Northeast Florida Roundup
UF developed tiny chip tracks med-taking
Digital tech company etectRX has received FDA clearance for its ID-CAP system, which verifies medicinal dosage to patients and physicians using digital technology.
Developed by University of Florida graduates, the ID-CAP system is an ingestible sensor inserted into a pill. The sensor sends a digital message to verify the medicine was taken and in what dosage.
“This is a very small computer chip that is no bigger than a large grain of salt,” says Harry Travis, president and CEO of etectRX. “If you were to put it on your finger, it looks like a little black dot.”
Once ingested and activated by the patient’s stomach fluid, the sensor sends a low-power digital message to a reader worn around the patient’s neck. The reader forwards the data to a mobile app.
While inside the body, the sensor runs for about 30 minutes, Travis says, and is eliminated via the digestive process. “It gets taken out with the trash,” Travis says. “Nothing gets implanted; nothing stays around.”
- The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens has partnered with Duval County Public Schools to provide free family-level memberships to 5,800 fifth-grade students in Title 1 schools.
- First Baptist Church has hired a team at Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE) to broker the sale of 11 acres in downtown Jacksonville. The property covers six city blocks and includes three parking garages. The church will keep 182,000 square feet and plans to spend $30 million over six years to refurbish its facilities.
- Amazon filed a rezoning application with the city of Jacksonville to open a 111,718-sq.-ft. plant in a now vacant building on the westside.
- Retail natural gas service Infinite Energy has begun construction on its Gainesville expansion. Plans for the 33,740-sq.-ft. building include a solar-paneled roof. The two small office buildings the business currently uses will be turned into incubators for energy startups.
- Jacksonville City Council approved $850,000 to renovate a former Publix Super Market at the Gateway Town Center for Winn-Dixie. Under the terms of the incentive package, Winn-Dixie will have to stay in the space for at least five years or reimburse the city $170,000 for each year it falls short.
- Jacksonville City Council approved a Jacksonville Transportation Authority pilot program called RediRide, which will bus people in food deserts in Northwest Jacksonville to seven grocery stores. The council approved $95,000 for the one-year pilot program.
- The 4th Avenue Food Park in Gainesville opened in January. The outdoor food park, which includes a stage and several restaurants, is located between the University of Florida campus and downtown. Restaurants include Opus Coffee, Humble Wood Fire, Fehrenbacher’s Artisan Sausage, Sublime Tacos and BakerBaker.
- Ending a 2015 lawsuit and a dispute over parking, the city of Jacksonville has been ordered to pay Sleiman Enterprises $3.7 million. Sleiman Enterprises is the former owner of the downtown riverfront shopping center, Jacksonville Landing. In 2017, the city paid Sleiman Enterprises $15 million to take control of the property, which is now being demolished.
- Jacksonville-based Smart Pharmacy has laid off most of its 73 employees. A compounding pharmacy that makes specific medications, Smart Pharmacy was sued in 2019 by the federal government and the state of Florida, which accused the pharmacy of submitting false claims to government insurance programs. The case was sent to mediation in September.
- Pending final reviews, University of Florida Health will acquire Central Florida Health and its two hospitals, Leesburg Regional Medical Center and Villages Regional, this year.
- AmeriPro EMS has purchased Ambulance Service in Jacksonville.
- Rentokil Steritech has acquired 600-employee Florida Pest Control of Gainesville.
- Arizona-based telecommunications holding company ComSovereign acquired Drone Aviation Holding, a drone and aerostat manufacturer in Jacksonville.
- Gainesville-based SharpSpring acquired the digital advertising platform Perfect Audience from Marin Software for $4.6 million. SharpSpring, a cloud-based marketing automation services company, named Michael Powers as new CFO in December.
- San Felasco Tech City is under construction in Alachua County. The development, the brainchild of Mitch Glaeser, CEO of Emory Group, and Rich Blaser, CEO and co-founder of Infinite Energy, will encompass 82 acres, with 300,000 square feet of tech space. In addition, the community will include 252 single and multi-family housing units.
- Jacksonville-based Patriot Transportation acquired Danfair Transport, a Georgia-based trucking company.
- Dallas-based MODE Transportation acquired SunTeckTTS, a Jacksonville-based third-party logistics provider. The combined company expects to handle more than 1.5 million in annual customer shipments.
- Transportation company Comcar Industries will open an office in Jacksonville by the end of second quarter. Adding 75 jobs to the region, the office will include dispatch, customer service, brokerage and back-office support. Comcar will also continue its operations in Auburndale.
The Downtown Investment Authority intends to modify a 2016 deal with Kraft-Heinz Foods to keep its Maxwell House coffee factory in Jacksonville. Under the original agreement, the city will provide a grant payment of nearly $1 million if the company invests $30 million in its factory and hires 40 new employees. Maxwell House has invested $50 million in the factory but has reduced its workforce by 27 in the last five years.
Read more in our March issue.
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