News Business Sports Entertainment Life Obituaries Opinion
Jobs Homes Cars Classifieds Shopping

Search PB Blogs



477 posts categorized "Health business"

November 04, 2015

What's the skinny on new subway spa?

A well-known Rochester downtown subway business now has more skin in the game with the opening of Total Image Esthetic Center.

Hillary Seltun opened the new medical spa in the Kahler Hotel subway, across the hallway from Hanny's, on Oct. 30. She owns the spa with her husband, Joseph Seltun. They also own the nearby Total Image Hair Salon, which has operated in the subway for more that 50 years.

TemplogoThe Seltuns' skin services out grew the treatment room at Total Image Salon and the Kahler offered them more space as another spa closed and sold off its equipment, said Hillary Seltun.

"It all just came together at the right time," she said. "It just made sense to expand."

The new center offers a full array of skin services including facials, Botox, massage, chemical peels, laser treatment, makeovers, spray tan and a eyelash/eyebrow bar. They also offer bridal packages in conjunction with the Kahler Hotel.

While some other spas in Rochester offer similar services, the Seltuns are comfortable with opening a new competitor.

"I feel like there is more than enough demand. And I think we're a little bit different," Hillary said. "We understand a woman's need to feel good as well as look good."

Being in the subway also may give them an edge.

"I feel like the subway system is kind of like its own a city within a city," she said. 

October 28, 2015

New Roch. substation planned for Epic, Mayo Clinic growth

Mayo Clinic's partnership with Epic Systems, the largest electronic medical records firm in the United States, is driving the construction of a new $6.1 million Rochester Public Utilities substation.

Epic_Systems_112109_SignVerona, Wis.-based Epic Systems has been negotiating with RPU since June about the project. Epic says it needs more power capacity in the area to support future growth of the Mayo Clinic Data Center at 4710 West Circle Drive. The new Douglas Trail substation is slated to be built by the data center on land currently owned by Mayo Clinic.

The RPU board approved a "memorandum of understanding" about the project with Epic at its Tuesday night meeting. An escrow account already has been set up to fund project.

The memorandum states, "Due to the planned transfer of selected Mayo Data Center assets to Epic, Epic requests incremental electrical capability and capacity, needed to accommodate projected business growth in forward years…"
Epic has agreed to pay for the majority of the $6.1 million project, with RPU contributing $1.016 million for additional features that Epic doesn't need. The agreement also allows for Epic to apply  Mayo4710technologyparkfor up to $2.03 million in rebates over 10 years. The goal is to have the new substation up and running at least by April 1, 2017.

Rochester attorney Mark Utz spoke to the board as a representative of Epic. He said the deal  "Provides capacity not just for Epic, but a tremendous opportunity for the city of Rochester … to have a third substation in an incredible quadrant for Rochester. This is a win/win for the community, for RPU and for Epic."

Bruce Richards, Epic's director of facilities and engineering, assured the board his company is serious about coming to Rochester.

"This is a long-term situation for us. We're bringing in quite a few people to town," he said. "We'll start out with 80 to 90 people to the data center to work with Mayo Clinic."

Richards told the RPU board the additional capacity is needed for the potential that the current data center could grow to three times its current size.

Mayo Clinic built the $33.7 million, 60,000-square-foot computer support center in 2012. The data center was built to support all three of Mayo Clinic's campuses — Rochester, Jacksonville, Fla., and Scottsdale, Ariz.

"Epic is expected to take title of the property nominally in December 2015, with site grading to begin in spring 2016, according to the RPU/Epic agreement. The agreement also states that, "It is contemplated that the City of Rochester, for the benefit of RPU, will acquire from Epic the title of the real estate where the substation and related infrastructure will be located.

Richards did not elaborate on what Epic plans to do at Mayo Data Center, though remote hosting medical records is a possibility. In recent years, Epic built a massive data center in Verona, Wis. to offer remote medical record hosting for its clients.

6a00d83451cc8269e201b7c791bc82970b-800wiEpic and Mayo Clinic began working together early this year, when Mayo chose Epic to handle Mayo Clinic's electronic medical records. The relationship is developing into a close collaboration. Mayo's Chief Administration Officer Jeff Bolton has said that Epic has shown "a strong interest" in being part of the planned Discovery Square development in downtown Rochester. Discovery Square is part of Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative.

