Purdue Foundry Investment Fund backs 3 emerging life science startups with $750,000 to help transition to sustainability

June 14 2018

Purdue Research Foundation’s Foundry Investment Fund (FIF) has recently invested a total of $750,000 in three emerging life science startups as partial matches to investments being made in them by institutional and other investors.

Bionode LLC, Amplified Sciences LLC and CorMatrix Inc. will each receive a $250,000 investment from the fund. The FIF co-invests with other institutional investors to fund startups based on Purdue life sciences technologies.

“The Foundry Investment Fund has invested approximately $4.2 million over the past four years in various life science companies with Purdue and state of Indiana connections,” said John Hanak, Purdue Ventures’ managing director.


Engineered proteins could improve biomanufacturing production of medicines, fuels

June 07 2018

Purdue University researchers have developed a series of engineered proteins that could improve biomanufacturing processes for the production of biofuels, pharmaceuticals and commodity chemicals.

The buildup of toxic materials during the production process can damage cell health and typically lowers the overall amount of product that is made. Few tools are available to broadly address this issue.

Kevin Solomon, an assistant professor in the Purdue Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and his team developed a series of engineered proteins derived from elastin-like polypeptides, or single linear chains of amino acids. ELPs have an inverse phase change property of aggregating in response to specific environmental triggers such as temperature and pH. The researchers fused these ELPs to transcription factors, proteins that bind to DNA, to control gene expression and regulate the buildup of toxic materials.


Solving America’s medication adherence epidemic: Startup develops connected reminder and monitoring system

June 06 2018

A Purdue-affiliated startup is developing a low-cost, high-tech solution to address the nationwide health crisis of Americans failing to take their medicine as prescribed. The Internet of Things system reminds patients to take medications and quickly alerts caregivers or providers when intervention is needed.

Concordance Health Solutions Inc. is answering the call to fight a problem that The New York Times described as “an out-of-control epidemic in the United States that costs more and affects more people than any disease Americans currently worry about.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 20 percent of the 3.8 billion prescriptions written every year in the United States aren’t filled. Among those that are filled, 50 percent are taken incorrectly, especially when it comes to timing, the CDC says. That includes medications intended to prevent costly complications, reduce hospitalizations and even those drugs necessary to keep people alive.


Medical imaging technology detects vascular disorders, injuries in brain without invasive contrast agents

June 05 2018

Purdue University researchers have developed an analytical imaging technology based on functional MRI for detecting and monitoring cerebral vascular disorders and injuries that does not require the use of contrast agents.

The new imaging method focuses on tracking an intrinsic blood-related MRI signal, which has been shown to travel with the blood. The signal is used as a natural biomarker to assess blood flow in a patient.

“We can compare the signal from symmetric arteries and veins in both hemispheres or neck to assess the cerebrovascular integrity, or the balance of blood flow,” said Yunjie Tong, an assistant professor in Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, who developed the technology along with Blaise Frederick, a biophysicist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. “The blood flow should be symmetric between the two sides in a healthy subject.”


Purdue ranks 17th among worldwide universities granted U.S. utility patents, marking fourth straight year in top 20

June 05 2018

Purdue University is ranked 17th in the world among universities granted U.S. utility patents, marking the fourth straight year the university is in the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association’s list of top 20.

Purdue is among only 13 U.S. universities to be rated in the top 20 in each of the past four years. Purdue Research Foundation, which protects Purdue’s intellectual property and promotes entrepreneurial activities, reports that Purdue was ranked No. 16 in 2014 with 93 patents, No. 15 in 2015 with 101 patents, No. 12 in 2016 with 105 patents and No. 17 in 2017 with 100. The rankings are based on data obtained from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

“Being ranked in the top 20 for four straight years and being granted at least 100 patents for three straight years show that we are consistently meeting the goal Purdue President Mitch Daniels set to make Purdue ‘Entrepreneur U,’” said Brooke Beier, executive director of the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. “The rankings show that Purdue is advancing commercialization and entrepreneurship while improving people’s lives and strengthening economic development across Indiana and the nation.”


Purdue Ag-celerator invests $100,000 in two plant science startups

June 01 2018

The Purdue Ag-celerator Fund has invested a total of $100,000 in two plant science startups for the spring round of investments. The recipients are JUA Technologies International LLC, a startup building multipurpose crop dehydrators, and ZeaVaxx LLC, a startup developing a plant-derived nanoparticle that can improve animal vaccines.

“The Ag-celerator is moving into the third year in its goal to help Purdue agricultural entrepreneurs commercialize their innovations,” said Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture. “With this funding through Ag-celerator, these startups have the opportunity to continue to advance their technologies to the public.”

Both startups presented their technology to the Ag-celerator Selection Committee, which includes entrepreneurial and industry professionals from Purdue and beyond, alongside other finalists earlier this month. JUA Technologies International and ZeaVaxx each received $50,000 in funding.

