Month: June 2019

Rochester Startup Advances in Minnesota Cup Competition

Rochester startup Phenomix Sciences is making strides in the personalized medicine space. This company, based on Mayo Clinic technology, is tackling obesity one patient at a time, and has made it to the semifinal round of the Minnesota Cup, the largest statewide business plan competition in the US, giving participants access to mentors, business education, and seed funding.

Forty percent of the US adult population is impacted by obesity. Current intervention treatments, such as drugs and surgeries, have a limited impact due to the high variability in disease cause. To address this, Phenomix Sciences is hoping to improve patient outcomes by introducing a blood test that will help predict an individual’s response to a given therapy or treatment.

Phenomix Sciences is led by a strong core team with a unique blend of experience in the treatment of obesity and in launching startups. The company’s technology, developed by Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Dr. Andres Acosta, has been licensed to Phenomix for commercialization. Chief Operations Officer Ross Higgins has years of experience in the biotech and clinical laboratory space, most recently leading lab operations for Oneome, another Mayo Clinic startup. Industry expert Diane Dell’Armo serves as VP of Market Development after spending years launching products at Merck and the obesity therapeutics company Orexigen.

“Minnesota has some of the top businesses and talent right in our own backyard and Minnesota Cup has set up an amazing program that showcases startups like Phenomix,” Higgins explained. “While there is potential outcome of non-dilutive capital, we are most excited for the opportunity to learn from a seasoned pool of mentors who will undoubtedly help take our business plan, pitch, and fundraising to the next level.”

Higgins said that Minnesota Cup, which is free to all entrepreneurs, has been a very positive experience so far. Three finalists in each of the nine divisions will be selected by the end of summer. The overall grand prize winner will be announced in October.

Phenomix considers Rochester a unique city to build a business in because of the technology and talent coming out of Mayo Clinic. The startup has a lab facility in Saint Paul but is considering centralizing other pieces of the business in Rochester.

“The entrepreneurial future of the city will revolve around building a successful ecosystem that can support all sizes of companies with the talent, technology, and resources they need for business,” Higgins said.

‘Mental Health: Mind Matters’ Exhibit Makes it OK to Talk about Mental Health

A new, interactive exhibit focused on raising awareness about mental health is now open at the Rochester Art Center. “Mental Health: Mind Matters,” hosted by Mayo Clinic, and presented by Olmsted Medical Center and Rochester Area Foundation, create a safe space for important conversations about mental illness.

Nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The rate may be even higher in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Nearly one-third of Olmsted County residents experienced a mental health condition in 2016, according to the county’s Community Health Needs Assessment.

“Mental health plays a key role in our overall health. Mental illness is common, treatable and a health issue that we as a community should be discussing,” says Bruce Sutor, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist. “Mayo Clinic is pleased to host this exhibit, which not only gives visitors a chance to learn more about mental health, but also helps connect them to valuable mental health resources in the community.”

“Mind Matters: Mental Health” uses immersive experiences and multimedia activities to help build understanding and awareness about mental illness. Visitors will be able to see how mental illness has been treated in the past and learn what it is like to live with a mental illness, such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. A resource center provides information on local mental health resources.

In an accompanying art exhibition, “Making It OK: Art, Bravery and Mental Health,” four Minnesota artists reveal, with honesty and hope, what it means to live with mental illness or be affected by close family members struggling with mental health issues. This exhibition includes paintings and drawings, sculpture, participatory art, comic books and video.

“Mental Health: Mind Matters” at Rochester Art Center is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturday through September 10. There will be a $5 admission for adults. Children 15 and younger are free. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time on the Rochester Art Center’s website.

The Musicant Group Expands to Rochester

Max Musicant, Principal Placemaker & Meghann Southwick, Community Event Manager

The Musicant Group, a design, property management, and event planning firm, has officially expanded into Rochester, Minnesota, the group’s first location outside of the Twin Cities. They will manage and activate One Discovery Square, the recently opened life science center in Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square, creating events to connect building tenants with the external community.

“We are here to build upon our initial consulting for the building and to foster events, experiences and an environment that builds relationships between Mayo Clinic, the Rochester community, and the broader business and medical worlds,” says Max Musicant, Principal Placemaker at The Musicant Group. “Now is a tremendous time to be in Rochester, with more exciting activity occurring than in any other city in Minnesota.”

In addition to managing One Discovery Square, The Musician Group will curate onsite amenities and building features, create inter-building management systems, and provide events for the building’s tenants, the public, and third parties wishing to rent venue space within the building.

Musicant opened its office in Rochester to develop a presence and begin to build relationships within the community after being hired by One Discovery Square developer, Mortenson. The team recently hired Community Event Manager Meghann Southwick to help expand their local capacity. Southwick has held several event and membership management positions with both the Rochester Downtown Alliance and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Musicant team is beginning to create events specific to One Discovery Square, which includes a mix of both social and professional programming. “People should expect something that’s very community driven and focused on collaboration and sharing of ideas,” notes Southwick. “Relationships are so important to this type of ecosystem.”

