Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

Purdue national life sciences biz plan competition creates discovery with delivery opportunities

November 19, 2009

Massachusetts medical-therapy company takes top prize at $100,000 Purdue life sciences competition.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Massachusetts medical-therapy company won the sixth Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition, a $100,000 event that highlights promising entrepreneurship efforts in the life sciences arena.

Novophage Therapeutics captured the $30,000 top prize during Tuesday’s (Nov. 10) event at the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. The company is developing a disruptive biological therapy designed to increase the effectiveness of antibiotic treatments, slow the onset of antibiotic resistance and prevent harmful biofilms.

The Cambridge-based firm — led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctoral students Tanguy Chau, Timothy Lu and Michael Koeris — also won $5,000 in services from law firm Baker & Daniels and $5,000 in business services from accounting firm Ernst and Young.

Runner-up was Nano-Rad LLC, a West Lafayette company developing technology for delivering low-dose rate radiation precisely at tumor margins immediately following their surgical removal. Nano-Rad received $20,000, plus $6,000 in legal and business services.

As the top Indiana team, Nano-Rad also won $10,000 from BioCrossroads, which helps lead development of the state’s life-sciences industry. Richard Mussmann is Nano-Rad’s president and chief executive officer.

“This year’s competition featured 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. “But only one could win, and Novophage Therapeutics stood out among the field for its innovative process, solid presentation and its plan for bringing it to the marketplace.”

Glytrix Inc., based in Lafayette, won the $10,000 third prize, plus $4,000 in legal and business services. The Indiana company is looking to advance therapeutics to reduce skin scarring following surgical procedures.

The $5,000 fourth prize went to Bioregeneration, a West Lafayette company focused on developing and manufacturing a process for regeneration of orthopedic interfaces between soft connective tissue and bone.

The remaining four finalists in the competition each received $2,500. They are:

  • Bombyx Technologies, an Ithaca, N.Y.-based company developing a low-cost corneal repair device that would work like a contact lens as an alternative to transplant surgery. * Cascade Metrix Inc., an Indianapolis-based medical technology firm focused on rapid commercialization of a blood-glucose monitoring system in critical-care settings.
  • GlucaGo LLC, a Lafayette-based company developing medical rescue devices for administering solid-phase medical substances through solution-phase injection.
  • Indiana Nanotech LLC, an Indianapolis firm developing tailored calcium phosphate materials for dental and medical applications.

 In winning the annual competition, Novophage Therapeutics also is eligible to 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 East Coast company access to conference rooms, use of shared business equipment, business coaching and other support services.

West Lafayette-based Seyet LLC also is awarding in-kind 3-D computer graphics visualization services to Novophage Therapeutics, Nano-Rad and Glytrix.

As the top finisher involved in small-molecule drug discovery, Glytrix will receive in-kind preclinical contract testing services from event sponsor Watertown, Mass.-based Apredica.

The event drew 27 entrants. Judges advanced 13 to the business-plan phase, in which firms provided detailed roadmaps for moving from concept and prototype stage to commercialization. The eight finalists were invited to make 45-minute presentations to a panel of 11 judges.

The competition targets U.S.-based startup businesses in the life-sciences arena. Companies must be three years old or younger with the equivalent of 10 or fewer full-time employees. Entrants also cannot have third-party intellectual property agreements. It is sponsored by Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Alfred Mann Institute for Biomedical Development at Purdue.

FAST Diagnostics, an Indianapolis-based company commercializing a kidney diagnostic test, took top honors and $50,000 in cash and services in the 2008 competition.

Photo links:

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu
Sources: Richard Cosier, 765-494-4366, rcosier@purdue.edu
Tanguy Chau, 617-253-6591, tanguy@mit.edu
Richard Mussmann, president, Nano-Rad, 812-209-9992, rich.mussmann@nano-rad.com
Candiss Vibbert, 765-494-9404, vibbert@purdue.edu
Jackie Lanter, Burton D. Morgan Center, 765-494-1335, BDMCenter@purdue.edu

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