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155 posts categorized "Science"

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."

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

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 23, 2015

Quiet period to end for Celyad (former Cardio3) on July 29

Here's an interesting update from a site called about the former Cardio3, now trading in U.S. as Celyad. This Belgium firm has deep ties to Mayo Clinic and will soon occupy an entire floor of the Minnesota Biobusiness Center in downtown Rochester.

 Celyad SA’s  quiet period is set to expire on Wednesday, July 29th. Celyad SA had issued 1,460,000 shares in its initial public offering on June 19th, Market Beat reports.

CelyadThe total size of the offering was $100,097,600 based on an initial share price of $68.56. During Celyad SA’s quiet period, insiders and underwriters involved in the IPO are restricted from issuing any research reports or earnings estimates for the company because of SEC regulations. Following the expiration of the company’s quiet period, it’s expected that the brokerages that served as underwriters on the stock will initiate research coverage on the company.


CYAD has been the subject of a number of recent recent research reports. Analysts at Piper Jaffray initiated coverage on shares of Celyad SA in a research note on Tuesday, July 14th. They set an “overweight” rating and a $95.00 price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at Maxim Group reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Celyad SA in a research note on Sunday, June 21st.

Celyad SA remained flat at $60.44 during during mid-day trading trading on Wednesday. 126 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Celyad SA has a one year low of $47.52 and a one year high of $67.94. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $54.65 and its 200-day moving average is $54.65.


July 14, 2015

Piper Jaffrey gives Celyad (former Cardio3) stock positive rating

Here's an interesting item that floated into my email box this a.m. about the former Cardio3, now trading in U.S. as Celyad. This Belgium firm has deep ties to Mayo Clinic and will soon occupy an entire floor of the Minnesota Biobusiness Center in downtown Rochester.

By the way, a rating of "overweight" is a good thing. It means the stock is a better value that other stocks in the same sector.

Here's the item as posted by Piper Jaffray:

Piper Jaffray initiates coverage on Celyad SA with a Overweight rating and a price target of $95.00.

Analyst Edward Tenthoff commented, "Celyad is a leading cell therapy company. CelyadCelyad is conducting the Phase III CHART-1 trial of autologous cell therapy C-CURE in heart failure patients with data likely next summer. The company will initiate the CHART-2 trial this year with data in 2017. Celyad recently in-licensed novel CAR-T technology for cancer currently in a Phase I AML and multiple myeloma study. Celyad is listed on the EuroNext exchange in Brussels and Paris, and just completed a U.S. IPO issuing 1.46 million shares at US$68.56 raising gross proceed of US$101 million. CYAD shares have sold off since the IPO providing an attractive entry point at US$54.71, in our view. We are initiating coverage with an Overweight rating and US$95 price target."

Shares of Celyad SA closed at $54.71 yesterday.



May 28, 2015

Mayo hires consultant to map out Discovery Square

To help fire up Discovery Square as "a catalyst" to create jobs in downtown Rochester, Mayo Clinic has contracted a feasibility study, independent of the Destination Medical Center Corp.

Mayo Clinic has hired the DMC development manager, Hammes Co. of Madison, Wis., to analyze the Discovery Square piece of the DMC vision and offer a market plan of how DiscoverySquarethe medical and technology research area might be developed. Mayo is paying Hammes $1.5 million to conduct the study, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

One expected tenant is Epic, a Madison-based software system that recently signed a contract to help build an electronic health record system for Mayo Clinic. It's planning on having many employees based in Rochester.

"They've indicated a strong interest in the Discovery Square concept, and we're exploring ways they may participate in that," said Bolton.

Discovery Square is described as "the focal point" for Mayo Clinic's expansion of its science and technology institutes, and it's designed as a place for private companies and others to work with Mayo on research and other projects. It's marked on the DMC map as being central to the Gonda Building and the Mayo Medical School.

"The Square is designed to be playful and artful, similar to the Google Commons in order to, quite simply, attract the best and the brightest, the most creative minds in the world," according to the DMC plan.

Mayo Clinic owns about 35 percent of the property within the proposed Discovery Square area.

The goal of the new study is to map out the area more specifically and identify potential partners and funding streams to make it sustainable.

Jeff Bolton, Mayo's chief administrative officer and the chair of DMC's Economic Development Agency, said Mayo funded the study because it's not part of the DMC EDA's scope.

"The EDA budget is really to provide staffing to support the DMCC board, to work with developers and help market the DMC concept," he said. "Mayo Clinic views this as area where we could serve as an important catalyst to advance the DMC vision. That's why we stepped up and are making this investment."

Mayo Clinic's relationship with Hammes dates back to the very early days of the DMC concept in 2008 before it became public. Mayo Clinic first officially contracted with the company about DMC in 2011. When the EDA signed its own contract with Hammes last year for $2.3 million a year, it had no ongoing Mayo contracts.

