Five Minnesota start-ups recently traveled to Saudi Arabia to find distributors and clinical sites, meet with potential investors and set up partnerships, the Star Tribune reported on Thursday.

The trip was organized by the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, through its business relationship with Al Khaymah Establishment USA. The organization posted a Q and A on its Saudia Arabia trip on its website. One of the questions deals with Pine Island's Elk Run, a project that has experienced delays and skepticism from some of the state's investment community. The project's first building in its biobusiness park broke ground in November.

Steve Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Co., had pledged to raise $1 billion to help bring biotech companies at Elk Run. He told the Star Tribune in December that the deal hasn't closed yet.

"We're making reasonably good progress on it," Burrill said. "We're in very serious dialogue with a single investor. We thought it would be done at year's end."

From the BBAM's website:

Does this business relationship have a connection to Burrill & Company or Elk Run?

No. This is a separate project stemming from BBAM’s Full Spectrum Funding initiative focusing on improving the funding environment for startup companies statewide. The BBAM Saudi program has no relationship to either of these two organizations.