“The Musicant Group’s engagement in One Discovery Square further distinguishes this as a one-of-a-kind place in Rochester,” says Chris Schad, DMC Director of Business Development – Discovery Square.

One Discovery Square, located at the intersection of 4th Street SW and 2nd Avenue SW, is now welcoming tenants, with a grand opening community celebration planned for September.

Rochester Leaders See Affordable Housing Success During DMC Site Visit to Twin Cities

As Rochester moves into the next phase of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) journey, it’s fortunate to have a wealth of experience and expertise in handling rapid growth practically on its doorstep: The Twin Cities metropolitan area is an acknowledged national leader in mounting the challenges of bringing new kinds of affordable housing into reality.

And not coincidentally, that’s also a key aspect of the DMC effort to transform Rochester into a world-class magnet for healthcare and an economic driver for the entire Minnesota economy. One of its aims is to create a vibrant, walkable downtown core with a variety of housing options, including workforce and affordable housing.

Although that goal is by no means easy to attain, it can indeed be accomplished with determined efforts, “community buy-in” and a healthy dose of collaboration among all the various civic stakeholders, according to some of the most important movers and shakers behind the recent evolution of Twin Cities’ affordable sector. These front-line veterans gave their advice and analyses to a group of Rochester leaders during a June 4 DMC site visit to the Twin Cities.

For example, former Deputy St. Paul Mayor and current DMC Corporation board member Paul Williams teamed with Gretchen Nicholls, a program director for the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), to describe how affordable housing was integrated early into the “big picture” of the Green Line light rail transit corridor. The venue for this discussion was Hamline Station, a two-building development that opened along the corridor in 2015 with more than 100 efficiency, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments affordable to residents earning 50 to 60 percent of the median area income. 

Nicholls told of how the Twin Cities office of LISC, a nonprofit dedicated to providing financing for nearly every aspect of affordable housing, took the point position on “The Big Picture Project,” which began in 2012 as a cross-sector partnership aimed at a more coordinated approach to affordable housing development along the 11-mile line connecting the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Through the effort, some 4,820 affordable housing units were newly constructed or preserved, surpassing a goal of securing 4,500 affordable units by 2020.

The Rochester contingent also visited the Lowertown neighborhood, where they heard of how artist-specific affordable housing can act as a catalyst for broader development and tax-base growth. At the Northern Warehouse Artist Lofts, leaders of developer Artspace conducted tours of the historic building’s attractive home/studio units and described how a cluster of similar affordable artists’ residences helped transform a once-desolate section of downtown St. Paul into a magnet for nightlife and private-sector multifamily housing investments. Lessons from the Twin Cities’ experience in developing affordable housing around a new transit project came in both big and small perspectives and was a valuable learning opportunity for the Rochester contingent.

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation’s $32 Million Gift Advances Mayo Clinic Research

By permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved.

A generous $32 million gift from the New York-based Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation will enable Mayo Clinic to expand its research mission with the construction of a four-story, 64,000-square-foot research building in Rochester.

Planning for the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Building is underway, with groundbreaking expected in 2020 and occupancy in 2022. The building will be located just north of Mayo Clinic’s Opus Building, which is on the corner of Fourth Street Southwest and Fourth Avenue Southwest in Rochester.

“We cannot overstate our gratitude to the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., Mayo Clinic’s president and CEO. “Research is critical to infusing new knowledge into patient care. It paves the way to solve serious or complex medical challenges for our patients at Mayo as well as patients around the world. This remarkable gift will allow us to meet a critical need for research space on our Rochester campus.”

The gift was directed to Mayo Clinic by Michael M. Kellen, foundation president, and Marina Kellen French, vice president. Their parents, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen, now deceased, received care at Mayo Clinic for decades, and that trust and care have continued into the next three generations. Stephen M. Kellen was president and CEO of Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Inc., an international investment firm based in New York, now known as First Eagle Investment Management LLC.

“Our family’s history with Mayo Clinic spans more than four decades, and the physicians and staff at Mayo have become like family to us,” says Marina Kellen French. “We are thrilled to be able to support Mayo and be part of advancing medical research that will help patients for decades to come.”

The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation has been a significant contributor to Mayo Clinic over many years, funding various initiatives and projects in support of Mayo Clinic’s highest priorities. The foundation also has supported the Dr. Richard F. Emslander Professorship at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in recognition of the care that Richard Emslander, M.D., provided to the family over many years.

“Medical research has always been a strong interest of our family,” says Michael M. Kellen. “We are pleased that this gift will address a high-priority need at Mayo while honoring our parents’ legacy in a visible and meaningful way.”

The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Building will add to the Discovery Square sub-district in downtown Rochester. Discovery Square is the research, innovation and development hub of the $5.6 billion Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative.

“The new Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Building will bring more Mayo Clinic expertise to DMC’s Discovery Square and complements the unique entrepreneurial environment of the subdistrict,” adds Lisa Clarke, executive director, DMC Economic Development Agency.

Decisions regarding specific use and occupancy of the new building will be made as part of the planning process this year.