News Business Sports Entertainment Life Obituaries Opinion
Jobs Homes Cars Classifieds Shopping
Local Bloggers Cheap Tech Eco-Confessions Faceoff Furst Draft Heard on the Street Med City Movie Guy Pulse on Health Political Party

Search PB Blogs

Loading

Categories

550 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

April 17, 2015

Wisconsin couple buys AmericInn hotel

The only hotel near the Rochester International Airport changed hands Thursday, though the original developer didn't completely check out of the business.

The AmericInn Hotel & Suites Rochester, at 7320 Airport View Driuve SW, was purchased by Cary and Laurie Turner's CLT Investments of Prairie Du Chien, Wis. The couple also owns hotels in Prairie Du Chien, La Crosse, Wis., and elsewhere in the region.

352_americinnrochesterairportexteriorThe seller, Rochester's Titan Development & Investments, said it will remain partially invested as a partner in the 16-year-old hotel. However, Titan no longer will be involved in the management of the 72-room hotel.

Financial details of the sale were not released by Titan.

Titan CEO Andy Chafoulias originally built the hotel in 2001 and opened it under the Sleep Inn & Suites brand. The hotel is built on land Chafoulias leased from the city of Rochester.

In 2010, the hotel parted ways with the Sleep Inn name and temporarily became the independent Airport Event Center Hotel.

The hotel joined the AmericInn brand in 2010. While Chafoulias remained an owner, Joe Powers, of the nearby Rochester International Events Center and Ground Round restaurant, and well-known Rochester hotelier Myron Salz, of the Centerstone Plaza Hotel, stepped in as managing investors to run the hotel operations. It employed a staff of about 17 at the time.

Chafoulias said in Thursday's announcement of the sale that selling to the Turners was a good opportunity for Titan, which is busy with many other developments, such as the recently completed H3 Plaza tower in downtown Rochester.

“With the numerous focuses that we have around Rochester and across the country, we felt that it was a good time to sell the AmericInn," Chafoulias stated in the news release. "It’s a great hotel with consistently solid numbers, and we foresee a very successful future for it.”

The new owners have "immediate plans of enhancing the hotel’s exterior and interior," according to Titan.

April 16, 2015

Cardio3 changes name to better fit new focus

The Mayo Clinic-linked firm Cardio3 Biosciences, which is building a manufacturing facility in downtown Rochester, has abruptly decided to change its name to better fit its widening focus in the growing area of cell-based therapies.

Cardiobioscience_jpegThe Belgium-based biotech firm announced Wednesday that it changed its name to Celyad. It started using the new name immediately, though shareholders will not vote on the change until its annual meeting May 5.

This sudden move comes as the company is preparing for an initial public offering on the U.S. stock exchange. Celyad has not released a date for the IPO.

CEO Dr. Christian Homsy was quoted in a company statement saying this new name fits with the firm's new direction following its recent $10 million acquisition of Celdara Medical's oncology division, OnCyte. That signals an expansion beyond its stem-cell-based cardiac regeneration therapy into immuno-oncology. The regenerative stem cell therapy is based on research done by Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar, licensed from the Mayo Cli6a00d83451cc8269e201a511d8e824970c-250winic.

“We believe that the name change better aligns our identity with our core activities and overall unified objective of identifying and translating innovative cell-based therapies into therapeutics, not only in cardiology, but now also in oncology and potentially in other areas in the future,” Homsy stated in the announcement of the new name.

Celyad's U.S. communication staff said Wednesday that no one from the company could publicly comment on the name change, other than through the press release. Celyad spokeswoman Kirsten Thomas, of The Ruth Group, explained the silence was due to the U.S Securities Exchange Commission's imposed "quiet period" on promotional publicity during the buildup to the IPO.

Mayo Clinic and Celyad have collaborated since 2007 on the cardiopoiesis technology that the company uses to repair patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cells to regenerate cardiac tissue. Mayo Clinic owned 2.69 percent of the company as of March 3. Mayo Clinic also is participating in a Celyad clinical trial.
Celyad
If the stem cell therapy makes it to the market, Celyad will pay Mayo Clinic $1 million a year for four years for research as well a 2 percent royalty on sales for 15 years, the press release says.

