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281 posts categorized "Downtown Roch. buzz"

January 27, 2015

Mayo looks to attract more patients from China

To take advantage of the rapidly growing medical tourism market, Mayo Clinic has deepened its relationship with a Hong Kong firm to bring more Chinese patients to Rochester.

Medisun Holdings Ltd. announced Monday it has signed a collaLogoborative deal to "Ensure efficient referral of patients" to Mayo Clinic. The agreement also calls for Mayo Clinic "to provide health care consulting services to aid Medisun’s work" in Hong Kong and mainland China.

This will allow Mayo Clinic to enlarge its patient pipeline from China. It has added a Web page in Mandarin Chinese and has hired interpreters, the article notes. The Wall Street Journal recently reported increasing numbers of Chinese residents are going overseas "in search of treatment that is either unavailable or ineffective in China."
800px-Gonda_building,_closer_up
Mikel Prieto, medical director of Mayo Clinic's international office, told the Wall Street Journal that "China, probably of all countries, is the one where we see the greatest growth right now."

Melissa Goodwin, Mayo Clinic's manager of global referrals, told China's Caixin Media this summer the number of Chinese people going to Mayo has climbed to 200 in 2013. That's up from just 30 in 2008 and 100 in 2012. She estimated that number would reach 400 by the end of 2014. 

H3-treesDetails of the new Medisun/Mayo Clinic arrangement still are being hammered out, according to Dr. Jason Zhang, of Medisun.

Zhang did confirm that a $1 million office being built in Titan Development and Investments's new H3 Plaza complex on South Broadway will house Medisun's Rochester operations. It's being built under the name Alphaomega Healthcare, though Zhang said he expects it to eventually change to Medisun.

He explained the office will be used to support Chinese patients traveling to Rochester for treatment.

"The medical service will be provided by Mayo, and everything else will be provided by Medisun," Zhang said.

The Medisun office is expected to open in March or April in the west corner of H3 Plaza at 300 S. Broadway, he said. The office will occupy parts of the second and third floors of the seven-story complex, which is being developed by Titan's Andy and Gus Chafoulias.

“Consulting with Mayo Clinic, and leveraging Medisun’s top-quality medical institutions in Hong Kong … Medisun’s experienced medical team will facilitate access to Mayo Clinic’s world-class model of care in order to provide patients in China and Asia with superior medical services,” Medisun's Chairman Danny Wong said in Monday's announcement.
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Wong visited Rochester this summer in connection to his company's investment in Cardio3 Biosciences. Cardio3, a Belgium company with deep business and scientific ties with Mayo Clinic, is negotiating a lease deal with the City of Rochester for the fifth floor of the Minnesota Biobusiness Center.

While in Rochester, Wong had his photo taken at the clinic with local leaders, including Gus Chafoulias and Mayo's Lisa Clarke, who leads the Destination Medical Center initiative.

Wong recently showed his interest in Rochester by buying two large estates here. On Oct. 31, he bought an estate at 2515 Crest Lane SW for $1.4 million. Wong followed that up by buying a Pill Hill house at 615 10 Ave. SW for $1.31 million.

Options abound for one of Rochester's oldest storefronts

While many are speculating about the future of a 129-year-old building in the heart of Rochester's downtown, the owners say they haven't locked down a plan yet.

549b9e10ed075.imageThe long-empty former Paine Furniture store at 313 S. Broadway was purchased by local developers Hal Henderson and Grant Michelitz in November. The deal also included the attached 309 S. Broadway building now occupied by Big Brad's bar on Broadway.

Some renovation work and installation of new windows is being done on the second floor, said Henderson. They also hope to build a skyway across the alley to connect the Paine building to the 318 Commons building, also owned by Henderson and Michelitz.

The University of Minnesota Rochester leases space in the 318 Commons building for student housing, office space and classrooms. A connecting skyway could make the second floor of Paine building attractive to UMR.

"We do foresee space crunches in our growth plan prior to the development of the future campus," said Jay Hesley, assistant vice chancellor for institutional advancement. While no decisions have been made, Hesley acknowledged the university had looked at the second floor of the Paine building.

"We've certainly explored all of the different opportunities that are available, and that was certainly one of them on the list," he said.

Henderson said there have been preliminary talks with UMR officials about the Paine building. He also said an option is to demolish the Paine complex and put up a building that would be a sibling to 318 Commons.

"I do have more real estate on that block," he said. "In the future, we may have a plan that we may try to unveil or look at pretty seriously." Henderson owns the adjacent Cafe Steam at 315 S. Broadway and the Canvas & Chardonnay building at 317 S. Broadway. "It all depends on what transpires in the next three to six months" with Destination Medical Center and the university's plans, he said. "I think right now, everyone is still leaving their options open."

