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Mayo Clinic: More companies to fill BioBusiness Center

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Sanderling Ventures and Versant Ventures, two of the inaugural tenants for the soon-to-open Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, are California-based firms that finance medical start-up companies.

The venture capitalist firms are two of the six businesses expected to fill the new public/private incubator in the Minnesota BioBusiness Center to encourage economic development in Rochester.

Mayo Clinic plans to announce the other four companies at a grand opening event Friday morning at the center on the skyway level of the downtown complex owned by the City of Rochester.

This joint project involving Mayo Clinic, the city and Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. originated last fall. Mayo Clinic gave $100,000 to turn the 2,500 square feet of city-owned space into offices. RAEDI is handling the management and leasing of the space.

The goal is to take advantage of the influence of Mayo Clinic's efforts to spin off related businesses and generate more local jobs.

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Venture capitalists were included in the center in an effort to help start-up companies find financing. Neither Sanderling nor Versant are expected to staff their accelerator offices on a daily basis, but use them when meeting with Rochester area companies.

Along with Mayo Clinic Ventures, Sanderling Ventures is invested in two Mayo-related companies called Torax Medical and Naviscan. Sanderling typically invests an average of $25 million, when doing a round of financing.

Versant Ventures currently manages a $500 million fund and is invested in more than 75 companies.

In December, the Rochester City Council OK'ed a plan to give the project an additional $100,000 from local sales tax money. The money was allocated to RAEDI, which in turn used it for the accelerator.

The center is meant to nurture early-stage companies in the biotechnology industry and help them get up and running quicker than they could on their own.

Mayo Clinic leases the top five floors of the eight-story building for a variety of offices, including Mayo Clinic Ventures. That leaves the bottom three levels for outside tenants. When Minnesota BioBusiness Center opened in 2009, the goal was to attract biotechnology and medical device firms that would benefit by being near Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota Rochester.

The accelerator includes six offices plus a conference room and other public areas. Rents are expected to range from $13 to $15 per square foot.

Related Topics: MAYO CLINIC
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