Indiana wound-care company takes top prize at Purdue's $100,000 life sciences competition

November 11, 2011

Sean Connell, left, and Jianming Li deliver their winning presentation during the $100,000 Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition on Thursday (Nov. 10) in Discovery Park. The West Lafayette, Ind.-based startup received $50,000 for winning the event and another $10,000 from BioCrossroads as the top Indiana company. (Purdue University photo/Cindy Ream)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - An Indiana startup company developing an innovative wound-care technology claimed the top prize Thursday (Nov. 10) at the $100,000 Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition.

Medtric Biotech LLC, led by Sean Connell, Jianming Li and Robert Einterz, won $50,000 for its winning presentation on its wound-care dressing that uses "nanobubbles" in its antimicrobial process for destroying bacteria to help prevent and treat infected wounds.

The company, located in West Lafayette, won the event, which awarded $112,500 in cash prizes and featured eight finalists from California and Missouri to Washington state and Indiana.

As the top Indiana company, Medtric Biotech also received $10,000 from BioCrossroads, a lead event sponsor and Indiana's initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life sciences. It also received in-kind services valued at $5,000 each from Ernst & Young LLP and Baker & Daniels LLP and incubator space for a year at one of the Purdue Research Park's statewide technology centers.

"Every year, the Purdue Life Sciences Business Plan Competition draws some of the most exciting startup companies from across the nation, and this year was no exception," said Richard Cosier, the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "All eight finalists hold promise, including several that are well-positioned for the next step with proof-of-concept and proven prototypes. But our panel of judges believed Medtric Biotech stood above the rest, and the quality of their presentation was outstanding."

OneBreath, of Palo Alto, Calif., received $25,000 for finishing second. The company, led by Matthew Callaghan, Bryan Loomas and Frederick Winston, is developing a simpler platform to provide mechanical ventilation for those with respiratory problems from flu or other trauma. It also received in-kind services valued at $3,000 each from Ernst & Young and Baker & Daniels.

BioRegeneration Technologies, a West Lafayette-based company led by Darryl Dickerson and Eric Nauman, received $12,500 for placing third. The company, located at the Purdue Research Park, is developing biomaterial therapies designed to catalyze healing, restore function and regenerate damaged tissues. It also received in-kind services valued at $2,000 each from Ernst & Young and Baker & Daniels.

Finishing fourth was QuantIon Technologies Inc., a West Lafayette company led by Rizaldi Sistiabudi and Nick Manicke. The company, which won $5,000, is developing an ambient ionization technique that enables direct analysis of complex samples using mass spectrometry.

Other finalists received $2,500 each. They are:

* 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.

* 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.

The competition, which initially included 31 startup companies from across the nation and Canada, was narrowed to the eight finalists that made formal presentations during a daylong competition in Purdue's Discovery Park.

Other sponsors are the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Alfred Mann Institute at Purdue, Baker & Daniels, Ernst & Young, CHV Capital, Purdue Research Foundation and The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Judges for this year's competition were from California and Illinois to Georgia, Ohio and Indiana.

In April, Medtric Biotech's Connell won the open division in the Purdue University Elevator Pitch Competition for a pitch about his company's product that both heals a wound and fights off infection.

At the sixth Purdue Life Sciences Business Plan Competition in 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