Finalists selected for Purdue's $100,000 life-sciences competition

November 4, 2011

Richard Cosier

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Eight life-sciences startup companies from California to Missouri and Indiana have been selected as finalists for the $100,000 Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition next week.

The field, which initially included 31 companies, was narrowed to the eight finalists that will present their business plans from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 10) in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121. Five of the finalists are from Indiana. The public is invited to watch the presentations.

"We had an extremely impressive lineup of submissions for this event," said Richard Cosier, the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "From the West and East coasts and into Canada, along with a strong Indiana and Midwest representation, this event offers the combined depth and quality of national and local competitions. The hardest part was to narrow the field to the final eight that will present at Purdue before our panel of judges."

The finalists competing in the seventh Purdue Life Sciences Business Plan Competition and their team leaders are:

* BioRegeneration Technologies of West Lafayette, Ind., led by Darryl Dickerson and Eric Nauman. The company is developing biomaterial therapies designed to catalyze healing, restore function and regenerate damaged tissues.

* Cadence Biomedical of Seattle, Wash., led by Brian Glaister, Alex Pacanowsky, Jason Schoen and Chie Kawahara. The company is developing a technology designed to enable those with severe disabilities and confined to a wheelchair to walk independently.

* Confluence Pharmaceuticals LLC of Indianapolis, led by Steve Johns, Boyd Sturdevant Jr. and Dr. Craig Erickson. The company is the exclusive licensee of a clinically discovered therapeutic treatment for core social and communication impairments faced by those suffering from autism, spectrum disorders and Fragile X Syndrome.

* InChromatics LLC of Carmel, Ind., led by Mark Barbato, David Nurok and Jim Koers. The company is focused on developing pressured planar electrochromatography into a commercially viable analytic technique.

* Medtric Biotech LLC of West Lafayette, Ind., led by Sean Connell, Jianming Li and Robert Einterz. The company is developing wound care treatment, specifically a technology for destroying bacteria for the prevention and treatment of infected wounds.

* NanoMed LLC of St. Louis, Mo., led by Matthew MacEwan. The company is developing a technological platform for fabricating advanced biomaterials and synthetic surgical meshes for repairing the protective membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord during surgery.

* OneBreath of Palo Alto, Calif., led Matthew Callaghan, Bryan Loomas and Frederick Winston. The company is focused on developing a fundamentally simpler platform to provide mechanical ventilation for those with respiratory problems from flu or other trauma.

* QuantIon Technologies Inc. of West Lafayette, Ind., led by Rizaldi Sistiabudi and Nick Manicke. The company is developing an ambient ionization technique that enables direct analysis of complex samples using mass spectrometry.

The winner receives $50,000, second place receives $25,000, $12,500 goes to the third-place finisher and $5,000 is given for the fourth spot. Other finalists will receive $2,500 each.

The top Indiana-based company also will receive a $10,000 additional prize from BioCrossroads, a lead sponsor for the Purdue competition and Indiana's initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life sciences. Other event sponsors are the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Alfred Mann Institute, Baker & Daniels LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, CHV Capital, Purdue Research Foundation, and The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The judges for this year's competition hail from California and Illinois to Georgia, Ohio and Indiana.

Indiana's life-sciences sector has received national recognition as a national leader. In June 2009, The Economist reported, "Though every state wants to be a hub in the life sciences, Indiana actually is one ..." More recently, The Wall Street Journal in August called the Indianapolis area a hotbed of activity for the life-sciences industry. The report cited the state's 825 life-sciences companies and 8,800 new jobs.

For more information about the competition, contact Cindy Ream of Discovery Park at 765-494-0015, cream@purdue.edu, or go online to http://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/entrepreneurship/programs/lifesciences/.

At the sixth Purdue Life Sciences Business Plan Competition in November 2009, Massachusetts medical-therapy company Novophage Therapeutics captured the $30,000 top prize. FAST Diagnostics, an Indianapolis-based company commercializing a kidney diagnostic test, took top honors and $50,000 in cash and services in 2008.

The late Burton D. Morgan was a Purdue alumnus who started more than 50 companies, six of which have become major corporations, including Morgan Adhesives, one of the world's largest makers of pressure-sensitive adhesives. He also was president of Basic Search Co., an idea-development firm, and wrote several books on entrepreneurism.

The Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition, Purdue's other premier business plan competition, started in 1987 with an endowment gift from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation to Purdue. The Burton D. Morgan Foundation also funded the $7 million, 31,000-square-foot Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

The center leads 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.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Source: Richard Cosier, 765-494-4366, rcosier@purdue.edu

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