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

18 posts categorized "Patent news"

November 14, 2014

Ex-Mayo doc "feared retribution against himself and his family"

It has been an interesting week in the Mayo Clinic vs Dr. Franklin Cockerill legal tussle. So Cockerill's lawyers filed a motion Wednesday to modify the temporary restraining order that blocks Cockerill from working for Quest Diagnostics PLUS a detailed affidavit from Cockerill explaining his side of the case.

So the PB court reporter Kay Fate printed out the documents for me on Thursday and I wrote an article based on the filings last night. The twist here is that Cockerill's legal team withdrew the filings Thursday, after we printed them out.

The upshot is that my article is still running today in the PB. Here's some of it. The full piece is in today's paper:

A former Mayo Clinic doctor and executive said he did not tell Dr. John Noseworthy about his plans to work for a Mayo competitor because he "feared retribution against himself and his family."

CockerillDr. Franklin R. Cockerill III, the former CEO of Mayo Medical Labs, took early retirement at the end of September. However, instead of retiring, he stepped into a new job on Oct. 1 with Quest Diagnostics Inc.

The clinic filed a lawsuit against Cockerill over his decision to not tell Mayo Clinic he had been hired by a competitor; he told co-workers he intended to run his elderly mother's farming business.

The suit claims he misled everyone so he could acquire sensitive competitive information for his new employer. As part of that suit, a temporary restraining order was issued on Oct. 14 that prevented him from working at Quest because he could cause "irreparable harm" to Mayo Clinic.

Members_009-questCockerill filed a motion Wednesday to modify that order to allow him begin his role as Quest's chief lab officer because the person he is to replace will retire at the end of December. However, his lawyers withdrew the filing on Thursday and also withdrew an affidavit that detailed his version of the events surrounding his departure from Mayo after a more than 30-year career there.

However, the withdrawal came after the Post-Bulletin obtained a copy of the affidavit.

"It is now plain that the draconian restrictions that Plaintiffs obtained from this Court and that Dr. Cockerill had no opportunity to oppose are not consistent with Minnesota law and are entirely inappropriate," according to the original filing made by his lawyers from the Minneapolis firm of Lindquist & Vennum.

Cockerill contends Mayo Clinic had approached him with an attractive early retirement offer as his final two-year term as a department head was coming to an end. When asked for a response, Mayo Clinic denied that.

"Claims of an early retirement offer are completely false, and we were prepared to file documentation to prove it," said Mayo spokesman Bryan Anderson this morning.

In his affidavit, Cockerill says he announced his retirement in July, with plans to help his mother, and then he was asked by a Quest recruiter to interview for a position there. He eventually accepted a job with the condition that he work from Rochester, instead of the company's New Jersey headquarters.

Cockerill stressed in his filing he did not make the change to make more money. Mayo Medical Labs is the third largest laboratory company in U.S. and generates "a significant proportion of Mayo's profits." He had made about $580,000 a year at Mayo Clinic. At Quest, he will earn an annual salary of $400,000.

"I left my employment at Mayo reluctantly and only due to the convergence of several factors that arose as I enter the last stages of my professional career," he wrote in the filing. "Finally, in addition to limitation on the role I could still play at Mayo, my interest in the Quest position, and the attractive Mayo early-retirement offer, my decision to change employment was also influenced by my belief that the environment at Mayo had negatively changed over the past five years. Staff satisfaction has declined, burnout has significantly increased, and many people have grown afraid to speak up and voice their opinions."

October 15, 2014

Ex-Mayo exec accused of stealing trade secrets

A former top Mayo Clinic executive is being sued for allegedly hiding his hiring by a competitor of Mayo Medical Laboratories for months while he continued to work for Mayo and for stealing trade secrets.

Franklin-cockerillMayo Clinic filed a lawsuit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract against Dr. Franklin R. Cockerill III, who was president and chief executive officer of the for-profit Mayo Medical Labs for eight years. The case was filed Tuesday in Olmsted County District Court. Mayo Clinic released the lawsuit to the media this morning.
 
A Mayo Clinic statement released by Bryan Anderson this morning said, “We do not take this action lightly. Dr. Cockerill was a valued Mayo Clinic clinician, leader and colleague.  We will vigorously defend and protect our intellectual property to ensure we can continue to meet our charitable mission,"

A call to Dr. Cockerill's southwest Rochester residence went unanswered this morning. Asked to comment, Quest Director of Media Relations Wendy Bost said the company received the complaint this morning and is reviewing it. "We do not comment on pending litigation," Bost said.