January 15, 2015

Roch. start-up licenses virus to pharmaceutical giant

An international pharmaceutical giant has signed a deal to license a cancer-killing virus from Rochester drug company.

MedImmune, which is owned by London-based AstraZeneca, is licensing a genetically engineered strain of the vesicular stomatitis virus from Omnis Pharmaceuticals. Omnis is a Rochester start-up founded by Dr. Stephen J. Russell, Dr. Kah-Whye Peng, Shruthi Naik and Mark Federspiel, who all work at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. A fifth founder, Glen Barber, is based at the University of Miami.

The companies now will collaborate to combine the Omnis virus with a check point inhibitor created by MedImmune. The goal is to eventually create a treatment for types of cancer affecting the liver, but potentially could be developed to treat a broad array of cancers.

"For us, it's a very big and very important step forward," Omnis CEO Russell said. "Essentially, we have AstraZeneca/MedIummune saying, 'We love this lead product of yours. We want to pick it up, cover the development costs and run with you to bring it to market.' That's a huge accelerator for this development program."

He explained that oncolytic viruses, similar to the one MedImmune is licensing from Omnis, have been found to be effective in destroying cancer cells. Many companies, in the U.S. and internationally, are working on their own treatment based on viruses.

"That's why they're excited about this virus. They can inject it directly into a tumor and kill tumor cells. That wakes up immune system, which adds to the attack," Russell said. "Then if you get the check point inhibitor antibody, the hope is that will lead to major tumor destruction."

This collaboration could mean a lot to Rochester. The US cancer vaccine market was estimated in 2012 to be worth about $14 billion. With about 1.5 million Americans being diagnosed with cancer every year, that market could possibly grow to reach $20 billion by 2020.

While the companies declined to release any financial details of the deal, it's clear the upfront payment portion of the agreement has given Omnis a boost to pursue its own goals, parallel to MedImmune project.

"Our obsession, if you like, is to develop viruses that could be given as systemic intravenous anti-cancer therapy," Russell said.

This virtual start-up, which was founded in late 2013, is "based" on the first floor the Minnesota BioBusiness Center in downtown Rochester in the facilities of Imanis Life Sciences.

Imanis is a related company that was founded by Russell, Peng and Dennis E. Young. It launched in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator on the second floor of the building and soon leased 1,736-square-feet of space for its offices and a "wet lab." Imanis makes genetic tracking agents for use in medical research. It also does medical imaging and conduct experiments for clients.

Russell said while Omnis has a lot of potential to break new ground scientifically, Imanis is the more likely candidate to grow into a economic driver and job creator in Rochester.

"That company (Imanis) will probably grow to occupy a fairly large footprint. This company (Omnis) is less likely to arrive at that point," he said.

In 2015, Peng said, "We hope to build it faster to up to 30 to 50 people as we do more manufacturing. We hope to be able to keep it in downtown Rochester. This is our home."

The group also has a third virtual start-up company called Magnis Therapeutics, which is working on a cancer treatment based on the measles virus.

Having three companies with names that end in "-nis" seemed like a good idea at first, said Russell with chuckle. But now, he admits it might be a bit confusing.

New name goes up on downtown Rochester landmark

A downtown Rochester landmark now is sporting a new name.
 
A new sign for the Morgan Stanley Center went up on Wednesday at 201 S. Broadway, the former Lanmark Center.

01142015morganstanleysign"When we renewed our lease, we asked about the naming rights of the building," said David Olson, who is in charge of Morgan Stanley's Rochester branch. "People agreed it would make sense for it to be the Morgan Stanley Center. We're really excited about it."

Morgan Stanley has been based on the second floor of the 65-year-old building for the past 15 years, he said. However, a lot of people weren't aware it was there.

"Now," Olson said, "People will know where we are."

While many financial companies have moved out of downtown in recent years, Morgan Stanley decided not to follow them.

"It's kind of fun being here right at the heart of it, here at Broadway and Second. With DMC (Destination Medical Center) and all of the developments, it makes sense to stay," he said.

As part of the change, Morgan Stanley has made some changes to spruce the building and the office up. Olson said he expects to host an open house in the spring to celebrate the new name.

The name, Lanmark Center, originated from Lanmark Property Management. That firm was owned by Rochester developer Gus Chafoulias, who also owned the building from 1998 to 2003.

In 2003, GAC Development sold the 34,384-square-foot complex to MK Lanmark LLC for $7 million. MK Lanmark is owned by real estate investor Mark Kramer, of Iowa.

