Two startups based on Purdue research receive $100,000 in funding

January 20 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Emerging Innovations Fund, an evergreen fund created to accelerate the commercialization of Purdue’s early-stage discoveries, has awarded funding to two startups based on Purdue University intellectual property.

Jewell Laboratories LLC and SPEAK MODalities have each received $50,000 from the fund. Both companies license their technologies through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and are clients of Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub located on the Purdue campus.

Jewell Laboratories, based on research by Purdue professor of chemistry David H. Thompson, has developed a family of compounds that could benefit people affected by Niemann-Pick Type C disease. The genetic disease leads to a dangerous accumulation of cholesterol in the brain, liver and spleen. Nancy L. Hathaway is the vice president and regulatory adviser.

“Our solutions promote the natural elimination of aberrantly stored cholesterol from the body,” Thompson said. “Studies have shown the extension of lifespan by as much as 40 percent and the restoration of normal metabolic activity in patient-derived Niemann-Pick Type C cells by rebalancing cholesterol levels.”


Startups receive boost from Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund

January 19 2016

INDIANAPOLIS and WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Four more Purdue-affiliated startups each received $20,000 in the latest round of “Black Award” funding from the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund, bringing the total number of Black Award funding recipients to 31.

Including this round of awards, $620,000 has now been committed to supporting startups through the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund, Black Awards.

“Because there are so many outstanding startups coming out of Purdue or affiliated with the university, the selection process is always very difficult,” said John Hanak, director of venture capital and funding resources for the Purdue Foundry. “These companies, like our past recipients, have high market potential, strong leadership and operational viability, which are all criteria for receiving the funds.”


Purdue FoundryX initiative launches beta site for online community

January 14 2016

WEST LAFAYEYETTE, IND – FoundryX, a Purdue Foundry initiative that invites active industry leaders to connect with Purdue startups and patented innovations, recently launched an open beta of its online community.

The FoundryX Forum online community will provide a platform to foster relationships between any Purdue faculty, staff, student or alumni and industry experts who are interested in creating startups based on Purdue innovations.

“The online community incorporated into FoundryX will allow anybody in the community, anywhere, to ask questions and receive quick and effective feedback from experts in a particular field,” said Mike Asem, director of collaborative relationships at Purdue Foundry. “Members will be able to connect with others regardless of geographical location and build relationships which we hope will lead to more Purdue related startups and companies, getting Purdue innovations to the marketplace.”


Purdue-based agriculture software startup receives $225,000 grant from NSF

January 11 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A startup that licenses Purdue University-developed software that could help grape growers and winemakers optimize quality and yields in their vineyards has received a federal grant.

VinSense LLC has received a one-year, highly competitive STTR Phase I grant worth $224,949 from the National Science Foundation. CEO Larry Ebert said the grant will fund expansion of the company’s technology and commercialization efforts.

“The VinSense system comprises two complementary software components. The first set provides information about available moisture in vineyard soil by collecting ultrahigh-resolution information,” he said. “The second assembles the information collected to create visual analytic tools, user-friendly enough for time-strapped growers to use in the field.”


Purdue startup commercializing assistive wheelchair technology receives $200,000 from NSF

December 15 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue startup has received federal funding to further develop an assistive wheelchair technology that allows power wheelchair users an efficient and easy-to-use method to more easily position and remove an iPad and other mobile devices.

Prehensile Technologies has received a STTR Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation worth just over $200,000. The company was co-founded by Brad Duerstock, Purdue University associate professor in the College of Engineering, and Li Hwa Chong, CPA, Purdue alumnus and chief financial officer.

Prehensile Technologies is commercializing RoboDesk, a motorized wheelchair tray that utilizes an arm to deploy or retract a mobile electronic device such as a tablet, without hindering the wheelchair’s normal seat functions.

Duerstock said the NSF grant will allow the company to complete an extensive market analysis.


Not-for-profit startup aims to evaluate Purdue drug compounds before clinical trials

December 16 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Entrepreneurs have launched a nonprofit startup that will option Purdue University-discovered drug compounds and could shepherd them through proof-of-principle clinical trials.

