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Purdue faculty expertise gets a Purdue Research Park biotech company on firm footing

Akina Lab worker

A Purdue Research Park biotechnology company boosts sales revenue for one of their divisions by almost 80-percent as a result of guidance they received through the Purdue Technical Assistance Program (TAP).

Since 1986, TAP has connected companies with Purdue University faculty who can provide expertise in the areas of information technology, manufacturing, materials, product design, productivity, quality assurance, technology innovation, and more.

“We were surprised that we were eligible to receive faculty assistance even though we were not an emerging company, and we decided to apply for it in 2014,” said John Garner, general manager of PolySciTech®, which is a division of Akina, Inc.  Akina is a biotechnology company that was founded in 2001 to make controlled release formulations based on biodegradable PLGA polymers for long-term drug delivery. “We worked with TAP to help identify new areas of marketing and sales strategies, and the faculty team they selected for us really helped better position our product within the marketplace.”

An analysis of the PolySciTech® division by that team of Purdue faculty and graduate students resulted in an adjustment of the division’s pricing strategy for its biodegradable polymers. “Purdue helped us get a better feel for our real costs of production of our products so we could more accurately define our prices to ensure profitability,” Garner said. “Doing this was critical because although our sales were steadily increasing, we needed to boost volume/profit to where it could be sufficiently self-sustaining.”

In addition, Garner said the team advised for the expansion of the division’s contract analysis offerings, which they viewed to be an underutilized service. As a result of Purdue guidance, Akina’s sales from its PolySciTech® division rose 78% in 2014, and another 35% so far this year, according to Garner.

PolySciTech® worked with the following Purdue team of faculty and students:

  • Charlene Sullivan, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, Associate Professor of Management, Purdue Krannert School of Management
  • David McKinnis, Ph.D., Director, Purdue Technical Assistance Program (TAP)
  • Rich Meyer, Manager of Faculty and Innovation Services, TAP
  • Dave Snow, Center Director, Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP, a division of TAP)
  • Jim Handy, Senior Account Manager, MEP
  • Dietra Rosenkoetter, Senior Account Manager, MEP
  • Krannert School of Management graduate students Debdeep Roy, Sutapa Paul, and Shikhar Agarwal

About Akina

Akina, Inc., is a West Lafayette, Ind-based biotechnology company founded by Purdue Professor Kinam Park that offers research products used primarily in the fields of controlled medicinal-delivery systems and biomedical device applications. The ability to control the duration of delivery is critical in tailor-making formulations for specific drugs. Akina’s biodegradable PLGA polymers work well for medical applications as they degrade into non-toxic components that the human body can metabolize. The company’s PolySciTech® division sells more than 360 specialty polymers and other research products worldwide.

About the Purdue Technical Assistance Program

The Purdue Technical Assistance Program (TAP) provides high-value solutions that help Indiana businesses maximize their success by increasing profits, reducing costs, and implementing growth and innovation engineering systems. TAP serves more than 500 companies annually by implementing continuous improvement principles in the areas of productivity, growth and technology. TAP’s work has left an economic impact footprint on Indiana in excess of $1 billion since 2005.

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