Epic has about 8,000 employees and had $1.8 billion in revenues in 2014. Epic's software already is used by about 350 health-care organizations that care for 54 percent of U.S. patients.

Mayo Clinic is not Epic's only major partner in northwest Rochester. In May, IBM Watson Health, the health care unit of IBM, announced it has begun working with Epic as well as Mayo Clinic to add the Watson' super computer's cognitive capabilities to electronic health records. It's not clear if IBM is involved in the West Circle Drive data center project.

October 19, 2015

Does Mayo Clinic + ex-US Postal center = dirty laundry?

Is dirty laundry in the mix as Mayo Clinic figures out how to use the ex-U.S. Postal Service facility it bought in July?

The buzz in the local spin cycle is that Mayo Clinic might convert the 72,662-square-foot facility at 3939 Valleyhigh Drive into a commercial laundry. Right now, Mayo Clinic contracts with the Kahler Hospitality Group's Textile Care Services to clean the mountains of dirty linen it produces every day.

FireShot Capture - 3676 Valleyhigh Dr NW - Google Maps_ - original Kahler Hotel owners and Mayo Clinic started TCS in 1918 as a joint operation. Mayo Clinic pulled out of ownership in 1996 and has contracted with Textile Care ever since.

Officials at Textile Care had no comment on the rumor. Mayo Clinic didn't really answer the question, but it did offer up a cryptic statement.

6a00d83451cc8269e2014e889d360b970d-800wi"No decisions have been made regarding use of the former U.S. Postal building. Mayo Clinic has an agreement with Textile Care Services that extends into 2018 and potentially longer," wrote Mayo's Kelley Luckstein in an email.

So … does that mean maybe? I guess it'll all eventually come out in the wash.

October 01, 2015

A Mayo Clinic linked firm working with DMC planner to develop new Madison biosciences hub

A firm with deep ties to Mayo Clinic is making a move to anchor a downtown Madison, Wis., biosciences hub with help from the development manager of Rochester's Destination Medical Center initiative.

Exact Sciences Corp. licensed technology from Mayo Clinic in 2009 and 2012 for Cologuard, a stool-based DNA test for colorectal cancer. The test is based on research by Mayo Clinic's Dr. David A. Ahlquist and his laboratory.

LogoOriginally based in Boston, city officials at one point hoped Exact would move to Rochester. However, Madison gave the company $1 million to move its headquarters there in 2009.

Since then, the company has flourished, and now it's planning to build a new $200 million, 250,000-square-foot headquarters in downtown Madison with $46.7 million in financial aid from the city.The Madison City Council recently OKed the deal, which requires that Exact will have 400 employees in the building by 2019.

The developer of the project is JDS Development LLC, which is a joint venture between Hammes Co. and Majestic Realty. Hammes is the Wisconsin consultant that is in charge of DMC. It also is working directly with Mayo Clinic on the Discovery Square portion of the DMC project. Hammes also has been hired by the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau to do a feasibility study for the proposed hockey arena to house a possible US Hockey League team here.

Hammesco_blue_logoHammes' Exact development will include a 250 room hotel, a food court, health and wellness facility, conference and media centers and lots of room for retail and restaurants.

Exact CEO Kevin Conroy told the Madison City Council that, "We hope that by having a life science company headquarters in downtown Madison, it will spur economic development throughout the region and have a positive impact on downtown."

September 01, 2015

Celyad, Medisun collaborating on new China deal

Two international firms with deep Mayo Clinic and Rochester ties are joining forces for a new $22.4 million collaboration. 

Belgium-based Celyad, formerly called Cardio3, announced Monday it's entering into a new venture and distribution deal with its partner, Medisun International Limited, for its C-Cure cardiac treatment. C-Cure is based on stem-cell technology called cardiopoiesis licensed from Mayo Clinic.

CelyadBoth Celyad and the Hong Kong-based Medisun continue to collaborate with Mayo Clinic and both are in the process of creating facilities in Rochester.

