At The Table: September 11, 2019

September 10  

Medical Alley Association Highlights Innovation Aimed at Improving Kidney Health

When President Trump signed an executive order on July 10 aimed at improving the lives of the millions of Americans with kidney disease, it shed light on one of the most pervasive, yet least publicized health issues facing Americans today. 37 million people — 1 in 8 adults in the United States — are affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD), approximately 90% of those with CKD don’t know they have it, and one-third of all adults are at risk for CKD. The disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more lives than breast cancer or prostate cancer, and caring for people with CKD and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) cost more than $116 billion in 2016. 

Medical Alley organizations are helping to change these statistics by improving preventative care with leading-edge diagnostics, creating innovative treatment options for both short- and long-term care, and developing world-class transplant methods that benefit both donors and recipients. These efforts directly address the issues laid out in the executive order, showing once again that the future of healthcare comes from Medical Alley. Check out the graphic here to learn more about the work being done right here in Medical Alley.

Medical Alley Association was pleased to host Catherine Lenz, staff for Congressman Tom Emmer, at two of the companies working in the kidney health space: Pursuit Vascular and Osprey Medical.

At Pursuit Vascular, Catherine toured the manufacturing facility and learned about how their product can significantly reduce infections from the use of catheters in dialysis, particularly when used in the home. Osprey Medical demonstrated how their technology improves outcomes for patients with at-risk kidney factors, including diabetes and heart failure. We are greatly appreciate Catherine coming to see firsthand about the great work being done to improve kidney health by these two Medical Alley companies!

Congressman Phillips Tours StemoniX, TE Connectivity

Earlier this summer, Representative Dean Phillips made stops at two Medical Alley Association members located in the 3rd Congressional District: StemoniX and TE Connectivity.

At StemoniX Rep. Phillips saw firsthand the groundbreaking work being done through the development of microOrgans. He toured the manufacturing area and met with Stemonix CEO and co-founder Ping Yeh and other employees to hear about the company’s history, how their technology works, and what’s next. Ping shared the cutting-edge research and development that is done by StemoniX and how their technology is improving the process for testing medicines that will have a lasting and positive impact for patients throughout the world.

Rep. Phillips was joined by Plymouth Mayor Jeff Wojse for a tour of TE Connectivity’s Plymouth manufacturing location. After a briefing on TE Connectivity’s investment in Medical Alley and policy concerns, they put on gowns and got a firsthand look at the manufacture of some of TE Connectivity’s products. Finally, the Representative and the Mayor had an opportunity to hear directly from TE Connectivity Employees via a town hall-style question and answer session.

Medical Alley Association Meets with Congresswoman Angie Craig

In early August, Medical Alley Association Director of Government Relations Bobby Patrick had the opportunity to meet with Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig. Congresswoman Craig provided her perspective on major topics impacting the health technology and care industry, including taxes, trade, and changes in healthcare regulation. They also discussed issues important to the Medical Alley community including improving patient access to new health technology. Bobby thanked her for supporting the repeal of the medical device tax and shared the need to pass a full repeal before it is reinstated on January 1. We greatly appreciate Congresswoman Craig taking the time to meet with us and for her support of the health technology and care community and the patients it serves!

Congressman Hagedorn, Reps. Brand and Munson Tour Coloplast’s Mankato Manufacturing Facility

Medical Alley’s Government Relations team headed south to join Congressman Hagedorn and State Representatives Jeremy Munson and Jeff Brand on a tour of Coloplast’s Mankato manufacturing site. Coloplast’s US headquarters is located in North Minneapolis.  The company was started in 1954 when a nurse named Elise Sorensen came up with an idea to help her sister live a better life. Sorensen accomplished this by developing the world’s first adhesive ostomy bag. It was a simple solution that made a huge difference in the lives of thousands. Coloplast develops products and services to make life easier for people with personal and private medical conditions. Their business includes Ostomy Care, Continence Care, Wound & Skin Care and Urology Care.

Coloplast’s Mankato facility is home to the development and manufacturing site of their skincare line. The skin is not only the body’s largest organ, but it is also its first line of defense. Coloplast believes that doctors can best promote good skin health by focusing on three areas: cleanse, moisturize and protect.

