MINNEAPOLIS-After nearly two years of planning and preparation, Elliot Park Lifesciences Institute, the first dedicated business incubator in the Minneapolis Lifesciences Corridor, has opened at 700 S. 10th Ave. The 60,000-sf four-story building is skyway- and tunnel-connected to Hennepin County Medical Center and marks the north bookend of the Minneapolis Lifesciences Corridor.

The Lifesciences Building will be renovated, leased and managed by Bloomington, MN-based United Properties. The Lifesciences Building has since 1991 housed Midwest Orthopaedic Research Foundation, the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory and the Gustilo Medical Education Center. Drs. Kyle and Gustilo are orthopaedic surgeons and the cofounders of MORF and the laboratory and education center.

Bounded by Portland and 11th Avenues and Lake Street and S. 6th Street, the Minneapolis Lifesciences Corridor is included in the state’s Bioscience Tax Free Zone. The Corridor is a partnership of physicians, healthcare and medical research institutions, along with the City of Minneapolis.

Development of the incubator involved the $1.9-million purchase of the Lifesciences Building, located at the corner of 7th Street and 10th Avenue, in late August by a group of private investors, including two doctors, United Properties and Midwest Orthopaedic Research Foundation, and Genesis Business Centers, a Columbia Heights, MN-based developer of business incubators.

The Biomechanics Lab, the Gustilo Medical Education Center and MORF will continue to be located on the building’s lower level. The facilities are expected to draw a wide range of start-up life sciences companies to the incubator program, which will be located in 10,000 sf on the building’s first floor. There will be space for about 10 incubator companies in a broad spectrum of life sciences — from medical device technology and delivery systems to surgical and biological treatments. Consultants ranging from attorneys and accountants to executive recruiters will also office in the incubator space.

The three upper levels of the Lifesciences Building will be leased to established life sciences companies that can benefit from the wet lab space and the Hennepin County Medical Center affiliation. The incubator program will be managed by Genesis Business Centers.

“The on-site wet lab facilities are a valuable benefit to start-up life sciences companies,” says David Durenberger, Minneapolis Lifesciences Corridor board member and director of operations for Midwest Orthopaedic Research Foundation, a key backer of the incubator.

Six Minnesota-based start-ups have signed up for space in the incubator, including Dynamic Spine, TranS1, Orthopaedic Innovations, Surgeon Solutions, Twin Star Medical, Inc. and Shepard Medical. After one to two years, “graduates” of the incubator will have the opportunity to lease space on the upper levels of the Lifesciences Building.

In addition to the state’s Bioscience Zone tax credits, the city has applied for $130 million in funds from the Federal New Markets Tax Credit Program, which would provide investors a tax credit for making equity investments in designated community development areas, including the Minneapolis Lifesciences Corridor.

Genesis Business Centers, in cooperation with Minneapolis Lifesciences Corridor leaders, is trying to raise capital for the Minneapolis Lifesciences Capital Fund.

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