Rochester: Mill Creek Life Sciences

Known for the Mayo Clinic, Rochester is home to another medical company making huge steps in the development of clinical grade stem cells

By Dan Emerson

Editor's note: This article is part of the Local Focus: Rochester feature that appeared in the May 2013 issue

Using technology licensed from Mayo, Mill Creek makes cell culture supplements used in growing stem cell and primary cells for clinical and research markets. The company, founded by former Mayo DNA researcher Judy Lundy and entrepreneur Steven Dietz, serves researchers who treat patients using stem cells derived from patients' own bone marrow or adipose tissue.

The company is halfway to its goal to raise $3 million in financing from angel investors - an effort that began in the fall of 2011, Lundy says. "We'd like to have it wrapped up by the middle of the year, depending on how long the [state-funded] angel tax-credit money lasts."

The company began production late last year and has shipped its cell products to about 15 customers in a half-dozen foreign countries, supplying a number of Phase 3 clinical trials, according to Lundy.

Mill Creek is the equivalent of "a tool and die maker for the regenerative medicine market," Lundy says. The industry is in its very early stages, "but when it takes off, we'll be in a good position."

Regarding competition, Lundy says Mill Creek has only one known competitor: Zen Bio. So far, however, Mill Creek is the only provider of clinical grade stem cells, she says.