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April 10, 2015

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:

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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.

April 02, 2015

Cardio3 announces plans for IPO in the U.S.

Cardio3 Biosciences, the Belgium-based biotech firm building a manufacturing facility in downtown Rochester, has announced plans to issue stock in the U.S. Logo cardio 3

Cardio3 BioSciences, which works closely with Mayo Clinic and has its U.S. headquarters in Boston, Mass., confidentially filed  "a draft registration statement" with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this  week about its intention.

The eight-year-old regenerative medicine company  is already publicly listed on the European stock markets of NYSE Euronext Brussels and NYSE Euronext Paris. However, issuing an IPO in the U.S. would significantly boost its finances and garner the firm a lot more attention.

Such a move could benefit Mayo Clinic, which owned 2.69 percent of Cardio3, as of March 3. 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. Its cardiopoiesis technology repairs patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cell to regenerate cardiac tissue.

This week's  statement stressed that the possibility of a Cardio3 IPO is still in the very early stages.

"The timing, number of shares and price of the proposed offering have not yet been determined," according to the firm.

This filing follows last week's financial report that showed it lost $18.1 million in 2014, up from the $15.9 million it lost in 2013.

That annual report also highlighted "a non-exclusive preferred access agreement" signed with Mayo Clinic in October that cleared the way for Cardio3 to build a facility in the City of Rochester's Minnesota BioBusiness Center building.

"With this agreement, Cardio3 BioSciences agreed to give preferred consideration for Rochester, Minnesota to the U.S. to build a manufacturing facility for the production of C-Cure, at a facility located adjacent to the campus of the Mayo Clinic, and the Mayo Clinic agreed to periodically review with Cardio3 BioSciences its portfolio of regenerative medicine technologies, including in the areas of cardiology and oncology, with a view towards future potential licensing," according to the Cardio3 report.

March 31, 2015

Newt's South ready to start cooking

Editor's note - Tip of the hat to Sean Baker of the Med City Beat for reporting on this opening first. Keep up the good work.

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The new Newt's South will open its doors at 11 a.m. Wednesday, which brings the Currie brothers tally of Rochester restaurants to nine.

Restaurateurs David and Mark Currie built their latest restaurant/bar in front of Rochester's Crossroads Shopping Center.

It's serving the same full Newt's menu that's served at the original downtown Newt's, Newt's North and Newt's Express. However, this new Newt's will have 20 beers oNewtssouthatcrossroadsn tap, more than the other locations. Plus it will not serve breakfast, like Newt's North does.

The Curries have a team of about 30 staffing the new Crossroads location. That's brings the grand total of their Rochester employees to 172. That includes the four Newt's, two City Markets, City Cafe, 300 First and the Redwood Room.

"People seem really excited about it. We've had a steady stream of people coming up to the doors, since we put the signs up," said David Currie.

They built this new Newt's on the former location of Tasos Psomas' Pannekoeken Huis restaurant between the Andy's Liquor store and Home Federal Savings Bank.

Tom Graf bought Pannekoeken and demolished it in 2011 with the intention to build a second Buffalo Wild Wings. However, a legal battle with the Crossroads Shopping Center over parked quashed that plan. That's when the Curries came into the picture.

This is the first restaurant they've built from the ground up, though it looks a lot like the unusual, angular Wallins West building that houses Newt's North. That Newt's opened at 5231 U.S. 52 Frontage Road NW in 2011.

"That was very purposeful," said David Currie on Tuesday. "It is our intention to create brand standard look."

While haven't decided anything yet, the brothers are mulling over the possibility of the opening a Newt's outside of Rochester. Of course, they still have plenty on their plates in Rochester at the moment.

"It keeps us busy," he said.

March 30, 2015

Rochester's Kismet to open the door to 'Mad Men' style

Behind door #1 is a blast from the past plus a new name on Rochester's North Broadway block of consignment shopping.

KismetdoorPenny Bracken, known for her three Kismet stores on the 600 block of North Broadway, closed off the back third of the Kismet Home store with a sliding, barn-style door this winter. The mysterious door has spurred her loyal customers to speculate for months about what's behind it.

And now as spring slowly starts in Minnesota, Bracken is ready to unveil her winter project. The doors will officially open on Wednesday, though she isn't waiting until April 1 to discuss it.

"It's called Kismet Etc.," she said. "That's where we've been collecting hip, modern furniture and decor with that clean 'Mad Men,' Boho chic style."

Bracken says she and her staff have been watching the interest in this style grow over the past couple of years and they decided to create an area to spotlight it for shoppers.

"The trend right now is that people, especially young people, are really attracted to the clean lines of this mid-century style," said Bracken.

She also has changes planned for the exterior of the 611 North Broadway store. The name, Kismet Etc., will go up on the sign outside. That will make the lineup of stores on "Penny Lane" as Kismet Consignment Fashions at 601 N. Broadway, Kismet Central at 607 N. Broadway and Kismet Etc. at 611 North Broadway.

Besides opening the doors on Wednesday, a Kismet spring tradition also will happen on Wednesday. The new Kismet billboard will go up over the store. While "Chloe," the stylish woman in the hat, will still be part of it, a new circular wave design will make its appearance as Kismet's new logo. Look for Chloe to be holding it.

The long mural on the side of the 611 North Broadway building also will be updated to reflect the new look and style. Bracken is planning to take down about 16 feet of the current mural and have it replaced by new work by popular Rochester muralist Greg Wimmer. 

March 26, 2015

Furniture store owners buy building for $5 million

A year after quadrupling the size of their businesses by leasing the former Menards North store, two Rochester retailers have purchased the building for $5 million.

Jim Sather and Mark Byer moved Furniture Superstore and America's Mattress into the complex at 5150 U.S. 52 North last spring, shortly after Mernards moved to a new store. They were leasing the huge store and the surrounding 10 acres of property with an option to buy it after a year.

They closed on the deal to buy it for $5.09 million from John Mernard Jr. on March 17.

"Our intent all along was to buy the building," Sather said Wednesday. "Business has been stellar here. That and outstanding support from Bremer Bank helped make this happen. It's a big deal for us."

Sather and Byer also bought the adjacent Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store for $2.4 million on the same day, but they immediately sold it to Rochester-based Brackenridge 52 LLC for $3.4 million. While it's unclear who the new owners are, it appears the very successful Jo-Ann Fabric store will remain where it is for now.

Now that they own the building, Sather and Byer plan to upgrade their store. The first step is to remodel inside the store and then reface the building within the next 12 months or so, Sather said.

A team of 18 employees staff the furniture/mattress store. However, it isn't just retail sales that's driving the business. They are renting out portions of the former Menards outdoor lumber yard for boat and RV storage. Other businesses, including a trucking firm, are  using the yard for storage.

They also are considering other business possibilities on the land in front of and behind the facility.

"We'll see what happens," Sather said.