The latest technology and life science news in WRALTechWire’s Bulldog Bulletin roundup:

  • GE invests in Raleigh-based PoGens

RALEIGH – Power Generation Services, or “PoGens,” has received a strategic investment from diversified technologies company GE (NYSE:GE).

No specifics of the financial investment were disclosed. But in a statement PoGens CEO Jum Szyperski said that his firm has been working closely with GE for the past year and this investment accelerates the integration of GE’s energy infrastructure technologies including Advanced Metering Infrastructure, Demand Management Systems and Energy Management Systems with PoGens’ distributed generation services platform.

“Our relationship with PoGens will help to strengthen our current Grid IQ SaaS offering and will allow us to provide additional value to customers who are looking for power predictability and reliability without incurring the high costs associated with buying emergency power during extreme weather events,” Todd Jackson, product line leader—software solutions, GE’s Digital Energy business, said in a statement.

  • Facebook’s Data-Center Standards Project Adds Microsoft, IBM

SAN FRANCISCO – The Open Compute Project, the industry group created by Facebook to spur development of more efficient computers to manage and store data online, is gaining more allies.

Microsoft and IBM are joining the alliance, which includes Advanced Micro Devices, Seagate Technology and about 150 other members. Microsoft said it’s seeking to lower its own spending on equipment and make it easier for customers to adopt its Azure and other online services.

Facebook operates a huge data center in western North Carolina, and IBM has a big data center in Research Triangle Park. 

As more individuals and businesses use the Internet to store, analyze and share information, companies such as Apple and Google Ihave built large data centers across the globe to handle the traffic. While Open Compute could expand markets by making servers more affordable and easier to customize, that equipment would be far less profitable for hardware suppliers such as Dell Inc. or Hewlett-Packard Co. Still, open standards are critical for speedier development and collaboration, according to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer.

  • Google glass to be covered by insurance

NEW YORK – Google Inc.’s glasses, computerized eyewear that enables users to check e-mail or listen to music, will be covered by the largest optical insurer in the U.S., VSP Vision Care.

VSP Vision, which covers 20 percent of all Americans, will reimburse members for frames and prescription lenses for the device, Jim McGrann, president of VSP Vision, said in an e-mail today.

Google Glass eyewear is only available to testers and developers and offering the frames is the next step in making the devices available to more consumers this year, Google said on its website. The Mountain View, California-based company made available four frames and two shades in addition to the original. VSP Vision is training eye-care professionals how to fit lenses for the frames.

“Glass is one of the most exciting optical-related technologies brought to consumers in the last decade,” Matthew Alpert, chairman of optometric innovation at Rancho Cordova, California-based VSP Vision’s parent company, VSP Global, said in the e-mail. “Glass clearly has many potential benefits for the profession of optometry and the 60 million patients VSP Vision Care serves.”

The frames are $225 and shades are $150. Reimbursement will vary depending on customers’ vision plan.

  • Sapheon gets regulatory approval in Canada

MORRISVILLE – Sapheon’s medical device to treat varicose veins has received regulators in Canada.

The VenaSeal Sapheon Closure System treats venous reflux disease, which is more commonly referred to as varicose veins. VenaSeal uses a specially formulated medical adhesive to close the saphenous vein, eliminating the need for surgery, thermal ablation, sedatives, and tumescent anesthesia. Morrisville-based Sapheon says more than 550,000 surgical procedures are performed around the world each year to treat diseased saphenous veins.

The VenaSeal Sapheon Closure System received CE Mark approval in Europe in September 2011. Since that time, Sapheon says the product has been used to treat more than 1,700 veins in patients in Europe and Hong Kong without tumescent anesthesia or post-procedure compression hose therapy. In the United States VenaSeal is still under a clinical study testing the safety and effectiveness of the device compared to radiofrequency thermal ablation. The study was fully enrolled in September 2013.

  • Mayne Pharma appoints new U.S. president

GREENVILLE – Mayne Pharma Group Limited has named Stefan Cross as president of Mayne Pharma USA in Greenville.

Cross is responsible for leading all of Mayne Pharma’s existing business operations in the United States, and for spearheading new business development initiatives, including managing the continued growth of contract pharmaceutical services from Mayne’s Pharma’s subsidiary, Metrics Inc. Mayne plans to make “significant investments” in Metrics’ fast-track, proof-of-concept, and first-time-in-man programs, potent and cytotoxic product handling, and clinical trial material manufacturing for contract services clients.

Cross also will oversee the expansion of Mayne Pharma USA’s pharmaceutical products division, which has been one of the fastest-growing U.S. generics businesses in recent years.

Cross previously served as Mayne Pharma’s vice president of business and corporate development, and played a key role in the global commercialization of the company’s SUBACAP® anti-fungal product. He has been extensively involved in integrating Metrics with Mayne Pharma, and in executing the company’s business strategy in Australia and the United States since joining in 2012.

  • Kramden, Lenovo, Hurricanes and partner on e-cycle drive

MORRISVILLE – Lenovo is hosting an “e-cycle” drive at its campus on Feb. 5 to collect used computer electronics.

Donations can be dropped off at Lenovo’s Building 1, 5241 Paramount Parkway in Morrisville from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The drive support the efforts of the Kramden Institute, a nonprofit group that restores and refurbishes old computers to provide computers for students who do not have access to technology at home. Kramden and Lenovo volunteers will work to refurbish these computers.

Carolina Hurricanes mascot Stormy, members of the Storm Squad, and an unnamed Carolina Hurricanes player will participate as co-hosts at the event from 2 p.m to 3 p.m. Everyone dropping off a donation from 7:30 am-3 pm for Kramden will be eligible for a Kramden giveaway of a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2. The first 25 people dropping off a donation for Kramden between 2-3 pm receive a Carolina Hurricanes prize pack. Accepted donations include age desktop computer; any age laptop computer; any age tablet; any age smartphone or cellphone; any size LCD (i.e flat-screen) monitor; all computer parts and peripherals including: keyboards, mice, RAM, processors, motherboards, power cords, USB drives, hard drives, networking equipment. CRT monitors, televisions and printers cannot be accepted.

For more information, go to Kramden’s website.

  • Government, Internet firms reach deal on disclosure

WASHINGTON – Technology companies and privacy advocates are praising a government compromise that will allow the Internet’s leading companies to reveal more information about how often they turn over customer information to the government.

The Justice Department on Monday reached agreements with Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. to allow them to disclose data on national security orders the companies have received under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

While the compromise doesn’t allow companies to disclose everything they wished, and allows them to disclose more than the government originally wanted them to, both sides seemed relatively satisfied. The companies are asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to dismiss their court complaints because of the deal.

The companies said they would still press Congress to do more.