Bob Dunn, president of Hammes, explained that this study will be similar to his company's work on the overall DMC plan but will be much more detailed.

This study will include a master plan, a conceptual design, preliminary engineering, financial analysis, financing plan, a market analysis, a review of effective land use and operational aspects for Discovery Square.

"This will be a block-by-block plan," he said. "But we're not starting at ground zero. Mayo, which owns a good portion of the land in Discovery Square, has already thought a lot about this development."

Meanwhile, Mayo is actively working with companies to try to get them to locate there, Bolton said.

"We're out marketing the concept," said Mayo's Bolton. "Obviously, we have an interest in terms of attracting groups to collaborate with us."

The project's success likely will be driven by what partners want to work with Mayo Clinic.

"If I were to forecast, I'd say there will be multiple of owners of facilities in Discovery Square. Many will probably be owned by private developers," predicted Bolton. "There won't be a monolithic owner of the facilities. The free market will play out in this environment."

He added that Mayo Clinic may participate "directly or indirectly" in some of the development.

The multimillion dollar question is when actual development of this new job generator area will begin.

"We'll need a critical mass of corporate engagement in order to have a developer to put that first shovel in the ground," said Bolton.

Dunn said this is a fascinating feature of what is already a unique project.

"DMC and Discovery Square, to me, is one of the most interesting things that I can think of nationally in terms of major economic development," he said. "It's unique because impact Mayo Clinic can bring to something like this in a market that's now beginning to mature and evolve very quickly."

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 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:


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.

March 05, 2015

Three local biotech start-ups win funding

A regional economic development fund is giving three local medical technology start-ups a financial boost.

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation recently announced it's giving funding to three local companies: Ambient Clinical Analytics, a Mayo Clinic spin-off software firm in Rochester; Xcede Technologies Inc., a Rochester company that makes surgical sealants; and Sonex Health, a Byron-based company that markets a carpal tunnel surgery device device called Stealth Microknife.

G_southern-minnesota-initiative-foundation-1395-1410186849.1865SMIF, which typically doesn't release the amounts of its economic development investments, is tapping its new $3 million Southern Minnesota Equity Fund for the capital for these three companies. The fund was created to to invest up to $600,000 per year for five years. The maximum investment is $100,000, according to SMIF.

The fund provides capital and expertise to early-stage and start-up companies. SMIF partners with organizations and individual investors to leverage capital and expertise to grow these companies to provide economic opportunities for Southern Minnesota.

"We're pleased to invest in these high-tech businesses through our newly-created equity fund program. Our Foundation remains committed to providing resources to grow local businesses," stated SMIF President/CEO Tim Penny in the announcement of the investments.

Ambient Clinic: Ambient Clinical is based in the newly opened expansion of the Mayo Clinic Biobusiness Accelerator in the Minnesota Biobusiness Center. It's CEO is Al Berning, who previously led Pemstar, Hardcore Computing and other Rochester companies. Drew Flaada, a former Rochester IBM executive, serves as chief technology officer.

Ambient raised $1.18 million in funding in early 2014.

Xcede Technologies Inc.: Xcede, subsidiary of Watertown, Mass.-based Dynasil Corp. of America, designs, develops and manufactures innovative hemostatic (bleeding prevention) and sealant products for surgical application.

Xcede is based at 1815 14th St. NW. Ambient's Berning was listed as an executive director in 2014.

Dynasil acquired Mayo Clinic technology initially invented by Dr. Daniel Ericson in 2011.

Sonex Health: Sonex Health is the creator of the Stealth MicroKnife. The Stealth MicroKnife is a medical device that allows clinicians to perform carpal tunnel release surgery under ultrasound guidance in the office

Sonex is listed as being based in Byron as well as having a presence in Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic Biobusiness Accelerator. 

March 02, 2015

Mayo Clinic-linked NeoChord looking to drum up $1.5 million

NeoChord, a medical device firm I first wrote about in 2007, filed with the SEC in February to raise $1.5 million in funding. So far it has pulled in $457,000 or so of that.

I need to give a nod to the intrepid Katharine Grayson of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal for first pointing this out. I'm always impressed by how closely she tracks Form D filings for financing.Portfolio-neochord-260x138

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

Beside licensing its technology, Mayo Clinic has also previously invested in NeoChord. I'm checking to to see if that is still the case.

Neochord deviceThe 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. There are 50,000 surgeries done in the U.S. each year. An estimated 2 million patients are treated due to the risks of surgery.

Since it formed in 2007, NeoChord's lifeblood has been venture capital funding. By 2008, it had raised $3 million. It raised another $5.1 million in 2011 to finance the European clinical trial. In March 2013, it raised $3 million through the sale of its series B-2 preferred stock.