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ST. PAUL-Peter Bianco has been named executive director for University Enterprise Laboratories, a nonprofit entity set up by the University of Minnesota in collaboration with corporate partners to provide incubator lab space for bioscience start-up companies. He will recruit and evaluate prospective tenants for the incubator and serve as its primary liaison with the business community and government.

Bianco was previously business development director of emerging technologies for Phillips Plastics Corp.

The incubator will be housed in a renovated 125,000-sf building at 1000 Westgate Ave., which is in the heart of the St. Paul Bioscience Zone and along the transit way between the university’s St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses. Renovation work is nearly completed on the front offices, which are about 80% leased. Work will begin in early November on the lab space, which is about 40% preleased, with an anticipated opening in June. The UEL facility will lease space to the trade group MN Bio, the University’s Office of Business Development and Cima Nanotech Inc.

The City of St. Paul purchased the University Enterprise Laboratories building, which is located on an 11-acre site, from Interstate Partners in 2003. The location provides tax incentives for biotech companies and allows easy access for university faculty and students.

Board members have been raising funds over the past year for the acquisition and renovation of the facility. The board plans to announce completion of the fundraising campaign and a timeline for renovation and occupancy in the next few weeks.

Bianco was founder and president of RecoveryCare, a provider of interactive tools for patients and their families during treatment of surgical procedures related to muscles, bones and cartilage, which was acquired by Medtronic’s Sofamor-Danek division two years ago. University Enterprise Laboratories is the result of a public-private partnership to advance Minnesota’s biotechnology industry. A nonprofit entity separate from the university, it was created in 2002 to provide incubator lab space and equipment for start-up bioscience companies.

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