Here's some from an article by Jeff Hansel about the first business pledging to open in Pine Island's planned Elk Run biobusiness park.
This is an interesting project. Of course, the company still needs about $3.5 million to make this happen, but it is more of a commitment than we've heard before.
Hansel first wrote about this in the weekend paper and this is a follow-up from a state biotech conference Tuesday. The whole article is in the print edition.
For the record, I did not write this lead. However, I wish I had. Heh.
A Minnesota researcher wants to make dairy cattle less horny.
Scott Fahrenkrug, CEO of biotech startup Recombinetics, told more than 200 of the state's biotech leaders that his company recently signed a mutli-year contract to develop hornless dairy cattle so they're safer to work with.
Recombinetics is also the first company to publicly announce it's in talks to base its business at Pine Island's planned Elk Run biobusiness park.
However, Fahrenkrug emphasizes that the letter of intent means simply that there's an "intent to explore the design and financing of the facility." That means no money has thus far changed hands, and neither Elk Run nor Recombinetics is contractually obligated to build the facility.
Recombinetics scientists plan to add the naturally occurring beef cattle gene to dairy cows to elimnate the horns.
Recombinetics also plans to house 50 to 100 pigs at Elk Run.
Elk Run is perfect for a swine "nucleus herd," Fahrenkrug said, because it's five miles from any other swine production. The Pine Island laboratory will work on the development of pigs that are genetically susceptible to some of the major chronic human diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Once a line of pigs gets developed, Recombinetics will seek farmers able to raise them for sale to research labs nationwide — the same way farmers raise hybrid pigs.
The company needs to raise $3.5 million to jumpstart its Elk Run plans, and it's looking for investors.
"We're ready to get serious here in Minnesota," Fahrenkrug said. But he was blunt about the need for Minnesota funding, and its availability elsewhere.
"If we can't get what we need here, we'll go someplace else," he said, noting other states are courting the company.