According to the complaint:

On July 17, an emotional Cockerill told his department that he was "retiring" to help his 85-year-old mother run her fertilizer business in Nebraska. Co-workers lauded his almost 30-year career with Mayo Clinic and gave him an appreciative send-off that built up to his final day of work on Sept. 30.

All of that changed on Oct. 1. Instead of retiring to Nebraska, Cockerill went to New Jersey to work for a major MML competitor, Quest Diagnostics Inc. He stepped into the position of vice president and chief laboratory officer for the multibillion public company.

Using emails as evidence, Mayo Clinic contends Cockerill had been talking to Quest about a job since February. He had a phone interview with Quest in March followed by a face-to-face interview in May, when Cockerill said he needed the time off to help his mother with a business problem. The lawsuit alleges he accepted the Quest position in June. Instead of informing Mayo Clinic, he continued to work at Mayo and attend confidential meetings, where issues were discussed that could cause irreparable damage to MML and Mayo Clinic in the hands of Quest.

Cockerill exchanged emails discussing business strategies with Quest CEO Stephen Rusckowski in August, according to Mayo's suit.

Mayo Clinic alleges Cockerill left with at least seven clinic-owned USB memory drives and that he used four of them to "download information from Dr. Cockerill's computer in the days before … (he) started working for Quest."

Mayo Medical Labs and Quest vie for millions in medical test contracts. Mayo Medical Labs performs about 20 million tests for more than 4,000 hospitals annually. Quest says it does 1.5 billion tests a year. Many of the clinical tests conducted by both MML and Quest are proprietary and generate millions in revenue.

The lawsuit also claims Cockerill attempted to recruit "at least one long-term key Mayo employee to consider retiring early to 'consult' with the lab industry," though he did not specifically mention Quest to the female executive.

July 01, 2014

Mayo Clinic-linked Cardio3 making push into China

Cardio3 BioSciences, a Belgium company working closely with Mayo Clinic, recently launched a joint venture in China, the third largest pharmaceutical market in the world.

Cardiobioscience_jpegWorking with Hong Kong-based Medisun International Limited, it created Cardio3 BioSciences Asia Holdings Ltd. to make a serious push into China. As part of the deal, Medisun purchased $34 million in stock. It now owns 8 percent of the company's outstanding shares.

Cardio3 is publicly listed on the European stock markets NYSE Euronext Brussels and NYSE Euronext Paris, though it is not traded publicly in the U.S. Get_photo

The company says that $34 million will finance the U.S. clinical trials for C-Cure, Cardio3's regenerative heart treatment. Cardio3 CEO Dr. Christian Homsy flew to Rochester in January for a press conference at Mayo Clinic to announce that U.S. trial. Mayo Clinic in Rochester is one of the trial sites. Homsy gave a tentative time line of commercialization in Europe possibly by 2017 and by 2018 in the U.S.

Medisun has also committed to buy an additional $34 million shares of Cardio3 stock from existing shareholders in the next eight month at a price per share equivalent to the 10 days average preceding the offer.

This new deal means Medisun's ownership of Cardio3 has quickly leapfrogged Mayo Clinic's investment. As of June 16, Mayo Clinic owned 5.05 percent of the available shares of Cardio3. Medisun had just 4.21 percent at that point. As of June 25, Mayo Clinic controlled 3.1 percent of the shares.

Mayo Clinic researchers Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar originally developed the proprietary process of regenerating heart tissue with stem cells drawn from a patient's own bone marrow. Since 2007, Cardio3 has licensed patents and related research from Mayo Clinic. Terzic and Behfar each have a financial interest in the company.

Homsy has previously stated that he hopes to eventually base a few employees in Rochester for office and laboratory work. Cardio3 previously attempted to open a U.S. headquarters here, but that fizzled when the one person based here left.

Many consider what Cardio3 is attempting as the "holy grail" of cardiac treatments. Terzic previously described repairing faulty hearts as a "major unmet need worldwide." He estimated about one-third of all deaths stem from heart disease.

To date, the promising company has raised $121 million in equity and capital.

A recent study also estimated that the global market for such treatments could grow to $18.2 billion by 2019. The U.S. market was valued at $6.1 billion in 2012, with potential to increase to $8.49 billion by 2019.

“With this presence in Greater China, we are very proud to become the first global player in the field of cardiac regenerative medicines, aiming to commercialize our leading edge cell therapy to patients all across the globe,” stated Cardio Chairman Michel Lussier in the announcement of the venture.