This new 15-year agreement between Celyad and Medisun guarantees Celyad will "conduct all clinical development and undertake any regulatory steps necessary for market approval in China, Hong-Kong, Taiwan and Macau (collectively 'Greater China')," according to a news release about the venture.

Medisun will fund that push with a minimum of 20 million Euros, or $22.4 million. In addition to the funding cash, Celyad will collect royalties and profit sharing. The royalty rates, based on the total revenues from C-Cure, are expected to range from 10 percent to 30 percent. Profit-sharing amounts will be based on total revenues after royalties are taken out. The profit sharing is expected to range from 20 to 25 percent.

"We are pleased to have this new license agreement in place with our local partner Medisun, which give us full control over clinical developments in these territories, fully funded by our local partner. Pending receipt of necessary approvals, we look forward to giving access to this technology to patients in Greater China," stated Celyad CEO Christian Homsy in the release.

6a00d83451cc8269e201b8d0c98293970c-120wiCelyad is paying rent on the entire fifth floor, or 14,963 square feet, 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 downtown building. Construction has been underway for months, but is not yet completed. 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.

Local officials hope to convince Celyad to build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with 350 employees in Rochester, according to officials at Rochester Area Economic Development Inc.  Celyad also has plans to build a U.S. headquarters in Boston.

The company recently reported a $17.04 million loss for the first half of 2015. It lost $18.1 million for the whole year in 2014, up from $15.9 million in losses in 2013. Dr. Homsy told Reuters last week the company has enough cash to make it through the end of 2017.

The company did an initial public stock offering in 2014, which yielded about $500,000 worth of shares for Mayo Clinic.

Medisun also is collaborating with Mayo Clinic on a project to bring more patients from China to Rochester for treatment. While Medisun began building a $1 million office in the H3 Plaza building in downtown Rochester earlier this year, it recently put an end to that project.

Mayo Clinic, however, has confirmed it still is working with Medisun. Mayo Clinic spokeswoman Duska Anastasijevic said she didn't believe "the scope and nature of the relationship has been impacted or altered, just the planned location of their offices has changed." 

She added that Mayo staff working with Medisun said the company will be using one of its Rochester homes as "a guest house" and headquarters for the project. Medisun CEO Danny Wong personally owns two houses in Rochester. He bought a house at 2515 Crest Lane SW for $1.4 million as well as one at 615 10th Ave. SW for $1.31 million. It is not known which property will serve as the guest house.

August 19, 2015

Mayo Clinic officially opens Mayo Medical Labs expansion

About a year after breaking ground on the project, Mayo Clinic officially opened a 60,000-square-foot expansion of its Superior Drive Support Center on Tuesday.

The Superior Drive Support Center, which houses Mayo Medical Laboratories, is located at 3050 Superior Drive NW. The three-story addition built on the south side of the complex. Mayo Clinic is moving its the toxicology, endocrinology and proteomic core labs to the new space from downtown. They expect to be fully moved in by April.

Moving those three labs out of the Hilton Building will open up 24,000-square-feet of space. While this expansion will not bring new jobs, it will mean moving 150 to 170 people out of downtown to join the more than 1,000 Mayo Medical Labs employees at the Superior Drive complex.

"That's essential to allow other Mayo labs to decompress," said Dr. Matt Binnicker, the chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology's Facilities and Space Committee, in 2014. "Having those labs here makes a lot of sense."

Mayo Medical Labs, which generates revenue for Mayo Clinic, performs about 20 million tests for more than 4,000 hospitals annually.

Binnicker explained that while the three labs handle tests for both Mayo Clinic's patients and Mayo Medical Labs clinical customers, about 90 to 95 percent of their work is for MML.

Mayo Clinic moved into the 13-year-old complex in 2004. By 2011, about 800 employees worked at the facility. It originally was built by electronics manufacturer Celestica Inc. in 2001. When that company closed its Rochester operation, the building was left empty.

Mayo Clinic leased the property for eight years, until it paid $18.5 million in August 2012 to buy it. Before that, it was owned by 17 national investors through Triple Net Properties of Santa Ana, Calif., until they defaulted on the mortgage in 2012. The investors bought the property for $36.8 million in 2006.

