders by leveraging digital currency like Bitcoin.

Boulder-based Techstars’ 10th Boulder demo night brought to 110 the number of startups that have graduated from the local program. Techstars provides companies with $20,000 and 13 weeks of intense mentorship in exchange for a 6 percent equity stake. Participating startups are also offered an optional $100,000 convertible note upon acceptance to the program. Graduates of Techstars Boulder, including companies like robotic toymaker Sphero and email delivery services firm SendGrid, have raised more than $450 million in funding. And Techstars has grown to now operate 21 such programs around the world.

“Never could have imagined the incredible support we’ve had in Boulder and around the world,” said David Brown, who cofounded Techstars in 2007 with Brad Feld, David Cohen and Congressman Jared Polis.

In addition to the startup pitches, venture capitalist Seth Levine of Foundry Group hopped on stage to announce that Boulder-based Foundry Group and Greenmont Capital Partners and Denver-based Colorado Impact Fund have become the first three venture capital firms to become certified B Corps, a designation signifying companies’ commitment to not just profit but also people and the environment in the ways they do business.

The VC firms joined 75 other certified B Corps in the state of Colorado and more than 1,700 companies that have earned the status around the world.

“So hopefully this action will inspire other venture firms to become B Corps,” Levine said. “Boulder is a leader in the B Corp movement and we’d like to sing from the hills about that.”

The 11 startups that graduated the Techstars program Wednesday night included:

AncestorCloud, Provo, Utah: Enables people to discover their family history through a network of expert genealogy researchers in more than 120 countries.

Bridge21, Denver: Enables individuals and businesses to instantly and more cheaply transfer money across foreign borders and into other currencies by leveraging digital currency like Bitcoin.

Converge, Boulder: Helps building inspectors and insurance companies use drones to examine buildings more safely and faster by using the company’s copilot software.

Edn, Denver: Makes an automated, digitally connected wall garden for growing herbs and vegetables in your home.

Init.ai, New York: Enables companies to create natural-language conversational apps to help them expand their user-acquisition reach and engage more customers.

Maxwell, Palo Alto, Calif.: Helps mortgage loan officers increase productivity by automating their workflow with homebuyers and streamlining paperwork processes.

MeetMindful, Denver: Makes a dating application and community for connecting people interested in mindfulness, health and wellness, personal growth or spirituality.

Orderly Health, Denver: Makes a text-message-based platform that helps consumers and companies understand their health-care costs and recommends ways to save money.

Section.io, Boulder: Makes a content delivery network that delivers faster, more secure content that can be run in local development environments.

Sigmend: Enables companies to track and understand the emotions of workers to improve team and management effectiveness.

Spoken: getspokenapp.com Connects language learners with fluent speakers on-demand to practice speaking, receive feedback, and rapidly improve language acquisition via mobile app.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly noted the amount of cash Techstars provides participating startups as $18,000 instead of $20,000.

Clovis Oncology laying off 35 percent of employees

BOULDER — Clovis Oncology Inc. said Wednesday that it will reduce its staff and contractor positions by 35 percent by the end of the year as it pulls the plug on its lung cancer drug candidate, rociletinib, after receiving notice that it will not be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Boulder-based Clovis (Nasdaq: CLVS), which has 309 full-time employees worldwide, made the announcement in its first-quarter financial report in which it incurred a loss of $83.4 million, or $2.17 per share, compared with a net loss of $63.1 million, or $1.86 per share, for the first quarter of 2015.

Clovis is reducing its staff, eliminating contractor positions and delaying or eliminating planned new positions, according to the report. Clovis, which also has offices in San Francisco and the United Kingdom, employs about 90 people in Boulder, though it’s unclear how many of them will be affected by the job cuts.

“We are very disappointed in the outcome for rociletinib, as there is a need for additional options for this difficult to treat disease,” Patrick J. Mahaffy, Clovis’ president and chief executive, said in a prepared statement.

In a recent meeting with the FDA, Clovis was notified that it could anticipate receiving a notice by June that its application for the drug would not be approved.

In anticipation of receiving the notice, Clovis terminated enrollment in all ongoing clinical studies of rociletinib. Clovis will continue to provide the drug to patients whose clinicians recommend continuing rociletinib therapy. In addition, Clovis has withdrawn its application to market the drug in Europe.

Clovis plans to focus its drug candidate rucaparib that would treat ovarian cancer. The company intends to maintain its sales force in the United States in in preparation for the potential U.S. launch of rucaparib.

Clovis recently entered into a clinical trial collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to evaluate a novel combination therapy of Genentech’s investigational cancer immunotherapy atezolizumab and rucaparib for the treatment of gynecological cancers, with a focus on ovarian cancer. The Phase 1b trial is planned to begin enrolling patients during the second half of 2016.

Also during the second half of 2016, the company intends to initiate a study of rucaparib in prostate cancer patients, as well as a study in advanced ovarian cancer.

Clovis will continue its collaboration with Les Laboratoires Servier Servier on the global clinical development of lucitanib outside of China, initially targeting advanced breast cancer.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that rociletinib is intended to treat ovarian cancer.