A Belgian biotech company, which licenses Mayo Clinic technology and leases a floor in downtown Rochester, reported losing $33.19 million in 2015.
Celyad, formerly known as Cardio3, reported its 2015 financial results on Thursday. The $33.19 million loss was the latest in many years of losses for the in-development company. It lost $18.1 million in 2014 and $15.9 million in 2013.
However, the firm is attracting a lot of interest from investors due to its development of cancer treatment using CAR T-Cell therapy as well as its work on treating heart disease with re-programming their own stem cells to regenerate cardiac tissue.
In 2015, Celyad raised $13.4 million in funding. It reported $114 million in net cash and cash equivalents on hand at end of 2015 compared to versus $30 million in 2014.
CEO Dr. Christian Homsy described the year as "another transformational" one for the company.
"2015 was another great year for Celyad, with tremendous progress made in our clinical programs and successful fundraisings that provide us the means to further develop the potential of our technology platforms," he stated in the financial report this week. "The company has technologies that have the potential to position it as a fully integrated biotechnology leader, and we are looking forward to many value creation steps over the course of the next few months."
The company's relationship with Rochester began in 2007, when it licensed stem-cell research by Mayo Clinic's Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar. Celyad now licenses four patents from Mayo Clinic. The company and Mayo Clinic have collaborated for years on the cardiopoiesis technology used to repair patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cells to regenerate cardiac tissue. Mayo Clinic owned 211,135 shares or 2.69 percent of Celyad as of March 3.
Celyad decided to become even closer with the city of Rochester in May 2015, when it signed a five-year lease for the fifth flood of the city-owned Minnesota BioBusiness Center. It agreed to pay a rent of $22,444.50 per month, or $18 per square foot for a prototype manufacturing facility. It was supposed to bring 33 new jobs to Rochester.
However, things didn't turn out that way. The project stalled due to a higher-than-expected cost to remodel the fifth floor.
"The budgets we got far exceeded initial assumptions on which the project was decided," said wrote Homsy in an email from Belgium in November. "Including the city support, the fit-out cost now exceeds the cost to do the same work in other locations where there is no city or state support."
Celyad pulled the plug on the plan to presumable to build in a city that will offer it more financial assistance. It does have a U.S. office in Boston.
The fifth floor remains empty, though Assistant City Administrator Gary Neumann confirms that the Celyad is dutifully paying its monthly rent. The city is looking for another tenant to eventually take take over the space. Neumann said that there has been interest in the fifth floor from potential tenants.