When the mortgage defaulted, HSBC Bank USA took over the property. HSCB then sold it to Mayo Clinic.

While it originally was under construction, New York City-based W. P. Carey & Co. LLC bought the complex from Celestica, which leased it back. W.P. Carey later sold it for about 70 percent more than the $21.6 million it paid.

August 10, 2015

TapImmune using Mayo Clinic tech for possible cancer vaccine


Assistant Manager Editor Mike Klein spotlighted a press announcement from a Seattle-based biotech company called TapImmune Inc. working with Mayo Clinic this morning.

I remember in 2010, when TapImmune first licensed Mayo Clinic technology and began collaborating with Mayo's world-renowned vaccine exTapimmunelogopert, Dr. Gregory Poland.

At that point, they were working with a Small Pox construct to create the vaccine for cancer as well as other infectious threats like, Ebola.

In May of this year, reports came out about Mayo Clinic's Dr. Edith Perez saying how this vaccine changed her view towards preventative medicine. She is working with TapImmune oon applying the vaccine to fight breast cancer.

TapImmune had only $142,000 in and $3.3 million in losses at that point in May.

This appears to be a promising company with deep ties to Mayo Clinic. It seems like a good candidate to based in Rochester rather than someplace like Seattle.

Here's some of what Klein filed on this for today's paper:

Seattle-based TapImmune Inc. has exercised its option agreement with Mayo Clinic to use its technology in a possible vaccine for certain types of cancer, it announced.

TapImmune signed a worldwide exclusive license agreement to commercialize a "proprietary folate receptor alpha vaccine technology for all cancer indications."

This technology, developed in the laboratory of Keith Knutson at Mayo, has successfully completed Phase I clinical trials in ovarian and triple-negative breast cancer. The trial demonstrated the experimental therapy was "safe, well-tolerated, provided a robust immune response," according to the news release. Next, TapImmune plans a Phase II clinical trial in the second half of the year.

TapImmune CEO Dr. Glynn Wilson said the company's future clinical programs will be "aimed at developing this leading vaccine candidate as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with other immunotherapies."

Mayo Clinic has a financial interest in the technology.

August 05, 2015

Insurer expands relationship with Mayo Clinic to bring more patients here

Two Minnesota health-care giants, Mayo Clinic and UnitedHealth Group, are joining forces to bring thousands of new patients to Rochester and other Mayo sites for treatment.

The Eden Prairie-based insurance provider UnitedHealth announced today it will recommend that patients with certain conditions travel to Mayo Clinic for care, through UnitedHealth's Optum Centers of Excellence Program.

800px-Gonda_building,_closer_upCompanies can sign up for coverage under the Centers of Excellence through UnitedHealth or directly through Optum. That means referring patients to designated sites, such as Mayo Clinic's campuses in Rochester, Florida and Arizona, for treatment. Participating in the program may include some coverage of travel and lodging costs.

Mayo Clinic has been listed by Optum as a Center for Excellence for organ transplants for 11 years. Optum says it makes more than 14,000 transplant referrals a year. Neither group said how many Optum organ transplant referrals come to Mayo Clinic each year.

Today's announcement adds the three Mayo Clinic locations to the list of preferred sites for treatment of cancer, heart failure, congenital heart disease, infertility and bariatric surgery.

“This expanded relationship with Mayo Clinic provides patients in participating health plans from around the country with greater access to clinically superior, cost-effective health care,” stated Mike Weissel of Optum Consumer Solutions in today's announcement.

Neither Mayo Clinic nor UnitedHealth released any estimates on how many more patients this might bring to Mayo Clinic or how much money it might bring in for Mayo Clinic. However, it clearly could be a great boon for the medical center and communities such as Rochester.

All of the new conditions added to list are major medical treatments. A look at just bariatric surgery shows the potential for growth. 

Mayo Clinic reports it performs more than 300 bariatric surgeries a year in Rochester. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery estimated a total of 179,000 bariatric surgeries were performed in the U.S. in 2013.

Both Mayo and Optum stressed how this new relationship will benefit patients by providing "access to high-quality, cost-effective care."

