Purdue-IU led team wins global entrepreneurship competition

November 5, 2009 Phillip Fiorini

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - GlucaGo LLC, a life sciences company led by a trio from Purdue and Indiana universities, captured the 2009 Global Idea to Product Competition and claimed the $10,000 top prize, beating 14 other teams that qualified by winning local competitions.

The Global I2P entrepreneurship event, held Oct. 30 and 31 in Austin, Texas, featured teams from 19 universities and eight countries - Great Britain, Portugal, Japan, Sweden, Germany, Ireland and Brazil, and U.S. competitors from Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado and New Hampshire.

In addition to winning the McCombs School of Business Global Championship category, GlucaGo received the Best Showcase overall award for developing an emergency kit that automatically mixes and injects medication for diabetics. Leading the GlucaGo team are Rush Bartlett, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering at Purdue who also is completing an MBA at IU; Arthur Chlebowski, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering at Purdue; and Peter Greco, who is pursuing an MBA from Purdue.

"As graduate students with limited financial resources, it's difficult to get the money to start a business," Bartlett said. "Because of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a hands-on education we decided to take a gamble and take out student loans to pay for the prototype. This win means we can continue pursuing the dream to be entrepreneurs."

The annual competition challenges students to create a product concept using innovative technology with a marketing plan that outlines a roadmap for commercialization. For the first time, this year's event was divided into three categories with separate themes: sustainability and clean energy, biomedical technology, and information technology/wireless.

COTEC Portugal finished second behind the Purdue-IU team in the McCombs School of Business Global Championship category, while Texas A&M was third.

"The medical delivery device, with an initial market aimed at Type I diabetics, faced stiff international and national competition from COTEC Portugal, RWTH Aachen University in Germany, Georgia Institute of Technology and Texas A&M in its category," said Nancy Clement, interim director of Purdue's Social Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "In addition to winning the $10,000 cash prize, the Purdue-IU team won the best overall technology showcase, which consisted of a trade show booth competition."

The Purdue-IU team created the technology as part of Purdue's Biomedship entrepreneurship program, established a limited liability company and has licensed the technology from Purdue's Office of Technology Commercialization. In addition to working with the Purdue's biomedical engineering program, Krannert School of Management and the Biomedship program, they collaborated with a diabetes specialist at IU's School of Medicine, Clement said. The Rose-Hulman Ventures Lab in Terre Haute, Ind., created the prototype to the student's specifications.

Clement, who served as the competition adviser for the GlucaGo team, believes the company's delivery system has a reach far beyond the diabetic market.

"The convenient, sterile and safe mixing method could prove very useful in getting life-saving drugs to areas of the developing world where transportation, refrigeration and electricity are nonexistent," she said. "This product could revolutionize accessibility to medications for people suffering and dying in remote regions of the world."
Bartlett earned his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Chlebowski received his bachelor's and master's degrees in biomedical engineering from Purdue, and Greco received his bachelor's degree in management from Purdue.

Clement represents the Purdue Social Entrepreneurship Initiative at Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides a pathway for commercialization of products created by students for non-profit organizations addressing social needs.

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

Sources: Rush Bartlett, 918-688-4303, rbartlet@purdue.edu, rush256@gmail.com

                 Nancy Clement 765-494-9884, nic@purdue.edu