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December 09, 2005

Mayo Medical Ventures eyes new biocenter

I know, it seems like I'm obsessed with biotech and this bioscience center story in particular. Well, I kinda am. This all fascinates me.

Here's one of two stories by Jeff Pieters on all of this for the weekend edition.

One note, the story references the possiblity of a California biocompany as a tenant. Sheesh, just look at the few items I have on this blog and you'll find plenty of Cali. bio companies with ties to Mayo.

In fact, Mayo Medical Ventures recently kicked an unknown portion of $6.5 million in funding for San Diego-based Naviscan PET Systems, Inc. And then there's Microislet Inc. of San Diego, Calif., which buys herds of special hogs from Mayo.

It won’t be built by Mayo Clinic, but a Bioscience Development Center building planned by Rochester’s city government might wind up with a Mayo-affiliated business as its anchor tenant.

Mayo Medical Ventures, a for-profit arm of the Clinic, would consider a move to the city-built and city-owned center, occupying as many as five floors, city officials said. The two parties have held discussions, but not proceeded to any formal agreement.
A Mayo spokesman confirmed Mayo Medical Ventures’ interest.
“The operative term is that we’re interested,” said spokesman Bob Nellis. “How many floors is still a question, but we’re interested.”
Besides whatever floors Mayo Medical Ventures requires, the center would include two floors for other bioscience companies, research firms or higher education institutions. The ground floor would be dedicated to retail.
Officials publicly discussed plans for the bioscience center on Thursday at a meeting of the Rochester Downtown Alliance board. They described a building up to nine stories tall in the 200 block of First Avenue Southwest, on the west side of the street between the 201 building and a municipal parking ramp. The $28 million project would include expanding the ramp by 380 parking spaces.
The project depends on an $8 million request for state funding, and would not proceed without it. If the state grants the money, local officials can turn to the task of recruiting businesses for the center.
Rochester has already received inquiries regarding its plans for the center, said Gary Smith, executive vice president for Rochester Area Economic Development Inc., an economic development group. But the discussions haven’t turned serious yet.
Smith would not name companies or individuals with whom he’s had talks, but has earlier described a California-based company that is a potential early tenant. The two floors reserved for outside firms would require perhaps two to four tenants to fill, he said.
InNexus Biotechnology Inc., a firm that already has research laboratories at Mayo Clinic, is in talks with Mayo for space at both the Rochester and Scottsdale, Ariz., campuses, said Jeff Morhet, the company’s chief operating officer. Morhet said his firm would not be on the initial list of tenants, but could be one eventually.
“We are potential,” Morhet said. “It’s nothing further than that.”
Staff writer Jeff Hansel contributed.

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So the city is subsidizing office space for Mayo's existing for-profit business? I thought the biosciences initiative was intended to support new enterprise. What a sham.

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