The building is known to older generations of Rochester residents as the former F. W. Woolworth Co., which opened there in January 1950.

Before Woolworth, that site had housed the historic Cook Hotel. The Cook Hotel, which was built in 1869, burned in February 1946. It was demolished in 1949.

January 12, 2015

Downtown coffee shop to re-launch on Tues.

The new owners of a downtown Rochester coffee shop are planning for a soft re-opening under a new name on Tuesday.

Press Coffee and Tea Lounge at 315 S. Broadway abruptly closed in late December when its then-owner, Chris Holloway, was arrested and charged with one count of felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Now, a group of local people have banded together to re-launch the popular downtown spot as Café Steam. The new owners include: Hunter and Traci Downs; Dr. Nathan Staff and wife Kaya Garcia; and David Hewitt.

Hewitt is known for being involved with a variety of Rochester businesses, like Mama Meg's homemade ice cream sandwiches and the nearby co-working site called The Cube. The Downses also own Area Ten Labs, a Rochester technology firm.

"It had become such a community meeting place. I've had so many business meetings there and have met so many friends there. Students go there to study, often in the evening," said Hunter Downs. "For us, this is about bringing that back to the community."

The former staff members of Press have been offered jobs at Steam, according to Downs. Some have accepted and will return.

"We still need more people," he said.

The new owners have been working feverishly in the past couple weeks to renovate the space and prepare a new approach. They hope to open the doors as Steam at 7 a.m. Tuesday, in time for the regular gathering of the BioAm biobusiness group. However, Downs cautions that it's still a work in progress with many details still being finalized.

"This is more about evolution than a revolution, at this point," he said.

The new owners are putting out a call for local artists to help them with artwork for the coffee shop's walls.

Like Press, Steam will serve a full array of coffee and tea. Though the new owners plan to eventually expand the food menu.

"We're taking it in a little bit of a different direction with more food options and some ice cream," he said.

The coffee shop originally opened in 2013, after Holloway raised the funds for it with a Kickstarter campaign. It's located in a 115-year-old brick building.

January 07, 2015

Cardio3 buys cancer-fighting firm for $10 million

Cardio3 BioSciences, which works closely with both Mayo Clinic and the City of Rochester, has paid $10 million for the oncology division of a New Hampshire firm.

The Belgium-based Cardio3 agreed to pay Celdara Medical $6 million in cash and $4 million in new shares for the division called OnCyte. Celdara could receive up to $50 million, if its lead product in-development CM-CS1 hLogo_cardio_3its specific development and regulatory milestones.

The same type of payments for milestones could also reach $21 million per product for others in the pipeline. If CM-CS1 reaches market and net sales top $1 billion, Celdara will receive up to $80 million in payments from Cardio3.
OncyteCM_png
This is Cardio3's second acquisition in recent months. In November, it purchased a virtual company called CorQuest Medical Inc. Corquest is developing a sheath to provide a minimally invasive way to insert therapeutic devices. The CorQuest technology platform is complementary with Cardio3’s C-Cathez and C-Cure systems. Financial terms were not released.

The OnCyte expands Cardio3's reach beyond regenerating cardiac tissue by entering into the rapidly growing immuno-oncology cancer treatment area using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. OnCyte's CM-CS1 uses (CAR) technology to destroy cancer tumors. The Federal Drug Administration has cleared CM-CS1 to begin a clinical trial using patients with acute myeloid leukemia /advanced myelodysplastic syndrome and multiple myeloma. Juno Therapeutics, Amgen and Kite Pharma and others are developing products based on this concept.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Cardio3 CEO Dr. Christian Homsy described acquiring OnCyte as “Our first foray into an area that is of very high interest… It opens a new reach, a new broad area of growth for the company that is of very high value to us and our shareholders.”

Those shareholders include Mayo Clinic, which held 3 percent ownership of Cardio3, as of Aug. 4. Mayo Clinic first acquired equity in Cardio3 in 2007, when it licensed stem cell research by Mayo Clinic's Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar. The cardiopoiesis technology uses to repair patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cell to regenerate cardiac tissue.

When announcing the acquisition, Homsy said that four of Cardio3's top shareholders supported the move. A Belgium family-owned holding company called Tolefi SA is the lead shareholder with 32.23 percent of the shares. The Hong Kong-based Medisun, which is building an office in Rochester, owns 8.08 percent.

In the years since 2007, Mayo Clinic has developed a close working relationship with the Belgian company. Mayo Clinic is leading the U.S. clinical trial of Cardio3 and is using a lab in the Minnesota Biobusiness Center in downtown Rochester.

