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Minnesota’s would-be biotech park Elk Run inks its first big commitment

Recombinetics, a Minneapolis-based company that genetically engineers pigs for biomedical and agricultural purposes, has formally signed up to set up shop in the Elk Run BioBusiness Park.

Recombinetics, a Minneapolis-based company that genetically engineers pigs for biomedical and agricultural purposes, has formally signed up to set up shop in the Elk Run BioBusiness Park.

“Recombinetics just signed a Letter of Intent to build a state-of-the-art swine unit at the Elk Run Biobusiness Park,” the company’s CEO announced via twitter.

The deal is an important milestone for Elk Run and the hopes the location may someday be a vibrant biotech hub for the state. This is the first official move by a company into the Pine Island facility, located 15 miles north of Rochester. The BioBusiness Park is just one part of the Elk Run project, which is a 2,325-acre development that has largely stood empty. The project has drawn much skepticism due to numerous delays and big (yet unfulfilled) talk of its patron, Steve Burrill.

Recombinetics has been expected to sign up for some time. Company officials told the Star Tribune last February that it was looking for space to raise up to 200 pigs with cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes, in order to sell the animals to medical device companies for research purposes.

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Recombinetics founder and President Scott Fahrenkrug did not have any information on a potential timeline. “We’re sitting down to the table to design the facility,” he said. “I’ve got blueprints, and we’re going to be site specifically designing it, and that’s how we’re moving ahead.”