Medisun Chairman Danny Wong says that his company is organizing medical conventions in August "to promote cell based medicines as well as Cardio3’s technology" in both Beijing and Shanghai.

"We are passionate about this project and I am certain that our involvement with Cardio3 as a leader in this field, combined with our local knowledge of the regulatory, healthcare and market access capabilities and expertise, will bring success to all the parties involved,” said Wong.

All the costs of Cardio3's moves in China will be funded by Medisun, with a minimum of $27 million committed during a three year period. Cardio 3 has 40 percent ownership in the joint venture, which will drop to 30 percent when clinical trials are up and running.

Success of the Phase III clinical trials that allow Cardio3 to market C-Cure in Asia would trigger  royalties ranging between 20 and 30 percent of net sales depending on total revenue of the joint venture.

April 08, 2014

Mayo Clinic's Nobel Prize work at heart of $5.6B drug deal

So Questcor Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that Ireland-based Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals is buying it for a whopping $5.6 BILLION.

A little research into Questcor shows that it has followed an interesting path starting with its $100,000 purchase of rights to H.P. Acthar Gel from Aventis in 2001. The FDA then approved labeling Acthar as "an orphan drug," which opened up the company's options for pricing Acthar.

The New York Times says the price per vial climbed from $40 to an incredible $28,000 within 10 years.

CortisoneA95D4FE2FBE5At the core of Questcor's story is one of Mayo Clinic's most famous research successes.

In 1948, Dr. Philip S. Hench and Dr. Edward C. Kendall were studying the effects of a hormone on inflammination related to rheumatoid arthritis. They had success with cortisone, but it was difficult to synthesize.

Hench then injected adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH to cause the patient's body to produce their own cortisone and other steroid hormones. The ACTH came from pigs from Armour meatpacking.

In 1950, Hench and Kendall won the Nobel Pirze in medicine for their research. Unfortunately, they didn't patent it. The FDA approved H.P. Acthar Gel to treat a variety of diseases and conditions. It was then owned by the meatpacker Armour.

In recent years, Questcor has been criticized for its dramatic price hikes and for vauge allusions to "a secret sauce" in their drug that improves its effectiveness.

Some question if it is effective at all.

Mayo Clinic's Dr. Eric Matteson, the chairman of rheumatology, has been quoted about the use of Achtar in rheumatolgy.

• “Limited to no attractiveness in rheumatology”

• “Enthusiasm is low”

• "Very little if any role for an ACTH product in rheumotatic diseases, I don't see it."

December 05, 2013

Breast cancer scanner maker, once linked to Mayo Clinic, sold to Mexican company

Qg3q4q112233Here's a potentially interesting nugget of news about San Diego-based Naviscan Inc., which was at one pointed linked with Mayo Clinic through intellectual property licenses as well as direct investment by Mayo Medical Ventures.

"… Certain Naviscan Inc. assets including intellectual property and the Naviscan Trademark" have been aquired by a Mexican medical scanner company called Compañía Mexicana de Radiología or CMR.

Not sure what that means exactly, but my guess is that CMR is now behind the steering wheel at Naviscan.

Now I don't know if Mayo Clinic still has any links with Naviscan, but it certainly did at one time. I've got calls into Mayo and Naviscan to check on that.

I wrote the Mayo Clinic-Naviscan relationship back in 2005 through 2007 or so. Sheesh, I've been doing this for a long time.

From back in November 2005:

Naviscan “entered into an agreement with Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Mayo Clinic) to clinically validate and commercialize a dynamic patented molecular imaging agent for use with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and other imaging modalities. … Mayo Clinic has licensed the vitamin B-12 molecular imaging agent technology invented by Dr. Douglas A.Collins to Naviscan PET Systems, Inc and will receive royalties from this license. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have published studies that cancers have high uptake of radioactive B-12, especially in breast tumors."

    --------------------
"The combination of the Mayo Clinic’s patented Vitamin B-12 molecular imaging agent and Naviscan’s high-resolution PET scanner holds great promise for the future in terms of early detection of breast cancers,” said Paul Grayson, newly-appointed CEO of Naviscan PET Systems, Inc. and a Managing Director of Sanderling Ventures. “We sought out Naviscan’s technology to strategically invest in this important imaging technology platform.” Naviscan is planning clinical trial work with Mayo Clinic and other luminary sites in the U.S. to prove the value of the PEM Flex in breast cancer patients, as well as for evaluating PEM’s role with high-risk patients.”

