Innovation in LifeScience Event

IDS TowerI attended the 2nd Annual Life Sciences Innovation Showcase hosted by the UMN OTC & Mayo Ventures at the “Windows over Minneasota” 50th floor of the IDS tower.

Opening the event was three videos with inspirations messages from Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Al Franken, and Representative Eric Paulsen speaking about the history and vibrancy of the Minnesota Medical / Healthcare ecosystem.

Featured speakers included:


  • Fanconi Anemia Gene Editing by CRISPR/Cas9 System
    • Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD – Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota
  • Non-invasive Assessment of Serum Potassium Levels through Wireless Monitoring of ECG
    • Paul A. Friedman, MD – Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic Rochester
  • A Method for Prognostic Classification of Canine Lymphoma
    • Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD – Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Minnesota
  • Magnetics, Nanotechnology and Rapid Endothelialization of Implanted Cardiovascular Devices
    • Brandon J. Tefft, PhD – Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic Rochester
  • Lung Pacing for Ventilator-Induced Diaphragm Dysfunction
    • James Krocak, MS, MBA – Medical Devices Center, University of Minnesota
  • Surgical Optimization System
    • Jeanne M. Huddleston, MD – Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic Rochester

The innovations and technology presented was amazing.  One example I’ll highlight was the two technologies around Lymphoma treatments.   The first technology revolved around the ability to modify any single component of the DNA.  The second was the capability to deliver that instructor to only targeted cells.   The ability to combine these two technologies successfully meant that individual mutated cells could be addressed and returned to normal.

This capability would enable extremely large and disruptive shifts in the areas of treatment, pharmacy and insurance industries.

Some potential disruptions:

  • Large number of procedures could be eliminated or replaced with the DNA altering treatments.   This would probably see a mass consolidation of procedures and reduce the number of alternative procedures and surgeries.   This impacts both the training of care providers and the types facilities & staffing needed in the future many be simpler requiring less survey units and recovery capacity in hospitals.
  • The ability to treat the DNA directly would eliminate many of today’s pharma products.
  • Insurance companies may dramatically shift to only funding these types of procedures based on how the outcomes compare to older methods.
  • If gene manipulation can correct defects,  what is the savings to society or benefits in productivity
  • How does overall advances in technology change the cost of health care
  • How does a shift to treating wellness vs. illness change the philosophy of health care providers
  • Can the industry make the shift,  or will it resist and block new technologies
  • etc…   this can go on and on

Perhaps a more concerning aspect of this progress is the legislation and regulation nationally and internationally required to govern the overall ability to modify DNA.   What rights to patients have?  To be returned to “normal”,  what is normal?   Can you be made better than normal?   Enhanced?    Also,  what rights to employers have to make the employees more productive?   What rights to governments have to better citizens and soldiers?  What rights to children have to save their parents from illness?    The return of Eugenics is upon us.

The day concluded with a networking event with new start-ups from the UMN OTC & Mayo Ventures:

  • cVcHD HeartSavers Clinics | Maury Taylor
  • EmboMedics | Omid Souresrafil
  • Hennepin Life Sciences | Bill Faulkner
  • MesoFlow | Kai Kroll
  • Vigilant Diagnostics | Rick Carlson
  • Vital Simulations | Lisa Jansa
  • Xcede Technologies | Allen Berning

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