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REGIONALREPORT Triangle

A pair of pen pushers
 
In April 2010, after reading a magazine story about wooden pens, Cass Baltz went online to buy one but was disappointed with the selection. He began researching the process of making them and more than a year later partnered with Bart Creasman, now 29, a former soccer teammate at Davidson College, to start Raleigh-based Creasman and Baltz Inc., which does business as Baltz Fine Writing Instruments and sells pens through its website for $175 to $280. The duo generated startup capital by posting their idea on Kickstarter, a website that raises money through preorders from customers. They were hoping for $10,000 but doubled that. Their parents lent them an additional $60,000, allowing them to rent 750 square feet for their workshop and buy materials and equipment. Baltz, 27, won’t disclose revenue, but the company recently added two full-time and two part-time employees.
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Briefs

RALEIGHCrescent State Bank will acquire Engelhard-based ECB Bancorp Inc. for about $51.6 million. The combined company will have about $2 billion of assets, $1.7 billion of deposits, $1.2 billion of loans and 45 branches in the state. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

DURHAM Sentinel Data Centers will build the region’s first multitenant data center targeting large companies. The New York-based company says the 420,000-square-foot building should be completed by early 2013.

CARY — Software company SciQuest acquired Chicago-based Spend Radar, a provider of Web-based spending-analysis software, for about $10 million. That amount could increase by as much as $6 million, depending on Spend Radar’s revenue during the next five quarters.

MORRISVILLE — Contract-research organization Clinipace will purchase Irvine, Calif.-based Paragon Biomedical, another CRO, for an undisclosed amount. It is Clinipace’s third acquisition in 18 months.

CARY — Cliff Bleszinski, Epic Games’ design director, resigned after 20 years with the video-game maker. Bleszinski designed some of the company’s biggest hits, including the Gears of War franchise.

MORRISVILLE Oxygen Biotherapeutics signed a research-and-development agreement with the U.S. Navy to study the use of its drug Oxycyte in infected wounds. Terms were not disclosed.

CHAPEL HILL UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp will step down, effective June 30. The decision comes as the university has been hit by scandals that include academic fraud by athletes and its ex-chief fundraiser’s inappropriate use of school planes. The search committee hired Dallas-based R. William Funk & Associates to lead the hunt, which they hope will be completed by spring.