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

140 posts categorized "Science"

October 28, 2014

Firewood biz turns up the heat on ash borers

A local firewood business plans to use a new Rochester retail site to heat things up for the insidious tree pest, the emerald ash borer.

Procut Firewood, which has been operating in the area for 25 years, launched its first Rochester sales spot last week at 2660 N. Broadway, next to Space Concepts. And soon, Procut owner Marv Sawyer plans to add his wood kiln to the site.

Procut uses the wood kiln, which Sawyer says has been certified by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to sterilize firewood. That's significant now that the emerald ash borer has been found in local trees. To keep the tree-killing pest under control, the state has set up a restrictive quarantine to keep any possibly tainted firewood from leaving the county.

The only exception is wood that has been sterilized in a kiln, like Procut's. Basically, the kiln kills the borers, while also drying the wood for better burning in fireplaces, wood stoves or campsites, Sawyer said.

"The best thing about this is that we can utilize these trees that city and tree services are taking down. Within 24 hours, we can turn these trees into firewood that's good, safe and can be used anywhere," he said.

The city of Rochester or tree-cutting services bring the wood of any type, including ash, for Procut to process.

Procut now is selling firewood for pickup or for delivery by its two trucks on North Broadway. They are awaiting a natural gas hookup to soon be installed before bringing in the kiln.

Mike Haley, of Braasch Commercial Real Estate, handled the deal for Sawyer to acquire the lot space from Keith Witter, of Space Concepts.

October 16, 2014

Accused doctor 'disappointed' by Mayo Clinic lawsuit

A former executive accused of allegedly stealing trade secrets says he's "disappointed" in Mayo Clinic's lawsuit against him, in a statement released by his attorney.

Franklin-cockerillOn Tuesday, Mayo Clinic filed a lawsuit (The complaint is posted here) alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract against Dr. Franklin R. Cockerill III, who was president and CEO of the for-profit Mayo Medical Labs for eight years. Mayo Clinic released the lawsuit to the media of Wednesday.

"Dr. Cockerill is disappointed that the Mayo Clinic has made such allegations and publicized its unproven claims in the media," according to a statement released by Nancy Brostrom Vollertsen, a Minneapolis attorney with Lindquist & Vennum LLP, on Wednesday. "Dr. Cockerill holds a stellar reputation in the medical community and has devoted more than 30 years of his life to the Mayo Clinic and the Rochester Community."

The message from Vollertsen also stated that, "We will be filing responsive pleadings in this matter shortly."

The lawsuit alleges that Cockerill covertly accepted a job with a major competitor of Mayo Medical Labs in June, but he told Mayo Clinic that he was "retiring" at the end of September to help his 85-year-old mother run her fertilizer business in Nebraska.  From June to September, he continued to work at Mayo Medical Labs, attending confidential meetings and negotiating contracts.

On Oct. 1, he stepped into the position of vice president and chief laboratory officer with New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics Inc., a multibillion-dollar public company. The complaint filed by Mayo Clinic claims that Cockerill was in communication with Quest throughout his final months and he left with clinic-owned memory sticks with data downloaded from his workstation.

“By failing to disclose his conflict-of-interest, Dr. Cockerill’s actions were in violation of Mayo Clinic conflict-of-interest/compliance policies that all staff members agree to on an annual basis, and have put at risk the business strategy of Mayo Medical Laboratories," said a statement released by Mayo Clinic spokesman Bryan Anderson.

Vollertsen, a former partner with the Dunlap & Seeger law firm in Rochester, responded that there as nothing sinister about Cockerill's departure.

"He opted for early retirement at the Mayo Clinic's invitation and is not subject to any non-compete or other agreement that would limit his activities after leaving Mayo," she stated.

Cockerill was a high-profile leader at Mayo Clinic during his about 30 year career here. He was the chief of Mayo Medical Labs as well as the chairman of Mayo's Laboratory Medicine and Pathology department since 2006.

He managed more than 3,200 employees in that role, according to Quest. Mayo Medical Labs performs about 20 million tests for more than 4,000 hospitals annually.