Timothy L. Ratliff, co-founder of Boilermaker Health Innovations, said researchers at Purdue receive money to discover compounds that could address a variety of health conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes and more.

“Once a compound is discovered, there are different steps to evaluate its efficacy, to examine how it is distributed through the body and to determine its toxicity,” said Ratliff, the Distinguished Professor of Comparative Pathobiology in Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Robert Wallace Miller Director of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. “Researchers cannot receive funding from external agencies to do that, however. Many compounds never reach the public because of this lack of funding.”


Communication tech to assist children affected by autism wins Schurz Innovation Challenge at Purdue

December 11 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - HEARD, or Handheld Educational Augmentative RFID Device, was named the top team and won $5,000 on Thursday (Dec. 10) at the sixth Schurz Innovation Challenge at Purdue.

The HEARD team is made up of James Gerber and Aakash Gupta, students in Purdue University’s College of Engineering. The team created a highly portable and easily customizable augmentative communication device for individuals affected by autism.

“Children affected by autism are having issues when it comes to communication, and current products aren’t satisfying those needs. We want to provide an effective method of communication, to give children independence compared to other products on the market,” said Gupta. “We would like to iterate what we have, to create a beta prototype before we can user test it and determine its commercial viability.”

Placing second and receiving $3,500 was A.C.C.E.S.S., which developed an online educational coding environment to help newcomers and early programmers write and test their code.


Purdue $2 million fund created to launch plant sciences startups

December 10 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University College of Agriculture and Purdue Research Foundation officials announced Thursday (Dec. 10) a $2 million fund to help launch startups based on Purdue plant sciences innovations focused on advancing crop traits and generating higher yields.

The plant sciences innovation fund, supported through the Purdue Moves initiative, is called the “Ag-celerator.” The fund is designed to provide critical startup support for Purdue innovators who wish to commercialize patented intellectual property or Purdue “know-how” technologies in plant sciences, including areas of research in crop optimization, hybrid and seed development, and precision agriculture. The fund is a joint project of the Purdue College of Agriculture, the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and the Purdue Foundry, a startup hub in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

“Purdue’s commercialization of innovations in plant-based agriculture is imperative to sustainably feed the projected 9 billion people on our planet by 2050,” said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture. “The Ag-celerator fund will be a driving force to provide faculty, staff and student innovators with the resources they need to move their innovations to the farm and to the broader public, making technology available to address our food security challenge.”


Nominations now accepted for 2016 Purdue Entrepreneurship Academy

December 09 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - High school educators, administrators and community leaders in Indiana can nominate current high school sophomores and juniors through Feb. 26 to attend a weeklong entrepreneurship event jointly offered by Purdue Extension and Purdue Foundry.

Nomination forms for the 10th annual Purdue Entrepreneurship Academy can be downloaded by contacting Ryan Wynkoop, special projects coordinator for Indiana 4-H Youth Development, There is no fee to nominate a student, nor is there a limit to the number of students who can be nominated from a school. Questions about nominations can be addressed to Wynkoop or Juliana Casavan, entrepreneurial programs manager at Purdue Foundry,

The nationally recognized summer academy will be June 19-24 at Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus. Students will compete in teams for the opportunity to win up to $1,000 in college tuition vouchers to attend Purdue.


Startup licenses Purdue syringe design that could improve administration of concentrated dosages of insulin

November 30 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., and INDIANAPOLIS - The founder of a medical device startup based on a Purdue University innovation says his company could help people in the advanced stages of diabetes, which affects more than 9 percent of the population in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kyle Hultgren, founder of Imagine Medical Device Inc., said diabetic patients who use more than 200 units of insulin each day often require concentrated dosages. He said patients who need such dosages face several challenges.

“Traditional syringes are not specifically designed to safely accommodate the dosing and administration of this drug. No syringe accurately shows the dose that has been drawn in, which requires users to compute the size of a dose in their head,” he said. “Also, early complications of advanced diabetes can include blurry vision or vision loss and losing sensation in the fingers. These complications make it difficult for patients to use small insulin syringes that are currently available.”



General Interest