----

From the same date in 2005:

“Naviscan PET Systems has raised a $6.5 million in Series B funding for its high resolution positron emission tomography (PET) products. The firm said that it raised the round from Sanderling Ventures, with participation from Mayo Medical Ventures."

FYI, Sanderling Ventures now leases a space in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator.

March 11, 2013

Mayo Clinic extends deal with drug research lab

Here's some from a release I spotted this morning about Mayo Clinic signing an updated agreement with Sanford-Burnham, a research lab with locations in California and Florida.

By the way, the Sanford in Sanford-Burnham is T. Denny Sanford, who is also a big financial backer of Mayo Clinic.

Sanford-Burnham and Mayo Clinic signed a new collaborative agreement to build a pipeline of therapeutic drugs aimed at a variety of diseases with serious unmet medical needs.

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

Sanford-burnhamThe agreement combines Mayo Clinic’s clinically relevant targets with Sanford-Burnham’s discovery platform in a translational initiative aimed at advancing a portfolio of projects through the initial stages of drug discovery. The new agreement builds on a yearlong pilot phase and expands the number and scope of drug discovery projects derived from Mayo Clinic researchers that are being conducted at Sanford-Burnham.
 
“We’re looking forward to further engaging with our Mayo Clinic collaborators as we develop innovative screens to identify chemical compounds that modulate the activity of clinically relevant targets,” said Michael Jackson, vice president of drug discovery and development at Sanford-Burnham. “If successful, these compounds will form the basis of completely novel—‘first in class’—therapies for devastating diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and others.”
 ------------------
“The Mayo Clinic–Sanford-Burnham collaboration provides an avenue for Mayo scientists to rapidly translate basic science discoveries into screening platforms that will enable new drug discovery, and a new paradigm in drug development,” said Andrew Badley, associate dean of research resources at Mayo Clinic.

March 01, 2013

Mayo Clinic Biz Accelerator already speeding along

Here's some from my 2nd Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator story of the week. I'll have more in seperate post soon.
The just-opened Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator is already bursting at the seams with companies, including some local start-ups that are ready to aim high.

051509biobusinesscenteratnight"We want to be the Amgen (the largest biotechnology company in the world) of Rochester," says Dr. John Burnett Jr., who with Dr. Horng Chen founded Zumbro Discovery just a few weeks ago.

The pair develop peptides to help treat medical conditions and two of their previous creations were licensed by out-of-state companies.

"We really had the desire to set something up here," says Chen. And as the inventors, they believe they will be able to better direct the course of the product as well as do it faster.

Their first patented peptide is designed to treat a condition known as Resistant Hypertension. It is generally defined as high blood pressure that standard treatments can't lower. About 10 to 20 percent of people diagnosed with hypertension are believed to be resistant.
It can lead to heart failure, myocardial infarction, stroke as well as kidney failure.

The Federal Drug Administration has already given the doctors the greenlight to begin testing on patients with Resistant Hypertension and they hope to do that by the end of the year.

"Being in the Accelerator is great for a young, virtual company like us. It gives a chance to interact with venture capitalists and network with other businesses," says Burnett. "And it is just a short walk from our lab."

The Accelerator offices in the Minnesota BioBusiness Center were packed this morning as crowds of Mayo Clinic administrators, city officials and community leaders packed into the just-completed space to christian is open for business.

It's "business" is to speed up local business development and ultimately create new jobs.

“The Accelerator is an example of the strength of a strong partnership between Mayo Clinic and the community to make it easier and more affordable for companies to start and locate in Rochester,” says Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy.

A collaboration between Mayo Clinic, the City of Rochester and Rochester Area Economic Development Inc., the Accelerator is starting out with a full boat of tenants that include biotech businesses, medical device makers, software start-ups, venture capitalists and health care consultants.

Funded by $100,000 from Mayo Clinic and $100,000 from local sales tax money, the 2,500-square-foot cluster of offices is located on the second floor of the city-owned Minnesota BioBusiness Center. RAEDI is handling the management and leasing of the space.

“We hope to provide a nurturing space for new company formation in Rochester,” says Jim Rogers of Mayo Clinic Ventures.

January 10, 2013

S.E. Minn. is a pretty inventive area

Wrote the latest version of the annual IBM leads all other companies with U.S. patents story for today's paper.

