Excelen to raise $12 million for orthopedic incubator-seed fund

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Excelen, a nonprofit orthopedic research and education foundation, will raise $12 million over three years to establish a downtown Minneapolis incubator and early-stage seed fund to back promising orthopedic start-ups.

The incubator will be located at Excelen’s headquarters near Hennepin County Medical Center and the Metrodome, where it already operates laboratories and research facilities. Prominent orthopedic surgeons Drs. Richard Kyle and Ramon Gustilo, United Properties, med tech entrepreneur Harlan Jacobs, and Dave Durenberger, an orthopedic administrator and son of former U.S. Senator David Durenberger, donated the $3.8 million building to Excelen.

The group hopes to establish a $2 million seed fund to back companies housed at the incubator, where it will also renovate its existing facilities and build new offices and wet labs. (MedCity News operates an office in the building.) Built in the 1940s, the facility was originally a dormitory for Swedish nurses before becoming the central business office for Allina Hospitals & Clinics.

Excelen has helped several orthopedic firms design and test their technologies, including the first cementless hip replacement approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Its greatest success was helping to launch Spine-Tech, acquired by Sulzer Medica for nearly $600 million in 1998 and now the spine division of Zimmer Medical, a major orthopedic company based in Warsaw, Indiana.

Excelen also kick-started DGIMED Ortho Inc. in Minnetonka, which raised $3.4 million from investors last year, and Zyga Technology, which is backed by early-stage venture capital firm Split Rock Partners.

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