Angels With Dirty Faces?
Mpls. medical company may bolt for Wisconsin
VitalMedix, a start-up medical company born of U of M research, might relocate in the Badger State for lack of investors in Minnesota.
A highly touted start-up company recently spun off from the University of Minnesota will likely move to Wisconsin because it can't raise enough money in Minnesota to fund its research.
VitalMedix Inc., a Minneapolis-based company developing a hemorrhagic shock drug designed to keep alive a victim suffering near-fatal injuries, needs $3.5 million to advance its technology to human clinical trials. So far, VitalMedix has attracted only $600,000 from local investors.
Should VitalMedix move across the border, it could lose $1 million in 2010 federal funding that U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, has been trying to secure in Congress.
Minnesota arguably has a greater stake in VitalMedix. The company is one of the first start-ups to emerge from the U's ambitious effort to revamp its technology transfer program and generate profits from university research.
Based on the work of two U doctors, VitalMedix's drug, dubbed Tamiasyn, incorporates chemicals found in some animals that allow them to survive in certain conditions, such as hibernation or at great undersea depths. The idea is to extend what trauma surgeons call the "golden hour," the period after an injury that offers the patient the best chance for survival if quickly transported to a hospital. Independent experts have called the drug a breakthrough of tremendous potential.
Doug Johnson, head of the University's Venture Center who also sits on the company's board, said he does not want to see jobs created from U of M technology end up in Wisconsin. However, the school has a financial responsibility to ensure VitalMedix survives. The U has already invested several hundred thousand dollars, not to mention many hours, into nurturing VitalMedix, he said.
There is something fishy here - and it is not just the state opener!
We've been told that all the expensive new biomedical research buildings at the University of Minnesota are going to create "thousands of jobs."
And yet this firm is going to leave the state because of lack of startup funding and/or the tax situation. [Depending on who you want to believe.]
We also recall that the big stem cell patent at the U [or 5% of it] was sold to Athersys, a company in Cleveland. The University Enterprise Laboratory has also fallen on hard times lately.
How about some straight talk about the linkage between funding for new biomedical research buildings at the U of M and creation of new jobs?