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French ambassador visits Mayo Clinic and discusses the value of collaboration

French Ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Étienne toured Mayo Clinic on Friday with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and local leaders as part of discussions about future scientific and economic collaborations.

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Mayo Clinic Chief Business Development Officer Jim Rogers III, left, Rochester Mayor Kim Norton, regenerative medicine researcher Dr. Andre Terzic and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar listen as French Ambassador Philippe Étienne speaks in the Siebens Building in downtown Rochester on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.
Jeff Kiger / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Partnerships in both medicine and commerce were at the heart of the messages shared by local leaders, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and France's ambassador to the United States on Friday morning following a tour of Mayo Clinic.

World-renowned regenerative medicine researcher Dr. Andre Terzic introduced Ambassador Philippe Étienne at a press event at Mayo Clinic by highlighting that Dr. Charles Mayo traveled to France 100 years ago this month to meet with the legendary scientist Marie Curie , the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

“They started a highly celebrated relationship and research effort to revolutionize medicine … it's that spirit of medicine without borders that has led the legacy of Mayo and drove its humanitarian mission of unlocking new technologies and new therapies,” said Terzic.

The ambassador said he was impressed after touring the clinic facilities and he is excited about the possibility of more partnerships between Mayo Clinic and French companies.

“I am really looking forward to strengthening our collaboration between the U.S. and France, especially in Minnesota," said Étienne, standing between Klobuchar and Rochester Mayor Kim Norton. "And in return, I hope that (we) will be able to organize a mission of companies and institutions as I discussed yesterday with the governor of Minnesota and your senator, and it will help us to continue fruitful and marvelous cooperation."

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Mayo Clinic Chief Business Development Officer Jim Rogers III also spoke to highlight Mayo Clinic’s innovation, citing the launch or involvement with 32 startup companies in 2022 as well as that Mayo inventors have been issued 232 patents . When asked about any specific Mayo Clinic projects tied with France, Rogers acknowledged that some announcements may be coming in the near future.

“It's interesting that you mentioned that. We actually … have a relationship now with a venture group that is based in France. And we're about a week away, hopefully, from being able to announce a relationship much like we did with the country of Ireland, where we have the ability to work with entrepreneurs, management teams coming out of France,” Rogers said. “The venture group would be willing to fund it and we're willing to put in some of our clinical technology. So we're actually really excited about that. I think it's gonna be a really, really nice collaboration and a great example of how we like to work with the country of France.”

Earlier, Klobuchar had emphasized the need for more international partnerships with Minnesota.

“As we have learned from what's happening in Europe today, as you see the war in Ukraine and Russia's invasion, the importance of strengthening allegiances. It means protecting democracies, like Ukraine and around the world, but it also means trade partnerships and innovation partnerships,” she said.

Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard Around Rochester," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. The opinions of my employer do not necessarily reflect my opinions. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.
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