I always enjoy the change to chat with some of IBM's master inventors and look at their patents. I often don't understand much, but I enjoy it. Heh.

This year I decided to see how many patents issued in 2012 included residents from area cities. I found some interesting stuff, including the fact a group of guys from Hormel in Austin were issued a new patent on a bacon bits making process on Christmas Day.

I hadn't look at these community numbers, since I wrote a big package in early 2010, where I determined that Rochester was the most inventive city inMinnesota and probably the U.S. (per 100,000 residents).

It is interesting to note that Rochester people had 488 patents issued to them in 2009, so the numbers have gone up considerably since then. I may need to take a run at this story again.

 

------------
This is a breakdown of how many patents issued in 2012 included at least one inventor from these southeastern Minnesota cities:

• Rochester — 652 patents

• Byron — 42 patents.
Patent-Office
• Stewartville — 10 patents

• Austin — 75 patents

• Mantorville — 27 patents

• Zumbrota — 12 patents

• Pine Island — 36 patents

• Dodge Center — 10 patents

• Lewiston — 14 patents

• Oronoco — 38 patents

September 18, 2012

Mayo, Roch. and RAEDI join forces to speed biz growth

Here's some from my story about a new project at the Minnesota BioBusiness Building:
To help launch fledgling companies, Mayo Clinic, the city of Rochester and Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. are creating a new "accelerator center."

The Rochester City Council gave the green light Monday night to move ahead with a proposal to create 2,500 square feet of office space on the second floor of the Minnesota Biobusiness Center in downtown Rochester.
6a00d83451cc8269e20115721b3098970b-250wi
Mayo Clinic is giving $100,000 to turn the unused space, which is owned by the city, into offices. RAEDI will handle the management and leasing of the space.

"It is a great collaboration," says Jim Rogers, chair of the Mayo Clinic Ventures, which manages the clinic's intellectual property and patents. "It is something we are very excited about."

Mayo Clinic leases the top five floors of the eight-story building for a variety of offices, including Mayo Clinic Ventures. That leaves the bottom three levels for outside tenants. When it opened in 2009, the goal was to attract biotechnology and medical device firms that would benefit by being near Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota Rochester.

The downswing of the recession stalled the growth of that type of biobusiness, so the city began reaching out to other types of tenants, such as Think Mutual Savings Bank, College of St. Scholastica and Hirman Insurers.

This new approach is aimed at sparking more action in the biotech sector by the focusing on early stage start-ups that just need "a place to hang their hats," says Doug Knott, the city's development director.

About 86 percent of the building is now under lease, he says. The accelerator will bring that percentage close to 90 percent.

"Using a relatively small space for this could potentially bring a big pay-off," says Knott.

Plans for the accelerator center are still being finalized, but it is expected it will include about six offices plus a conference room and other public areas. HGA, which was the architect firm for the building, is working on designs for this space. Rents are expected to range from $13 to $15 per square foot.

"The intent is to accelerate the growth of these businesses," says Knott. "And then move them to other parts of the building or elsewhere in the center, when they outgrow it."

The ultimate goal is to take advantage of the influence of Mayo Clinic's efforts to spin off related businesses and generate more local jobs.

"We hope to have it ready to open by the first of the year," says Gary Smith, RAEDI president.

March 14, 2012

Mayo Clinic Ventures leader leaving for Colorado gig

Here's an interesting tidbit.

7i5h7brkieqo4j716200712528Steve Van Nurden, the chair of Mayo Clinic Ventures, is leaving Mayo and Rochester to take a new position in Aurora, Colo.

As the head of the division that licenses Mayo Clinic research and patents to companies as well as launching self-made start-up firms for the clinic, I've worked with Steve on many stories in the past years about projects like Preventice, Cardio3, Resoundant and EnteroMedics.

I have a call to Mayo and Steve for more info, but here's some from the press release the City of Aurora, Colo.

Following an extensive national search, Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority has named Steve VanNurden as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, beginning in late May. The announcement is made by John M. Shaw, Chair of the FRA Board of Directors, who said: "Steve, a seasoned leader in the life science/bioscience space, comes to us from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota."

------

He will be working with universities, local economic development agencies, state and local governments, and the bioscience industry to promote the successful development of the 180 acre Colorado Science + Technology Park, which is adjacent to the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

Steve Hogan, Mayor of the City of Aurora and FRA Board member stated, "Steve is the partner we need to fulfill the promise of the bioscience industry park. His working relationships span nationally and internationally, which will be a great advantage for us."