A possible deal is in the works for Cardio3 to occupy the entire fifth floor of the city-owned Minnesota Biobusiness Center. Gary Smith of the Rochester Economic Development Inc. said the company has not signed a lease yet and some financial details still need to be worked out.

If Cardio3 does decide to occupy the fifth floor, Mayo Clinic will need to move its staff that currently fills the space.

November 17, 2014

Buckeye Liquor to stay in downtown Rochester

Much like peanut butter and chocolate getting together, a downtown Rochester liquor store is moving in next to a pizza place in early 2015.

11172014buckeyeliquorRobert Satterwhite, who owns Buckeye Liquor with his wife Diane Satterwhite, plans to scoot the store a few dozen yards from its spot on the corner of Third Avenue Southeast and Fourth Street to the Domino's Pizza building at 438 Third Ave. S.E.

The shift is expected to happen in February or March 2015.

"We're pretty excited to be moving next to Domino's. Who doesn't like a beer or a nice wine with pizza?", said Satterwhite.

The coming development of a $15 million, 110-unit apartment complex on that corner is spurring the move of the 49-year-old liquor store. Stencil Homes of Sioux Falls, S.D., has purchased three buildings — Buckeye Liquor, the empty Flowers By Jerry shop and the 3rd Avenue Pet Hospital — on Third Avenue. The Satterwhites now lease their corner building from developer Nate Stencil and his partner, Sean A. Kaufhold.

While there is not a deadline for Buckeye to move, it's clear that the current building will be demolished to make way for the coming project.

"They are not pushing out us or anything. We just wanted to make sure to secure another space in downtown as soon as we could," he s11172014dominoson3rdaid.

Satterwhite and two employees will have more room once they move in next to Domino's. The new 1,800-square-foot space is about 500 feet larger than the original Buckeye store, which Stanley Mohn, built in 1965. An international grocer was the last tenant next to Domino's.

Marty Gritz, who owns Domino's as well as the building, renovated it in 2013. He re-divided the building into two equal parts to give his dough makers an additional 600 square feet

The good news for Buckeye is that Domino's location is often the busiest of  the 120 Domino's franchises in the Midwest region.

November 04, 2014

Developer to build $15 million apartment complex near Roch. city hall

A South Dakota developer plans to build a $15 million, 110-unit apartment complex near downtown Rochester, plus 179 more apartments on the far northwest side.

Stencil Homes of Sioux Falls, S.D., has purchased three buildings — Buckeye Liquor, the empty Flowers By Jerry shop and the 3rd Avenue Pet Hospital — on Third Avenue Southeast and Fourth Street, across from the Olmsted County Government Center and Rochester City Hall.

11042014stencilaptsDeveloper and builder Nate Stencil and his partner, Sean A. Kaufhold, plan to build a six-story apartment complex with 3,100-square-feet of retail space on the main level and underground parking for residents.

"We're really excited about this project," Stencil said on Monday. He expects construction to begin in early spring 2015 and the complex to be completed in spring 2016.

To clear the way for the project, his company purchased the former flower shop at 410 Third Ave. S.E. for $450,000 on Oct. 15 and followed up with a $600,000 buy on Oct. 22 of the Buckeye Liquor building and nearby parking lots. Stencil bought those properties from Kevin Patton, the owner of Flowers By Jerry.

"I just think it is going to be nice to put something there to revitalize the neighborhood," Patton said.

Diane and Robert Satterwhite, who operate Buckeye Liquor and now lease from Stencil, said they will move their liquor store and continue to serve Rochester. However, no timeline for that has been determined.

The developers also recently purchased the 3rd Avenue Pet Hospital at 414 Third Ave. S.E. Dr. Caroline Baihly, who has owned 3rd Avenue since 1998, is essentially merging her clinic with the Quarry Hill Animal Hospital. After Nov. 24, Dr. Baihly and the other doctors at Quarry Hill will serve her client list.

"At this point, I looking forward to the change," she said.

With the surge of Destination Medical Center-driven development, this was something Baihly expected to happen eventually.

"I looked at the practicality of the whole thing," she said. "It seems when I look at the DMC map that this whole area is included. I think DMC has a lot to do with it."

Stencil said DMC did have something to do with the Third Avenue project, though it cropped up after they already had decided to invest in Rochester. He began working with Rochester Realtor Merl Groteboer about three years ago.

"When we started, DMC wasn't even on our radar. We were well into planning before we even heard about it," he said. "Though the project in downtown was probably influenced by it."

