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1325 posts categorized "Speculation"

May 27, 2015

Manufacturer shopping for Roch. location?

The chatter on the streets these days is that a new manufacturer is seriously looking at the possibility of setting up shop in Rochester.
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While no names have surfaced yet, the buzz is that this manufacturer could need up to 250 workers and 200,000-square-feet of space.

If that is even close to accurate, this could be a big addition to Rochester's goal of becoming more economic diverse.

We'll keep an eye on this to see if this interested company decides to move ahead with a Med City project.

May 19, 2015

Southeast auto business to build a new, bigger shop

A long-time, family-owned auto shop is shifting gears to build a new home in southeast Rochester.

Tilson's Auto Repair, owned and run by Ben Tilson with his two sons, hopes soon to start construction of a new eight-bay, state-of-art shop on an open lot at 1740 South Broadway. That puts them between the 63 Club bar and Advance Auto Parts.

TilsonsThey hope to have the new almost 7,000-square-foot facility completed and ready to open this fall, possibly as early as September.

The elder Tilson has been repairing Rochester vehicles since 1984. In 2004, he moved into the four-bay shop in the Kmart building at  843 Third Ave. S.E. Now 11 years later, he needs a larger place with more visibility.

"The market changed. The dynamics have changed with DMC (Destination Medical Center)," he said. "As Rochester grows, we grow."

In the current location, he has six on staff including himself and his sons, Joe Tilson and the younger Ben Tilson. Once the new shop is completed, they hope to add four to six more employees to the staff.

The new shop will give the Tilsons access to some vehicles that are difficult to deal with now, added the younger Ben Tilson.

"We'll have bigger doors, which will make it a lot easier to work on bigger vehicles," he said.

The new location still will keep the shop in the area where they have long served customers.

"We wanted to stay in general area. Southeast is home," said younger Ben Tilson. "We want to be the predominant family-owned shop on this side of town."

May 14, 2015

Arrow Ace Hardware to close Byron store

Arrow Ace Hardware, an anchor of Byron Towne Square shopping center, will close this summer.

The store at 1067 Fourth St. NE in Byron is starting its "Going Out of Business" sale today, said owner Dave Neiman. Arrow Ace was one of the first businesses to open in Byron Towne Square, right after construction was completed in 2004.

Arrow Ace owns four Rochester stores, as well as ones in Owatonna, Northfield, Mankato, Shakopee, Chaska and St. Peter.
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Neiman said the Byron store's lease was coming up, so they took the opportunity to evaluate the company's strategy in southeastern Minnesota.

"We decided that we want to concentrate our efforts in Rochester. We're having great success in the Rochester market, so we want to continue to capitalize on the growth we are seeing there," he said.

The Byron store will remain open through the Going of Business sale, which may last a few weeks.

Arrow Ace has eight employees in Byron and the company is offering those employees jobs at the four Rochester stores, Neiman said. Arrow, which employs about 40 people in Rochester, has stores in Miracle Mile Shopping Center, Crossroads Shopping Center and Silver Lake Shopping Center and a stand-alone store on 37th Street Northwest.

Oak Brook, Ill.,-based Ace, which supplies the locally-owned stores as cooperatives, now has more than 4,600 locations. It does more $13 billion in sales.

April 16, 2015

Cardio3 changes name to better fit new focus

The Mayo Clinic-linked firm Cardio3 Biosciences, which is building a manufacturing facility in downtown Rochester, has abruptly decided to change its name to better fit its widening focus in the growing area of cell-based therapies.

Cardiobioscience_jpegThe Belgium-based biotech firm announced Wednesday that it changed its name to Celyad. It started using the new name immediately, though shareholders will not vote on the change until its annual meeting May 5.

This sudden move comes as the company is preparing for an initial public offering on the U.S. stock exchange. Celyad has not released a date for the IPO.

CEO Dr. Christian Homsy was quoted in a company statement saying this new name fits with the firm's new direction following its recent $10 million acquisition of Celdara Medical's oncology division, OnCyte. That signals an expansion beyond its stem-cell-based cardiac regeneration therapy into immuno-oncology. The regenerative stem cell therapy is based on research done by Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar, licensed from the Mayo Cli6a00d83451cc8269e201a511d8e824970c-250winic.

“We believe that the name change better aligns our identity with our core activities and overall unified objective of identifying and translating innovative cell-based therapies into therapeutics, not only in cardiology, but now also in oncology and potentially in other areas in the future,” Homsy stated in the announcement of the new name.

Celyad's U.S. communication staff said Wednesday that no one from the company could publicly comment on the name change, other than through the press release. Celyad spokeswoman Kirsten Thomas, of The Ruth Group, explained the silence was due to the U.S Securities Exchange Commission's imposed "quiet period" on promotional publicity during the buildup to the IPO.