5503a0ea8a679.image"We are excited that Celyad is branching out beyond cardiology into areas such as oncology," stated Jim Rogers, the chairman of Mayo Clinic Ventures. "Our hope is that they are building a robust capability to deliver breakthrough therapies in the area of regenerative medicine, which is a significant priority for Mayo as well."

The name change comes before new signs have gone up in the city of Rochester's Minnesota Biobusiness Center. The city signed a lease with Celyad earlier this year for it to develop a prototype manufacturing facility in the 14,963 square feet of space on the fifth floor of the downtown building. The five-year lease calls for Celyad to pay a rent of $18 per square foot, or $22,444.50 per month. The city agreed in the lease to pay for $600,000 in equipment and improvements to the space.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development also signed a deal with Celyad on Jan. 12 to receive a Minnesota Job Creation Fund award of $357,000. To collect the money, it must invest $1.5 million in Rochester within a year, plus hire 33 employees within two years.

The ultimate goal of the project is for the city, state and Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. to eventually convince Celyad to build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with 350 employees in Rochester, according to RAEDI officials.

However, Rochester is not the only city wooing the Belgium company. While the Rochester facility is the company's first official U.S. location, it also has plans to build a U.S. headquarters in Boston.

It seems as though Celyad is at a turning point. The company has worked on developing its cardiac regenerative therapy since 2007. While it has seen many positive results from trials in Europe and research in the United States, it has no products currently on the market.

The company lost $18.1 million in 2014, up from $15.9 million in losses in 2013. While the cardiopoiesis technology developed by Mayo Clinic appears to be promising, the company seems to be embracing the new CAR T-Cell cancer-fighting approach — essentially, a cancer vaccine — that it purchased from Celdara Medical for $10 million earlier this year.

"Our acquisition of the OnCyte CAR T-Cell portfolio in early 2015 heralds the first major step in our strategy to leverage our unique expertise in cell therapies and drug development to expand beyond the cardiac arena to develop breakthrough treatments to change the outcome of disease," stated Homsy last month.

"We are excited to be expanding our product offering into the prominent area of immuno-oncology and anticipate the initiation of the Phase I trial of our lead immuno-oncology candidate, CAR-NKG2D in the first half of 2015 and look forward to sharing details of our progress as we evaluate its clinical potential," Homsy said. "We intend to leverage our cell therapy know-how and infrastructure to quickly progress those assets into later stage clinical trials in 2016, aiming at more than five trials in liquid and solid tumors in the USA and Europe."

Many companies are vying for a spot in the hot CAR T-Cell area to be the one to develop the breakthrough cancer vaccine. The worldwide market for such vaccines was recently estimated to $8.4 billion in 2020.

April 14, 2015

New barbecue place is cooking in southwest Rochester

The smoke signals say that a new flavor is on the way for southwest Rochester.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit is slated to fill the remaining 2,000-square-feet of the new Aspen Dental building at 1300 Salem Road SW in front of the TJ Maxx Plaza, says franchise oDickeysaspenwner Josh Laber.

Dickey's is a quick casual chain known for its smoked meats and Texas-style barbecue. The Dallas, Texas-based restaurant firm has about 470 restaurants in U.S. with eight in Minnesota.

"We're hoping to be able to open the doors by mid-summer," said Laber.

He'll be ready to launch "his second career" as soon as he wraps up his current one with the Rochester Police Dept. Laber has served as a Rochester police officer for the past nine years. He's slated to work his last shift as an officer this week.

While Rochester does already have several barbecue choices with Roscoe's, John Hardy's and Famous Dave's, the Labers believe Dickey's brings something new to the mix.

"My wife and I (Natashya) have been looking for something for the past few years. We always thought something was missing," he said. "Dickey's serves up good slow cooked meat at a fast pace that's good for the lunch crowd and for dinner."

