Leaders of Connecticut-based BioSig Technologies say the prospect of establishing itself in an emerging world-class hub for medtech innovation played a big part in driving their decision to open a new research & development facility in Rochester, Minnesota.
The 10-year-old, Nasdaq-listed firm announced Oct. 15 it has set up shop in the Discovery Square life sciences hub, one of the six development sub-districts comprising the Destination Medical Center (DMC) area in and around downtown Rochester.
Discovery Square’s focus is leveraging the power of Mayo Clinic’s global clout as a research powerhouse to spin off a thriving biotech and medtech start-up community, bringing together the scientific expertise, entrepreneurism and venture investment elements needed to establish the city as an attractive destination for emerging companies.
And in the case of BioSig, it all worked as planned. The firm had earlier established a scientific collaboration with a local expert — Dr. Samuel Asirvatham, vice-chair of innovation and medical director of Mayo’s Electrophysiology (EP) Laboratory. Together they helped develop the PURE EPÔ platform, which uses proprietary technology to filter out electromagnetic interference from equipment in a typical EP lab to produce “cleaner” electrocardiograms needed for safer and more efficient catheter ablations, a quickly growing procedure to treat stubborn cases of complex heart arrhythmias.
That, in turn, led to a 10-year strategic collaboration with Mayo Clinic Ventures, including “intellectual property and clinical support” for developing further new technology. The new R&D facility, located in the Conley-Maass-Downs Building, is the result of that expanding partnership, said BioSig Executive Vice President Natasha Drapeau.
“This is a very exciting opportunity,” she said. “We see it as a new chapter in our company’s history, because we are so enthusiastic about what DMC is doing.”
Drapeau’s home is in Geneva, Switzerland, and every time she’s in Rochester she gets a similar feeling to Geneva because the level of intellectual capital is so visible. “It’s so inspiring to be in Rochester now. We’re convinced this is the beginning of some great things that are going to be happening in the city and are excited to be able to bring our expertise to it and be a part of that journey,” said Drapeau.
DMC Economic Development Agency Executive Director Lisa Clarke notes the feeling is mutual.
“We are thrilled to welcome BioSig to Rochester and join the diverse and innovative companies in Discovery Square,” said Clarke. “They will add great value to the community and will be an attractor for world-class talent, spur collaboration and drive economic development.”
Drapeau said around 10 to 12 employees will initially be housed in the Conley-Maass-Downs Building, but given the velocity of new projects being discussed with Mayo Clinic Ventures, it’s expected BioSig will quickly outgrow those quarters and seek a new venue capable of accommodating between 30 to 40 people within two years.