Mayo Clinic paid him a total of $591,413 in 2012, according to the clinic's 990 form filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

In August, Cockerill officiated the ceremonial ground-breaking of an almost 70,000-square-foot expansion of its Superior Drive Support Center, where Mayo Medical Labs is based.

"His character and high level of integrity speak for themselves," stated Vollertsen.

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.

October 06, 2014

Mayo labs chief leaves to take top job at dianostics firm

A long-time Mayo Clinic executive has joined a New Jersey-based medical diagnostics firm.

Dr. Franklin R. Cockerill III, who recently retired as president and chief executive officer of Mayo Medical Labs, started work as vice president and chief laboratory officer for Quest Diagnostics Inc. on Oct. 1.

53f375aa6b834.imageQuest offers clinical testing services, such as routine testing, gene-based and esoteric testing, anatomic pathology services, and drugs-of-abuse testing, as well as related services. It also develops and makes diagnostic products, including Simplexa for testing infectious diseases,

Cockerill is replacing Dr. Stephen C. Suffin, who is retiring. Cockerill will oversee Quest's network of laboratories and "will play a major role in advancing Quest's medical affairs," according to the multi-billion dollar company. Quest has an office at 3100 40th St. N.W. in Rochester.

"At Mayo Medical Laboratories and Mayo Clinic, he led strategies that spurred remarkable accomplishments in diagnostic innovation, service and quality, generating meaningful benefits for patients as well as business growth," stated Quest CEO Steve H. Rusckowski in the announcement of Cockerill's hiring. "We will benefit greatly from his tremendous talents as we pursue our goals to build value, create an inspiring workplace and make this a healthier world."

Cockerill was a high-profile leader at Mayo Clinic in Rochester for many years. He was the chief of Mayo Medical Labs as well as the chairman of Mayo's Laboratory Medicine and Pathology department, since 2006.

He managed more than 3,200 employees in that role, according to Quest. Mayo Medical Labs performs about 20 million tests for more than 4,000 hospitals annually.

Mayo Clinic paid him a total of $591,413 in 2012, according to the clinic's 990 form filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

In August, Cockerill officiated the ceremonial ground-breaking of an an almost 70,000-square-foot expansion of its Superior Drive Support Center, where Mayo Medical Labs is based. The expansion will mean 150 to 170 Mayo employees will move out of downtown to join the more than 1,000 people already working at 3050 Superior Drive N.W.

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."

March 21, 2014

Med City tech quiz - Do you remember… ?

Looking through some old pics the other day, I came across some pieces of Rochester's techno past.

These were all once hot topics in the Rochester area. Some were even snapped up by early adapters. And then things changed.

While some of these still exist on the market in some form, a couple never made it beyond prototypes or early generations.

A couple of these are easy, but I wonder if anyone out there can correctly identify all of them.

Post your answers in the comments section to claim the fame of being Rochester's top tech historian.

DSCN0694 1.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1047

2.

 

 

 

 

DSCN0097

3.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2005

4.

March 03, 2014

Mayo Clinic to expand Superior Drive Support Center

Mayo Clinic is planning to expand its Superior Drive Support Center, which houses Mayo Medical Laboratories.

The clinic submitted plans on Feb. 14 to build a proposed 66,000-square-foot, two-story addition on the south side of the complex at 3050 Superior Drive N.W. 

03032014mayomedlabsMML conducts a wide variety of medical tests for hospitals worldwide. According to its website,
it performs nearly 20 million tests for more than 4,000 hospitals annually. The testing division overall has more than 3,200 employees, including more than 160 physicians and scientists. It has 58 laboratories that perform testing with support from Mayo Clinic physicians.

03032014SDSCplansWhile Mayo Clinic spokesperson confirmed the existence of site development application, officials there say it's too early to discuss specifics such as the timeline for the project or estimated cost. However, the plans designed by Flad Architects offer general details.

The expansion will more than double the lab space in the complex. It currently has 30,854 square feet of labs. The plans show that 34,000 square feet of laboratory area in the proposed addition to bring the total lab space to a total of 65,000 square feet.

Office space in the SDSC is slated to grow by 5,472 square feet, for a total of 137,000 square feet of space, following the expansion.

