8 Finalists Selected for $100,000 Purdue Life Sciences Competition

By: Contributor Last Updated: October 21, 2009

Eight finalists have been selected to compete for $100,000 on Nov. 10 at the sixth Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition, which highlights promising entrepreneurship efforts in the life sciences arena.

The companies chosen to make formal business-plan presentations to the competition's 12 judges are Indiana Nanotech LLC, Cascade Metrix Inc., GlucaGo LLC, Nano-Rad LLC, Bombyx Technologies, Nanophage Therapeutics, Glytrix Inc., and Bioregeneration.

"This year's Purdue Life Sciences Business Plan Competition will feature a lineup of eight strong finalists, including several Indiana startups that are helping as the state advances its already strong presence in the life-sciences arena," said Richard Cosier, dean and Leeds Professor at the Krannert School of Management and co-director of Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "We're excited about the potential of these companies and their abilities to improve the quality of life for people with healthcare needs."

Competition organizers are Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and the Alfred Mann Institute for Biomedical Development at Purdue. A look at the eight companies and the focus of their market and business plans:

  • Indiana Nanotech, based in Indianapolis, is developing tailored calcium phosphate materials for dental and medical applications.
  • Cascade Metrix, an Indianapolis-based medical technology firm, is focused on rapid commercialization of a blood-glucose monitoring system in critical-care settings.
  • GlucaGo, based in Lafayette, is developing medical rescue devices for administering solid-phase medical substances through solution-phase injection.
  • Nano-Rad, based in West Lafayette, is developing technology to deliver low-dose rate radiation precisely at tumor margins immediately following their surgical removal.
  • Bombyx Technologies, based in Ithaca, N.Y., is developing a low-cost corneal repair device that would work like a contact lens as an alternative to transplant surgery.
  • Nanophage Therapeutics, of Cambridge, Mass., is developing a disruptive biological therapy designed to increase the effectiveness of antibiotic treatments, slow the onset of antibiotic resistance and prevent harmful biofilms.
  • Glytrix Inc., based in Lafayette, is looking to advance therapeutics to reduce skin scarring following surgical procedures.
  • Bioregeneration, based in West Lafayette, is focused on developing and manufacturing a process for regeneration of orthopedic interfaces between soft connective tissue and bone.

First prize is $30,000, plus $5,000 in services from law firm Baker & Daniels and $5,000 in business services from accounting firm Ernst and Young. The top Indiana team also receives $10,000 from BioCrossroads, which helps lead development of the state's life-sciences industry.

Second prize is $20,000, plus $6,000 in legal and business services. Third prize is $10,000, plus $4,000 in legal and business services. Fourth prize is $5,000, and the remaining four finalists each receive $2,500.

The top finisher will receive free business incubator space in one of Purdue Research Park's technology centers in the state for up to one year. That would give the company access to conference rooms, use of shared business equipment, business coaching and other support services.

West Lafayette-based Seyet LLC will award in-kind 3-D computer graphics visualization services to the top three finishers. Watertown, Mass.-based Apredica also will provide in-kind preclinical contract testing services to the top finisher involved in small-molecule drug discovery.

This year's competition drew 27 initial entrants, said Candiss Vibbert, associate director of engagement for Discovery Park. Judges advanced 13 of those to the business-plan phase, in which firms provided detailed roadmaps for moving from concept and prototype stage to commercialization. The eight finalists were notified this week.

The competition targets U.S.-based startup businesses in the life sciences arena. Vibbert said the company must be no more than three years old with the equivalent of 10 or fewer full-time employees. Entrants also cannot have third-party intellectual property agreements.

FAST Diagnostics, an Indianapolis-based company commercializing a kidney diagnostic test, took top honors and $50,000 in cash and services in last year's Purdue life sciences competition.

In addition to leading the university's large-scale interdisciplinary entrepreneurship programs, the Burton D. Morgan Center manages Purdue's Kauffman Campuses Initiative, which is focused on making entrepreneurship education available across the university's main and regional campuses, enabling any student, regardless of field of study, access to entrepreneurial training.

Leading the entrepreneurship center are Cosier and Alan Rebar, executive director of Discovery Park and senior associate director of research at Purdue.