Eden Prairie is increasingly looking like a hub for medical technology companies, a trend that city and chamber of commerce officials say may be worth promoting.
The latest addition is Aldevron, a Fargo, North Dakota-based company that manufactures critical nucleic acids and proteins used by scientists around the world to research cell and gene therapies.
Aldevron has purchased a vacant, 345,503-square-foot building at 7075 Flying Cloud Drive, once used by Best Buy and Supervalu. On Tuesday, it received Eden Prairie City Council approval to build a 96,244-square-foot addition and remodel other portions to make the building move-in-ready.
It means approximately 500 new jobs in Eden Prairie, according to City Manager Rick Getschow.
Eden Prairie is a great location for expansion, Aldevron’s Lance Monilaws told the city council this week, because the city is close to educational institutions, a good labor market, and a major airport. It is also central to Aldevron’s company headquarters in Fargo and its plants in Madison, Wisconsin, and Lincoln, Nebraska. The Eden Prairie plant will be a short walk from the Golden Triangle Light Rail Station.
The city estimates Aldevron will become the 19th medical technology company in Eden Prairie, joining long-established firms like Starkey Hearing Technologies, a hearing aid manufacturer located in the city since 1975.
Nineteen companies among more than 2,800 Eden Prairie businesses doesn’t seem like a lot, city and chamber of commerce officials admit. But, these medical technology companies together employ thousands of workers – Starkey is one of Eden Prairie’s leading employers with 1,131 workers at its EP facilities and 5,576 across the globe.
Their medical technologies are wide-ranging, from Miromatrix’s work in the area of organ transplants to SynerFuse’s contributions to medical devices in the areas of spinal fusion and chronic pain.
“A number of them are really worldwide businesses,” noted Pat Mulqueeny, president of the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce.
Medical technology companies also offer high-paying jobs. A 2021 study by the Advanced Medical Technology Association found that the average annual pay for such jobs in Minnesota was $101,011, or 60.4% above the state’s pay average.
As a result, the city and chamber of commerce are looking at the idea of promoting Eden Prairie’s medical technology businesses in an organized way as a means to support and retain these companies as well as attract new ones.
“I think there’s some synergy that can happen,” said Mulqueeny, who has led the chamber for nearly 22 years. “We see an opportunity.”
Officials are looking at gathering leaders from these companies in March to gauge interest in the idea.
David Lindahl, the city’s economic development manager, said the meeting might also be a chance to introduce company officials to the Innovation Sandbox. This communitywide collaboration between the city, schools, and businesses was launched in 2021 with the intention of making Eden Prairie more entrepreneur-friendly.
“This discussion is in its infancy,” said Lindahl. “I’m hoping some fun things emerge from it. We’ll see where it goes.”
Similar efforts are underway at the state level. Last year, the Biden administration named a Minnesota consortium of hospitals, research institutions, and medical device companies – known as Minnesota MedTech 3.0 – as one of 31 “tech hubs” nationwide eligible for fast-tracked investment in medical technology innovation.
Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case is among those enthused about the possibility of a local emphasis on medical technology.
“We have quite a powerhouse of med-tech, and Aldevron really adds tremendously to that equation,” he said this week. “So I’m really excited for Eden Prairie and just the concept of becoming known, possibly in the world.”
Editor’s note: David Lindahl, who is quoted in this story, is also a board member for the nonprofit Eden Prairie Local News.
We offer several ways for our readers to provide feedback. Your comments are welcome on our social media posts (Facebook, X, Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn). We also encourage Letters to the Editor; submission guidelines can be found on our Contact Us page. If you believe this story has an error or you would like to get in touch with the author, please connect with us.