Burrill gets "firm commitment" for $1B to back biotech park

After facing a rising level of skepticism in Minnesota over the fate of his plans for a billion-dollar biotech park, the high-profile G. Steven Burrill tells the hometown newspaper in Minneapolis that he's oh-so-close to getting the financing lined up for the audacious development.

"We have a firm commitment for that billion dollars from a single investor," Burrill tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "We have made a lot of progress recently, and we're optimistic that we'll get it done." Burrill, who works with a global network of investment groups, adds he's in negotiations with a sovereign wealth fund--which he declined to identify.

Burrill thrilled development officials in Minnesota when he first laid out his vision for a sprawling, 1.7 million-square-foot biotech park that would be the future home for spin-offs of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The Star Tribune reported in early 2009 that he almost had the financing in place. And state officials committed tens of millions of dollars to build the infrastructure for the park, which would also work to lure drug, device and vaccine developers. But working in the middle of a tempestuous economic downturn, Burrill could never quite get it done.

- here's the report from the Star Tribune