Mayo Clinic and Celyad have collaborated since 2007 on the cardiopoiesis technology that the company uses to repair patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cells to regenerate cardiac tissue. Mayo Clinic owned 2.69 percent of the company as of March 3. Mayo Clinic also is participating in a Celyad clinical trial.
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If the stem cell therapy makes it to the market, Celyad will pay Mayo Clinic $1 million a year for four years for research as well a 2 percent royalty on sales for 15 years, the press release says.

5503a0ea8a679.image"We are excited that Celyad is branching out beyond cardiology into areas such as oncology," stated Jim Rogers, the chairman of Mayo Clinic Ventures. "Our hope is that they are building a robust capability to deliver breakthrough therapies in the area of regenerative medicine, which is a significant priority for Mayo as well."

The name change comes before new signs have gone up in the city of Rochester's Minnesota Biobusiness Center. The city signed a lease with Celyad earlier this year for it to develop a prototype manufacturing facility in the 14,963 square feet of space on the fifth floor of the downtown building. The five-year lease calls for Celyad to pay a rent of $18 per square foot, or $22,444.50 per month. The city agreed in the lease to pay for $600,000 in equipment and improvements to the space.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development also signed a deal with Celyad on Jan. 12 to receive a Minnesota Job Creation Fund award of $357,000. To collect the money, it must invest $1.5 million in Rochester within a year, plus hire 33 employees within two years.

The ultimate goal of the project is for the city, state and Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. to eventually convince Celyad to build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with 350 employees in Rochester, according to RAEDI officials.

However, Rochester is not the only city wooing the Belgium company. While the Rochester facility is the company's first official U.S. location, it also has plans to build a U.S. headquarters in Boston.

It seems as though Celyad is at a turning point. The company has worked on developing its cardiac regenerative therapy since 2007. While it has seen many positive results from trials in Europe and research in the United States, it has no products currently on the market.

The company lost $18.1 million in 2014, up from $15.9 million in losses in 2013. While the cardiopoiesis technology developed by Mayo Clinic appears to be promising, the company seems to be embracing the new CAR T-Cell cancer-fighting approach — essentially, a cancer vaccine — that it purchased from Celdara Medical for $10 million earlier this year.

"Our acquisition of the OnCyte CAR T-Cell portfolio in early 2015 heralds the first major step in our strategy to leverage our unique expertise in cell therapies and drug development to expand beyond the cardiac arena to develop breakthrough treatments to change the outcome of disease," stated Homsy last month.

"We are excited to be expanding our product offering into the prominent area of immuno-oncology and anticipate the initiation of the Phase I trial of our lead immuno-oncology candidate, CAR-NKG2D in the first half of 2015 and look forward to sharing details of our progress as we evaluate its clinical potential," Homsy said. "We intend to leverage our cell therapy know-how and infrastructure to quickly progress those assets into later stage clinical trials in 2016, aiming at more than five trials in liquid and solid tumors in the USA and Europe."

Many companies are vying for a spot in the hot CAR T-Cell area to be the one to develop the breakthrough cancer vaccine. The worldwide market for such vaccines was recently estimated to $8.4 billion in 2020.

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 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 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 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.

 

February 25, 2015

City to lease former Mayo Clinic space to Cardio3

This has been in the works for quite a while. It looks like it's now a done deal, at least on the city, RAEDI and DEED side.

We'll see what happens next. After following this for more than a decade, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I'm particularly fascinated with how the China piece of this, including Medisun and Danny Wong, turns out.

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After amending its original lease, Belgium-based Cardio3 BioSciences is now finally cleared to take over the entire fifth floor C3BS_may_spotlightof Rochester's Minnesota BioBusiness Center.

In December, the Rochester City Council originally approved a five-year agreement with Cardio3 for the 14,963-square-feet of space to use as a prototype manufacturing facility. However, the company then asked for "an early termination provision" in the lease.

The deal is being driven by the city, Rochester Area Economic Development Inc., Mayo Clinic and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to make Rochester more attractive to Cardio3, so that the company will build a major manufacturing plant here.

This is the second phase of deal funded by $1.2 million from the city of Rochester's economic development sales tax fund. The first phase was developing little more than 5,000 square feet of unused space on the third floor of the BioBusiness Center to build a special manufacturing lab for Cardio3.