Now the Labers and their five children cooking up a new restaurant, which will have its own drive-through window. They estimate that they'll need about 20 employees to staff the new Dickey's.

Expect to see Josh Laber at Dickey's as the owner and operator. Natashya Laber will continue to teach at John Marshall High School. Laber said he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him, but at least it will now be for his own business.

The Aspen Dental building is owned by Rochester's Forsons Investments, which also owns the TJ Maxx Plaza.

April 10, 2015

Philly has arrived on Broadway with the new Tinn's sub shop

A taste of Philadelphia is now available on Rochester's North Broadway.

Tinn's Grilled Philly Steak Subs fired up the grill Friday at its new location in the former Ali Baba Restaurant spot at 101 N. Broadway Ave.

TinnsonbroadwayTinn's, originally founded by Tien Danh, serves a variety of sandwich, including a several versions of the classic Philly steak sandwich. This latest location is Tinn's third in Rochester.  It also has locations at 3462 55th St. in the Northwest Plaza and in the First Avenue Food Court on the skyway level at 100 First Ave. SW.

The Broadway sub shop underwent an extensive makeover. This Tinn's is a sit-down restaurant with seating for about 20, as well as offering take-out. Tinn's General Manager Bounlot Singkeo has estimated that he would need about eight to 10 employees to staff it.

The number of Tinn's shop is expected to grow to four early this summer. Singkeo is also opening a take-out only location shop across from Mayo Clinic's Saint Marys Hospital on Second Street. It will be located next to Tonic.

Staff at Tinn's estimate that the Second Street location could be ready to open by late Mayo or early June.

"We saw an opportunity there. We have a lot of customers at Saint Marys," said Singkeo of why they decided open there. "So we thought we'd give it a try."

FDA gives green light to Rochester medical software start-up

A Rochester medical software start-up with financial ties to Mayo Clinic says getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is a major milestone for the company.

"It's tough to get. It's a big deal for us. Historically been rare in the software industry to have these type of devices to fall into that class," said Al Berning, CEO of Ambient Clinical Analytics.

Berning is known in Rochester as a former IBMer, a co-founder of Pemstar and former CEO of Hardcore Computers/LiquidCool Solutions.

Ambient, which was founded in 2013, makes analytical software that helps physicians make decisions about patient treatment in emergency room and intensive care situations. The FDA gave 510(k) clearance for Ambient's AWARE software platform as a Class 2 device this week.

The FDA has three classes with highest level being Class 3, which is typically used for implantable devices like pacemakers and heart valves. Dental floss is categorized as a Class 1 device. An example of a device with a Class 2 ranking is a condom.

Ambient, which licenses the core of the AWARE software from Mayo Clinic, describes it as "a clinical decision support tool."

Berning explained that means it uses algorithms to shift through massive amounts patient data, prescription reports and more to select the most important information for the clinical staff to consider during real-time treatment of patients.

"It takes a lot of administrative and IT drudgery off of the physician to allow them to focus on medical care," he said.

Ambient has 10 employees and it's based in the Mayo Clinic Biobusiness Accelerator in the Minnesota Biobusiness Center. Berning says the firm plans to add more employees within the next several months.

"We could need to double or triple our staff," he said.

Berning plans to announce the commercial availability of AWARE at the top health care software industry conference next week in Chicago.

"That's where we'll let everyone know that we are open for business," he said.

April 09, 2015

Future downtown Rochester eatery starting to hire staff

Rochester's latest Italian restaurant is starting to heat up by opening a hiring office in the empty Paine Furniture building.

The Nova Restaurant Group, led by Chef Scott Foster and Pat Woodring, is crafting its latest downtown Rochester eatery to be calledTerzhiringsign1 Terza on the ground floor of the new H3 Plaza building. They are also cooking up La Vetta, a rooftop lounge and club on seventh floor of the building.