Coloplast employees roughly 450 people in Minnesota with 100 jobs located in Mankato. This site continues to grow and expand—as you drive up to their facility you see help wanted signs lining the perimeter of the building. One of the biggest issues Coloplast faces, like many of our members, is talent recruitment. Coloplast is working to partner with local tech colleges and universities to help build a pathway for students to learn quality and regulatory skills needed to work in a manufacturing facility.

A big thank you to Congressman Hagedorn for visiting Coloplast. We appreciate the efforts he has put forth to help repeal the medical device tax and look forward to continuing to work with him to help advance the medical device community. Thank you as well to Representatives Brand and Munson for touring Coloplast, a company located in their backyard that is so important to the North Mankato community. We look forward to partnering with these legislators in upcoming legislative sessions to address how we can attract and retain talent in Minnesota.

Microbiologics Hosts State Legislators for Tour

Medical Alley’s Government Relations team headed to central Minnesota to join Senator Jerry Relph (R- St. Cloud) and Representative Dan Wolgamott (D- St. Cloud) to tour Microbiologics, headquartered in St. Cloud, a home-grown staple to the community. 

Microbiologics is a biotechnology company that has been in central Minnesota since 1971. They are the leading provider of ready-to-use QC microorganisms for quality control testing in the clinical, pharmaceutical, food, water and educational industries, and distribute to every region of the world. Their goal is to provide the highest quality of biomaterials for a safer, healthier world. They are making this possible by distributing to more than 140 countries worldwide.

A home-grown company with its roots planted in Central Minnesota, Microbiologics is not only passionate about creating a safer and healthier world, but they strive to improve the wellness and vitality for their local community. They take pride in investing in the community and building strong partnerships with local organizations. Having been around for nearly 50 years, those partnerships have been able to grow and prosper. For example, they have strengthened their partnership with St. Cloud State University by building a pipeline within their educational institution, and today, nearly 40% of Microbiologics professionals come from the SCSU talent pipeline, with about 75% of the total employees being women. One of the many great things about this company is how connected the employees are with one another and the community. We look forward to continuing to work with them for many years to advance the great work they are doing in Medical Alley to make the world a healthier place.

Medical Alley Association and Medtronic Visit with Congressman Stauber

In late May Medical Alley’s Government Relations team sat down with Congressman Stauber and Medtronic to touch base on what was going on in Medical Alley. Congressman Stauber represents the 8th Congressional District, an area known for its mining of minerals and metals. Congressman Stauber was eager to hear how the end of Minnesota’s legislative session played out for the Medical Alley Community and provided his perspective on what was going on in Washington on key topics surrounding the opioid epidemic, healthcare regulations, trade and the medical device tax. We had deep conversations about the impact certain policies will have on his district, and on Minnesota’s health technology and care community as a whole. The productive conversation centered around ways we can improve patient outcomes and access to health technology and devices.

We appreciate Congressman Stauber’s support and look forward to continuing to build an even stronger partnership with the Medical Alley community and Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. 

“We’re Hiring”: ANI Pharmaceuticals Continues Growing in Baudette

In August, we headed North to ANI Pharmaceuticals located along the Canadian border in Baudette, Minnesota. As you enter the town, you’ll drive down Main Street, pass a gas station, post office, a couple of bars and restaurants, and a large blue brick building with a “we’re hiring” banner flying in the wind. The building stretched along the city block (126,000 sq ft building) with the name “ANI” plastered on its siding, blending nicely into the community that it has been a staple of since 1935. As you enter the building, you’re greeted with a warm Minnesota welcome, likely by your neighbor. In a town of 1100 people, ANI employs over 200 people from the community and surrounding area. Our team at Medical Alley Association had the opportunity to gown up and tour the entire facility, getting a glimpse into the entire process of a pharmaceutical manufacturing site; from the development area of a drug, to packaging, labeling and shipping. It was an incredible experience to see all of the steps and regulations set in place for this industry. It was a wonderful educational opportunity for our Government Relations team to be a part of, to learn about the industry and issues ANI faces. One issue the Greater Minnesota-based company faces is jobs and workforce development. Like many of our members, attracting and retaining talent has been a reoccurring theme. ANI currently has 30+ job openings at all skill levels; as the company continues to grow and expand this issue will continue to be prevalent. Our association will continue to find ways to push legislation and build partnerships to address the talent issue in Minnesota. We want to make Minnesota a place everyone wants to call home.

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