Mayo Clinic and Cardio3 have collaborated for years on the cardiopoiesis technology the company uses to repair patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cells to regenerate cardiac tissue. Mayo Clinic owned 2.96 percent of the company as of Jan. 21. It's also managing a clinical trial for Cardio3.
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On Wednesday, city council members voted to add an early termination provision to the deal that allows Cardio3 to end the five-year lease after just two years in the space. That provision kicks in only if Cardio3 decides to "construct or lease a larger production facility in Rochester" or the clinical trial on its regenerative heart treatment is not successful.

To leave early, Cardio3 will need to notify the city six months ahead of time. Under the modified lease, the earliest that the regenerative medicine firm could pull out is April 30, 2017. Cardio3 would need to pay the city $269,334 if it did leave earlier than five years. That amount equals about one year of base rent.

If Cardio3 does leave before its lease is up, all of the city-funded fixed equipment and improvements will become the city of Rochester's property. The city agreed in the lease to pay for $600,000 in equipment and improvements to the space.

The final version of the lease calls for Cardio3 to pay a rent of $18 per square foot or $22,444.50 a month.

Mayo Clinic, which leases the fourth through eighth floors of the BioBusiness Center, moved its employees out of the fifth floor earlier this year. At one point, Mayo Clinic Global Products' corporate accounts had offices on the fifth floor.

In earlier discussions about this project, RAEDI estimated that Cardio3 will need 30 to 50 employees to staff the proposed prototype manufacturing facility on the fifth floor.

The ultimate goal of this project is to convince Cardio3 to build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with 350 employees in Rochester. That's what Cardio3 anticipates it will need if the Federal Drug Administration gives it a green light to take its stem cell treatment to market.

RAEDI President Gary Smith calls it "the big enchilada."

February 23, 2015

Delta to end Rochester-Detroit flights in April

Despite their popularity, nonstop flights to Detroit will soon end for passengers using the Rochester International Airport, after only a few months.

5403bad42fa22.imageAfter about six months, Delta Air Lines has notified the airport that it will be pulling the plug on the daily nonstop flights to Detroit on April 9, according the new Airport Director John Reed.

Reed says he received notification from Delta on Feb. 17, his second day on the job. Delta launched the Detroit and Atlanta flights in September with great fanfare with many saying it was needed for the anticipated increase in air travel expected due to Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative.

While the City of Rochester owns the airport, Mayo Clinic is contracted to manage it via its Rochester Airport Co.

Delta confirmed Monday that the flights will end with a short statement that said it "has made the decision to indefinitely suspend Rochester service to Detroit to ensure we’re matching capacity with demand."

This is not the first time Delta has ended flights from Rochester to Detroit. It killed a similar flight back in 2011.

While the Detroit will come to an end, Delta did stress that its daily flights to Atlanta and Minneapolis will continue. In fact, Delta intends add another Minneapolis flight as the Detroit one ends, according to Reed.

"Essentially, our seat capacity will remain the same," he said.

Numbers from the airport shows that the new flights did bump up its Rochester passenger numbers in 2014 by 20 percent over 2013. Rochester Airport Co. President Steve McNeill, who works for Mayo Clinic, recently reported that Delta had 120,474 passengers here in 2014. From September through December, the months of service to all three of its hubs, the count was 41,854, an 18 percent or 6,500 increase over the similar period in 2013.

"We're certainly happy with the new, expanded service," said McNeill earlier this month, "and I'm sure Delta is, too." Flight payloads, or occupancy levels, were slightly above expectations, with flights to Atlanta averaging at about the mid-80s percent, and to Detroit slightly lower, he added.

Reed says data shows that the Detroit flights ran about 75 percent filled, most of the time.

"It wasn't that the community wasn't supporting us, because they were," he said.

Mayor Ardell Brede hadn't been notified yet about the change on Monday. He said, if true, it would a loss for Rochester.

"I liked that flight," he said. Brede added that it was full when he recently used it.

Reed and Brede both said that they had heard that a shortage of pilots was one reason that Delta ended the flight.

Another possible factor could be a $950,000 "risk mitigation fund set up to guarantee Delta a profit on the new flights during the first year. The rub is that the fund, made up of federal grants, a city match and private donations, doesn't cover the Detroit flight. It only guarantees a profit for Delta's Atlanta fight.

A Delta media representative didn't know about the fund or if it could have played a part in this change.

The ending of the Detroit flights does cast a pall on the airport's future requirement of airlines, to add flights, like ones to Denver.

In May, a national air service consultant said in a Rochester Area Chamber-sponsored forum that, "Adding Atlanta and Detroit is a game changer."

He followed that by saying that many other airlines will be watching how those flights fare.

"This is an important test case to prove that you can fill the larger airplanes. If they (Delta) have to pull it, it would be a big red flag," Joseph Pickering told the crowd of local business leaders.