Second project

Stencil and his partner also have lined up property near the 65th Street Northwest interchange across U.S. 52 from the new North Menards store. Construction of the 83-unit Woodland Park apartments began there a few weeks ago. Stencil said he expects Woodland, which architecturally will be similar to the Metropolitan Marketplace complex, to be completed by late spring to early summer.

Work on Stencil's third complex, Kascade Place, is expected to begin nearby soon after Thanksgiving. It will have 96 apartments.

Those apartments, along with the proposed downtown ones, will be priced comparably to other market rate units in Rochester, he said. That means rents ranging from $900 to $1,000 a month.

"We feel very good about the market apart from DMC," said Stencil. "We believe the need for housing is coming as part of Rochester's natural growth."

October 13, 2014

New biotech office launches in Rochester

This one seems to have a lot of local momentum behind it.

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The health care technology arm of a Sri Lanka-based company is officially launching its Rochester office on Tuesday morning.

Brandix i310132014brandixoffice is hosting a grand opening in the morning of its 2,000-square-foot office on the skyway level of Minnesota BioBusiness Center at 221 First Ave. S.W.

The software development firm has been working out of a spot in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, since early summer. The business accelerator is located on the same floor of the Biobusiness Center as Brandix's new office.

Aaron Epps, Brandix's associate vice president of health care, said earlier this year that office would launch with six employees, though he expects it to grow to 12 by the end of the year

"We want to be part of the Destination Medical Center project," he said. "We're looking to expand quickly. We're a start-up, but we're a start-up with the backing of a large 10132014brandixskywaysigncompany."

Brandix's focus is to work with its local partner, Rochester-based Ambient Clinical Analytics. Ambient makes "real-time decision support tools" for doctors and nurses working in the ICU, operating room or emergency departments.

Mayo Clinic launched Ambient in 2013, and it named Al Berning as CEO. Berning is known in Rochester as a former IBMer, a co-founder of Pemstar and former CEO of Hardcore Computers/LiquidCool Solutions. Ambient's management team includes other local business leaders, like former long-time IBM executives Drew Flaada and Deb Sutherland.

Brandix has a three-year lease with the City of Rochester. It pays $20 per rentable foot
is In addition to the leasing the 2,000-square-feet, Brandix's lease promises "first right of refusal" for the other 2,000 square feet of adjacent vacant space to the west.

The city gave Brandix "a one-time fit-up allowance" of $10 per square foot, or $20,000, to build out its offices.

Mayo, Cardio3 sign deal to expand collaboration

Mayo Clinic has deepened its long-time relationship with Cardio3 Biosciences by giving the Belgium firm "preferred access" to new regenerative-medicine discoveries.

Having preferred access means staff from Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine meet with Cardio3 on a quarterly basis to discuss technologies and research that are in the "pipeline," according to Michael Pfenning, center administrator. This gives Cardio3 the first chance to ask to license, purchase or otherwise work with the center's regenerative-medicine research.

008661829The access began on Oct. 1 and runs to December 2017. It then could be extended, if both parties agree.

Mayo Clinic and Cardio3 have collaborated for many years on the cardiopoiesis technology the company uses to repair patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cell to regenerate cardiac tissue. Cardiopoiesis is a process that "re-programs" stem cells taken from a patient's bone marrow from their hip. Those re-programmed cells then are injected back into the patient's heart to repair damaged tissue.

Cardio3 BioSciences has licensed Mayo Clinic's research in this area, since 2007. That research was led by Mayo Clinic's Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar. Dr. Terzic, who along with Mayo Clinic has a financial interest in Cardio3, also is the director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine.

Mayo Clinic is helping Cardio3 with its new phase III clinical trial of its regenerative therapy. The trial is approved to recruit up to 240 patients and it is expected to begin in January. Rochester Area Economic Development Inc., the City of Rochester and Mayo Clinic are establishing a 2,000-square-foot facility in the Minnesota Biobusiness Center to freeze and prepare patient samples for shipping to Belgium.

"We have a great relationship with them from a commercialization perspective," said Timothy Argo, a technology licensing manager of Mayo Clinic Ventures. "From our perspective, this is all about finding ways to get things from our labs to patients faster."

Cardio3 sees the new relationship as a win-win.

“Mayo will continue to invent new concepts, while Cardio3 will offer its development expertise to those technologies, as well as guidance in the early development phases to the Mayo research teams," stated Cardio3 CEO Dr. Christian Homsy in the announcement of the deal. "This agreement is in line with our business development strategy defined earlier this year, and enables our company to rapidly and significantly enlarge its product portfolio with high quality research programs across multiple therapeutic areas.”