The remainder of the 26,000 square feet in the proposed expansion is described only as "Other." The first floor of the addition will have 28,533 square feet, and the second level will have 27,842.

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

While Mayo Clinic leased the property for eight years, it purchased it for $18.5 million in August of 2012. Prior to 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 was was originally 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 for 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.

November 26, 2013

Mayo Clinic-linked Cardio3 part of Europe group awarded $6M research grant

C3bs_logoCardio3 BioSciences, the biotechnology firm based on Mayo Clinic research, is part of a European research consortium that recently snagged a four-year research grant for $4.5 million euros or $6 million U.S. dollars to develop "a bioresorbable polymeric valve tube for the treatment of patient suffering congenital heart defects." 

Cardio3 licensed Mayo Clinic's research back in 2007. That research is led by Mayo Clinic's Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar. The therapy uses stem cells from a patient's  bone marrow. Through a proprietary process called Cardiopoiesis, Cardio3 re-programs those cells to become heart cells. The cells are then injected back into the patient's heart to repair damaged tissue.
 
Here's some from the announcement of this latest project:

Cardio3 BioSciences…  is part of a consortium which has been awarded a highly competitive European Union Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP7) research grant from the European Union to support the development of a bioresorbable polymeric valve tube for the treatment of patient suffering congenital heart defects.

The project, titled "Tissue engineering of the right heart outflow tract by biofunctionalized bioresorbable polymeric valved tube", or "TEH-TUBE", is a four year project and will start on 1st January 2014.

Dorv4C3BS is part of a first-in-class, pan-European consortium composed of seven companies and universities, led by the "Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris (APHP)" and the team of Professor David Kalfa and Philippe Menasché.

-----

C3BS is the exploitation manager of the consortium and as such is in charge of exploiting the outcome of the research project. Within the consortium, Cardio3 is also in charge of the production of the mesenchymal stem cells and the definition and the implementation of the regulatory strategy.

-----

"We are delighted to be part of a project which represents a potential paradigm shift in the treatment of congenital cardiac diseases," said Dr. Christian Homsy, CEO of Cardio3 BioSciences. "We are also honored to be chosen by our partners to exploit the outcome of this program. It demonstrates the confidence and the recognition of our peers in the expertise we have built over the past years. FP7 grants are awarded on the basis of a highly competitive, two-stage, peer-review process, therefore this award serves as recognition of our cell production, regulatory and clinical expertise."


This wraps up a big year for Cardio3 BioSciences. It released an IPO in July on NYSE Euronext stock exchanges in Brussels and Paris that raised $29.6 million, or 23 million Euros.

November 15, 2013

Mayo Clinic to be at center of LifeScience Alley conference

This is kind of interesting. LifeScience Alley, Minnesota's medical device and bioscience industry group, is hosting its 2013 conference in Minneapolis next week.

And Mayo Clinic will be the centerpiece. If I register by midnight, it will only cost me $495 to attend. If I don't hit the button by midnight, it'll cost me $750.

Hhhhmm.... I think I'll stay in Rochester and confer with inside sources here. Maybe with the bosses gone, folks will feel more chatty than usual. Heh.

Here's some from the conference pitch:

On Wednesday, at the LifeScience Alley 2013 Conference in Minneapolis, leaders from world-class life science and healthcare organizations will discuss how changes in healthcare policy and delivery are rewriting the way our community innovates, operates and delivers value to patients.  

New-Technology-Showcase-Logo-2012-ConfOne of these organizations is this year's New Technology Showcase Partner, Mayo Clinic.  As a global leader in healthcare innovation and delivery, Mayo Clinic will be introducing several cutting-edge life science technologies, two of which originate from research conducted at Mayo.   

During the Morning Keynote, "Controlling Costs in the New Healthcare Environment - Effectively Managing the Global Supply Chain", Mayo Clinic's Karen Wolfe will highlight how the organization manages logistics and its global supply chain to minimize healthcare costs while delivering more value to its patients.   

In addition, representatives from Mayo Clinic Ventures, Mayo Clinic Research and Destination Medical Center (DMC) will be at their booths to discuss all that Mayo Clinic and the city of Rochester have to offer life science companies and entrepreneurs.