Foster and Woodring are also the creative forces behind the nearby Pescara and Chester’s Kitchen & Bar.
Terzhiringsign2
Terza is not expected to be ready to open until after Memorial Day, though a pre-opening dinner is rumored to scheduled for late May. In preparation, Nova has launched a major hiring campaign in the Paine building across Broadway from the H3 Plaza.

They are interviewing job candidates as sous chefs, line chefs and servers. The office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the week and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Woodring and Foster are known for their top shelf employees. They say the goal is to hire people with the "hospitality gene" and then train them well. Prior to opening of Chester's, they spent an estimated $50,000 to $60,000 on training.

April 07, 2015

Rochester Orcas to build $4 million pool

The largest swim club in Minnesota is ready to dive off the blocks to start construction of a new $4 million warm-water pool in Rochester.  Vc9FyKd5

Rochester Swim Club Orcas has plans to build a center with a six-lane, 25-yard pool on four acres on the city's northeast side, said Orcas CEO Autumn Kappes. It will be comparable in size to the John Marshall High School swimming pool.

The Orcas facility will be built on empty land near 37th Street Northeast and East River Road. It's the field where the J&J Vegetable stand is usually set up in the summer.

The club hopes to break ground on the project in May, so it might be ready for use in October. That is about the same time the new Rochester Recreation/Senior Center project should be completed.

KappOrcas_Swim_Club_mediumes said the Orcas' competitive swim teams will continue to call the Recreation Center home. But while the Rec Center is a good fit for the teams, the Orcas cannot offer swim lessons there.

The new facility will be solely for swim lessons. That means it will have warm water temperatures of about 88 degrees versus the 77 degrees of the competitive pool at the rec center.

The new Orcas center will give the organization a home for its popular classes as well as the capability to expand its offerings. The club offers 10 classes a week, year-round. However, Kappes says the classes fill up right away, and the club often needs to turn people away.

"We've shuffled around to pools all over town for lessons. Right now, we're doing some in hotel pools," she said. "This will bring everybody together under one roof. We really need this."

The Orcas, which averages 225 swimmers in the lessons and 365 youth swimmers, has been saving for this project for several years. To help defray the costs, Kappes said the club will lease some gym space in the center to Triton Multisports, a Rochester triathlon training group. Rochester's Achieve Results Physical Therapy also will lease space in the center.

The new center will allow the Orcas to offer many more classes and possibly try some new programs. For example, Kappes is looking into grant opportunities to help fund lessons for kids who can't afford the cost. This new pool eliminates the rental fees involved in using other Rochester pools, which makes it easier to line up lesson scholarships. The Orcas also are mulling over the possibility of starting a water polo team.

"We have a whole list of ideas of how to use (the new pool)," she said.

April 06, 2015

Mayo Clinic's Noseworthy makes top physicians list, though down from 2014

Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy made Modern Healthcare magazine's 2015 list of most influential physicians, though he dropped down four places from the previous year.

Noseworthy was ranked at 6th in the 11th annual 50 Most  influential Physician Executives and Leaders. That's up from down from his previous ranking of second in the 2014 and 2013 lists. He was listed at 11th in 2011 and 31st in 2010. He was named president and CEO of Mayo Clinic in 2009.

Noseworthy-730The magazine describes the criteria of making the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders list as "physicians working in the healthcare industry who are deemed by their peers and an expert panel to be the most influential in terms of demonstrating leadership and impact."

In recent years, Noseworthy has also made the magazine's annual list of 100 most influential people in healthcare. In 2014, he was ranked at No. 16. That list typically comes out in August.

That list also included the salaries of the leaders. The 63-year-old Noseworthy's salary was $1.75 million in 2012. It increased to $1.9 million in 2013.

The leaders of Mayo Clinic's perennial competitors, Cleveland Clinic and John Hopkins, also made the 2015 influential physicians list. However, they were much further down than Noseworthy. Cleveland Clinic's CEO Delos “Toby” Cosgrove was listed at 13th and Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO Paul Rothman came in at number 20.

Modern Healthcare named Dr. Robert Wachter as the most influential physician in 2015. He's the chief of the medical service at University of California San Francisco Medical Center and chief of the division of hospital medicine.

