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Research company shows interest in Elk Run

Biotech startup Recombinetics, a pig research firm, appears poised to become the first company at the Elk Run biobusiness park in Pine Island.

"Recombinetics just signed a Letter of Intent to build a state-of-the-art swine unit at the Elk Run Biobusiness Park," Recombinetics CEO Scott Fahrenkrug announced on Twitter on Friday.

Recombinetics plans to develop disease-specific lines of pigs. It's "state-of-the-art" facility at the biobusiness park is likely to be used for that research.

Once a line of pigs prone to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or illness is developed, Recombinetics will contract with farmers to raise each pig line. Each line will consist of about 200 pigs, all having the same propensity to develop that one, specific disease. The Elk Run facility, as Fahrenkrug has previously told the Post-Bulletin, will focus on research and development of new pig lines.

The pigs will be used for sale to research facilities worldwide. Researchers who in the past had to take years of their own time to develop "transgenic" research animals will be able to simply make a call and order a stock for their laboratory.

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Elk Run has sat largely idle since developer Tower Investments, Inc. first announced that venture capitalist G. Steven Burrill would raise $1 billion to fund infrastructure and draw biotech startups.
 
Burrill announced more than $1 billion in venture capital fund closures earlier this year, which he said would offer financing to good candidates for Elk Run. But it's not specifically earmarked just for Elk Run.

Rather, the Elk Run-specific $1 billion still hasn't closed. That fund, if it comes to fruition, will offer money to cherry-picked biotechs that will be required to locate at Elk Run if they take the money.

Elk Run planners have long said that 14 or 15 buildings will be constructed at Elk Run within the first five years after the first building goes up. But only a single plot of land with a foundation-ready spot apparent exists to date.

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