April 1, 2022

Purdue entrepreneurship fellows assist health care technology acceleration

Two newly named entrepreneurship fellows are helping Purdue researchers share their emerging technologies in health care, biomedicine and the life sciences with investors eager to participate in health care problem-solving.

Milad Alucozai and Oscar Moralez, who both have strong leadership roles in private venture capital firms, were recently selected as the first two entrepreneurship fellows in a collaborative fellowship program formed by Purdue’s Bindley Bioscience Center and the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering (RCHE).

“We are very enthusiastic about the possibilities that these fellowships enable,” says Ramaswamy Subramanian, Bindley director and professor of biological sciences and biomedical engineering. “The involvement of these two venture capitalists on campus shows promise for a win-win arrangement where health care solutions find their way to market effectively, and these two investors get opportunities to invest in technologies that could one day be highly lucrative.”

The two centers support studies on health care and bioscience that are redefining how research gets done. They are expanding what research can make possible by inventing and developing new research tools and techniques.

RCHE recently announced its initiative to significantly grow its capacity to create, verify and deliver innovative solutions in health care with a four-pronged approach addressing health systems, population health and health equity, health data science, and health education and communication. At the same time, at Bindley, which is a hub for interdisciplinary life sciences research, scientists are working with engineers to establish deep expertise and create new research paradigms. Bindley fosters large-scale, multi-investigator research, providing tools that enable innovation. In these efforts, Bindley partners with Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Center for Cancer Research as well as the Purdue Center for Drug Discovery.

Milad Alucozai

Milad Alucozai Milad Alucozai

Alucozai, a Purdue Honors alumnus (BS, neuroscience) and former Purdue visiting scholar, is head of Bio and Deep Tech at BoxOne Ventures. BoxOne is a privately held investment firm that focuses on early stage companies.

“After successfully translating many different technologies into products, I’m a strong believer that universities are some of the best hubs to find expertise, human capital, and knowledge,” said Alucozai, who is also a venture partner at Entrepreneur First, a global fund with a portfolio value of over $5 billion. In 2020, he was appointed as an external advisor to AstraZeneca.  

Alucozai began his career working as a scientist in translational neuroscience before he transitioned to founding roles at multiple health care and bio startups. He is part of the founding team at Mekonos, which is building cell therapies on a chip, and Corstem (acquired by Circle Cardiovascular), which specializes in machine learning and artificial intelligence software being used in over 1,000 hospitals and in more than 40 countries. He also has been a mentor and investor in startups through Y Combinator, Entrepreneur First, Creative Destruction Labs, Harvard iLabs, and more.

Alucozai says he is committed to projects that show promise to improve the world: “As a Purdue alum and a product of its culture, I’ve entered a phase of my life where I seek to be a force multiplier for others. I strive to make a positive contribution to the world by investing in purpose-driven entrepreneurs working to address real problems using breakthrough technologies.”

Oscar Moralez

Oscar Moralez Oscar Moralez

Moralez is based in Indianapolis, the location of his venture studio and fund company, Boomerang Ventures. He is a serial entrepreneur, capital investor and a Purdue lecturer in the University’s Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation program. He founded Boomerang Ventures to focus on investing in health care innovations.

"Entrepreneurship has been a significant part of my professional career and this role will allow me to share my experience, knowledge and success with other aspiring entrepreneurs,” Moralez says. “I want to continue to learn and expand my entrepreneurial network and Purdue is a great place to do that. I am confident that this partnership will allow Boomerang Ventures and Purdue to continue to build and strengthen the relationship that we have with Purdue. We have much to share and leverage with each other.”

Moralez also founded VisionTech Partners in 2009 to provide capital and support for early stage companies through its VisionTech Angels network, which is the largest angel-investing group in Indiana with more than 50 companies and over $23 million in invested capital. Moralez’s background also includes over 20 years of technical, operations and management experience in health care and life sciences sectors.

Pavlos Vlachos, the St. Vincent Health Professor of Healthcare Engineering and RCHE director, says the fellowship program’s potential benefits to Purdue go well beyond RCHE and Bindley.

“This is about building an ecosystem where life sciences, biomedical and health care technologies can advance towards commercialization,” Vlachos says. “This is part of an overall strategy for us to gain what it takes to bring a technology from the lab to a proof of concept, and to make it attractive for an investor who can support the necessary work for commercialization.”

Writer: Amy H. Raley, araley@purdue.edu
Sources: Ramaswamy Subramanian, subram68@purdue.edu
Pavlos Vlachos, pvlachos@purdue.edu

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