“Health plans and employers know the value of sending patients with complex and or rare conditions to high-quality centers such as Mayo Clinic,” said Dr. Charles Rosen, Mayo Clinic's medical director of contracting and payer relations.

Today's announcement marks the latest collaboration between Mayo Clinic and UnitedHealth/ Optum. Earlier this year, Mayo Clinic announced its partnership with Optum360 for revenue management services.

In 2013, they launched "a strategic research alliance"  to create a state-of-the-art facility in Cambridge, Mass under the umbrella of OptumLabs. OptumLabs is a for-profit unit of UnitedHealthcare's Optum division, which earned $1.3 billion in 2011. 

The research facility today has 22 major corporate partners and has more than 100 studies in process.

Boston Scientific buys major stake in local firm, Preventice

Preventice Solutions, a maker of wearable cardiac monitors with deep Rochester roots, is getting a major boost from a medical giant.

Boston Scientific Corp. announced Tuesday it now is "a significant shareholder" in Preventice as well as its "exclusive worldwide sales and marketing representative."

Preventice, which has a large development center in northwest Rochester, makes the wearable BodyGuardian Remote Monitoring System, developed from research licensed from Mayo.

144536The new deal clears the way for Preventice to reach the remote monitoring market estimated to total $19 billion to $21 billion by 2016. Experts anticipate almost five million patients will be using some type of wireless monitoring by then.

"As our health-care environment continues to evolve, health-care practitioners, administrators and payors are looking for solutions that identify relevant clinical insights from large volumes of patient data and integrate those insights to improve clinical decision-making," said Boston Science Executive Vice President Joe Fitzgerald in Tuesday's announcement.

Fitzgerald described Preventice as having "an infrastructure optimized to monitor hundreds of thousands of patients each year."

The privately owned firm has grown quickly since being launched in 2007 with only its founders on staff. Preventice evolved from Boost Information Services. It was founded by Jon Otterstatter, Greg Wobig, Dan Spors and Scott Burrichter.

Preventice started as a developer of medical information smartphone apps, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic and Merck. Then it shifted gears to begin developing wearable cardiac monitors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its wireless BodyGuardian monitor to be prescribed to track nonlethal arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeats, in 2012.

In 2013, Preventice began shipping out its BodyGuardian systems to feed what CEO Otterstatter described then as the health-care industry's growing "fever" for remote medical monitoring. That year, it expanded to about 100 employees, with about half in Preventice's Rochester offices. Based in Minneapolis, Preventice also has an office in Fargo, N.D.

Preventice Solutions merged with Houston, Texas-based eCardio Diagnostics in 2014, under the holding company of Preventice Inc.

July 28, 2015

Mayo Clinic-linked NeoChord on 'Hot Devices We Can't Get in US' list

NeoChord, a medical device firm I first wrote about in 2007, made a top 10 list this week on the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry news site.

They posted a "10 Hot Devices We can't Get in the US" list on their Device Talk blog with this set-up text block:

Patients in the United States enjoy some of the best medical care in the world, but many observers worry that the country's regulatory environment is pushing medical innovation to other shores. Whether you believe FDA oversight is too stringent, too lax, or strikes the right balance, there are numerous medical devices that have achieved CE Marking, but aren't yet FDA approved.

NeoChord's DS1000 made the list. It earned a CE Marking in December 2012 but does not have FDA approval.


The Eden Prairie-based NeoChord surfaced locally in 2007, when it licensed technology designed byMayo Clinic cardiac surgeons Dr. Richard Daly and Dr. Giovanni Speziali. Speziali was named as the company's chief medical officer in 2013. 

NeoChord-DS1000Beside licensing its technology, Mayo Clinic has also previously invested in NeoChord. 

The NeoChord DS1000 device is used to treat a heart condition called mitral regurgitation. Mitral regurgitation means the valve or leaflet that controls the flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle is not working properly.

Treatment typically consists of “cracking the chest,” stopping the heart and doing surgery. NeoChord's approach is much less invasive and can be done on a beating heart.

A tool is inserted between the ribs and into the heart. Then it is used to attach a chord to the faulty valve leaflet, which is tethered to the heart.

The market for less invasive techniques for mitral valve repair has been estimated at more than $2 billion.