The Purdue Ag-celerator was founded jointly by Purdue Ventures, Purdue Foundry and Purdue College of Agriculture in 2015. A research advancement initiative, Purdue Moves, supports Ag-celerator with a $2 million fund.


Purdue’s Entrepreneur Learning Academy seeks faculty interested in commercialization and entrepreneurship

May 25 2018

Purdue’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship will open its 12th year of the Faculty Entrepreneur Learning Academy, a yearlong professional development course exploring research commercialization and the Purdue entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The program assists faculty interested in commercialization to understand the critical skills and tools necessary for entrepreneurial success. Through the course, faculty learn critical entrepreneurial skills and participate in extensive networking opportunities.

“Through the academy, faculty can learn about a new venture’s non-technical aspects with the goal to move their impactful technologies into the world,” said Arnold Chen, managing director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. “We provide seed funding for faculty projects, and we are excited to see even more participants discover their entrepreneurial spirit and grow their startups.”

ELA faculty also discuss vital leadership and entrepreneurial skills during their weekly two-hour meetings throughout the fall and spring semesters. The course will cover topics such as entrepreneurial finance, how to pitch and intellectual property.


New device uses DC voltage cold plasma technology for a safer, more cost-effective approach to sterilize medical tools

May 24 2018

Purdue University researchers have developed a new device that uses cold plasma technology that could transform how medical tools are sterilized.

The device generates cold plasma, which has high potential to be used in the fields of sterilization and disinfection, through pure direct current high voltage instead of the conventional radio frequency or pulsed DC power.

“We use high-voltage DC technology to create bursts of plasma to sterilize medical tools or devices,” said Alexey Shashurin, an assistant professor in Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, who developed the device along with his graduate student, Xingxing Wang. “This interesting and unique approach is much safer and more cost-effective than radio frequency voltage or pulsed DC power methods to generate cold plasmas.”

The RF voltage or pulsed DC power methods cause electromagnetic interference (EMI), which leads to problems with some medical monitors and devices, and puts patients at risk. Conversely, the DC voltage cold plasma device simplifies creation of electrically safe system.


Keating Supercars to dedicate carmaker space at Purdue’s Discovery Park

May 23 2018

Keating Supercars LLC founder Anthony Keating will be on hand with Purdue University President Mitch Daniels when the British company opens a carmaker space for its Viperia Berus, the fastest street-legal car in the U.S, in the university’s Discovery Park District.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place 11 a.m. Thursday (May 24) at Purdue West, 1400 West State Street, on the west side of campus.Keating will soon begin production at Purdue of the Viperia Berus, which can reach speeds of more than 240 mph.

Keating’s current model of the supercar, the Bolt, will be on display at the event.

Keating Supercars plans to ramp up production of the Berus to about 100 cars a year at Purdue over the next 12 to 18 months. The cars will sell for between $180,000 and $250,000.

The cars being assembled at Purdue are part of a collaboration that will include establishing a STEM program at the University of Bolton in Great Britain similar to a multi-college effort led by James M. Caruthers, the Gerald and Sarah Skidmore Professor in Chemical Engineering at Purdue.

Keating Supercars will donate $30,000 for each car sold to support automotive STEM-based education.


New minimally invasive, cost-effective method shows promise in treating cancer without harming healthy cells

May 22 2018

Purdue University researchers have developed a minimally invasive technique that may help doctors better explore and treat cancerous cells, tissues and tumors without affecting nearby healthy cells.

The method, called PLASMAT - Plasma Technologies for a Healthier Tomorrow - combines three emerging techniques that appear promising in the fight against most types of cancer. PLASMAT combines cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) with electroporation and/or photoporation to kill cancerous cells without harming nearby healthy ones. The method has proven effective in the laboratory against several types of cancerous cells and cancer lines, including types of breast cancer, mouth/cervical cancer and prostate cancer.

CAP, a near room temperature ionized gas, is used to introduce active oxygen or nitrogen species into the cancerous cells, tissues or tumors. An electric field or a laser is used to open the membranes of the cells for introduction of the species. This introduction leads to apoptosis, or killing, of cancer cells once a critical level of reactive species is reached. Nearby healthy cells are either unaffected or minimally affected to a point they are able to easily restore themselves to a normal level.

“Using these three techniques in a combined method has been shown to be 70 to 90 percent more effective in killing cancerous cells than other treatments,” said Prasoon Diwakar, a postdoctoral research associate in the Purdue School of Nuclear Engineering, who developed PLASMAT along with Ahmed Hassanein, the Paul L. Wattelet Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering. “We are using the synergy of these three treatments to provide an efficient, non-toxic and cost-effective approach to fight cancer with minimal chemical and toxic effects.”



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