Richard Gilfillan, president and CEO of Trinity Health in Livonia, Mich., was ranked second. The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Thomas Frieden, was third.

April 04, 2015

Rutgers hires away Mayo Medical School dean

Remember Dr. Frank Cockerill, the former CEO of the for-profit (and wildly profitable) Get_photo Mayo Medical Labs? Mayo Clinic accused the well-respected and long-time Mayo exec of taking trade secrets and misrepresenting his departure from Mayo as a retirement.

He took a job at Quest Diagnostics, a competitor of the successful Mayo Medical Labs. Mayo Clinic sued and eventually Cockerill resigned from his new position at Quest.

Cockerill's wife, Sherine Gabriel, is the dean of the Mayo Medical School. Now she's in the news by being hired away by Rutgers.

Rutgers seems particularly gleeful about being able to "steal people from the Mayo Clinic."

Here's a staff and wire story on this:

----------------------------------

The dean of the Mayo Medical School in Rochester has been hired as the new dean of Rutgers University's Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Gabriel orig C hi resSherine Gabriel, 57, will take over as head of the New Brunswick, N.J.,-based medical school in August, Rutgers officials announced, according to NJ Advance Media.

"Rutgers can now steal people from the Mayo Clinic," Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, said when he announced the appointment to the university's board of governors Thursday.

Gabriel has worked at the Mayo Clinic for nearly 30 years, serving as a professor of medicine and epidemiology and as a federally-funded researcher of rheumatic diseases.

She will be paid $560,000 a year at Rutgers, a university spokesman said. That will make her one of the highest-paid administrators at the state university, according to the NJ Advance Media article.

Medical school deans are traditionally one of the highest-paid academic positions at universities and their salaries have been rising, the NJ Advance Media article says.

This year, the median salary for medical school deans is $492,213 nationwide and $525,966 at research universities, according to a survey by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, a national group that tracks salaries.

Rutgers acquired two medical schools — Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School in Newark — when it took over most of the former schools of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 2013.

Gabriel was selected as dean of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School after a national search.

"Our search committee recognized the combination of assets that Sherine Gabriel brings," Strom said. "She has exceptional strengths in medical school education administration and instruction. In addition, she is a noted researcher with a strong background in research administration and has played significant roles in the success of Mayo Clinic's business development activities."

Gabriel has been dean of the Mayo Medical School since 2012.

As a researcher, she has focused on the risks of connective tissue diseases among women with breast implants, as well as studies on rheumatic diseases and the economic impact of rheumatoid arthritis.

April 03, 2015

Home Federal to purchase Kasson State Bank

Kasson State Bank has agreed to sell its business to Rochester's Home Federal Savings Bank.

Home Federal announced the deal to bank and its two Kasson branches late Thursday night. HMN Financial,Home Federal's parent holding company, is actually making the acquisition.

Kasson-state-bankThe purchase is subject to regulatory approval. The Palmer family currently owns the Kasson State Bank. It has 19 employees on staff. It lists assets of about $60 million.

"It was an opportunity that was in our backyard. It's a natural expansion of our existing franchise footprint," said Home Federal President Brad Krehbiel.

Neither bank elected to release financial details about deal. Home Federal officials did say that the bank is funding the acquisition with "internally available funds." The bank expects to complete the transaction late in the third quarter of 2015.

 "We look forward to the opportunity to continue on with the long established community banking tradition of Kasson State Bank, while at the same time expanding the banking products and services offered through these locations," stated Krehbiel in the announcement of purchase.

Kasson State Bank has a 141 year history dating back to the 1874 founding of the First National Bank of Kasson. The bank has been owned by the Palmer family, since 1924.

If approved, this deal will bring Home Federal's number of Minnesota branches to nine. It has offices in Albert Lea, Austin, Eagan, La Crescent, two in Rochester, Spring Valley and Winona; one full-service office in Marshalltown, Iowa; one loan-origination office in Sartell; and two private-banking offices in Rochester.