Non-invasive diabetic testing device, personalized cancer-care technique claim top prizes at $100,000 Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition

February 20, 2013  

Ran An BDM business plan

Physics doctoral student Ran An answers question from judges during his Gold Division presentation in winning the $30,000 top prize at the 26th annual Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition. His company concept, Animated Dynamics, is developing technology designed to offer a new laboratory approach for selecting the best anticancer drugs for patients. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A device for non-invasive diabetic testing and a biological imaging technique for personalized cancer care won top prizes Tuesday (Feb. 19) at the $100,000 Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition in Purdue University's Discovery Park.

In the Gold Division, Animated Dynamics won $30,000 for its efforts to commercialize a new laboratory approach for helping select the best anticancer drugs for patients. Using tissue dynamics spectroscopy (TDS), physics doctoral student Ran An and Purdue physics professors David Nolte and John Turek are developing the technique that captures dynamic cellular motions deep inside living tissue.

NanoBio Interface Systems, a nanotechnology-based in vitro diagnostics company advancing a novel technique for testing blood sugar levels, claimed the $20,000 first prize in the Black Division for undergraduate students. The company, known as NBI, is led by Purdue communications and philosophy major Aaron Trembath.

"This is an incredible accomplishment for all 10 student-led presentations just to make the finals, with nearly 100 proposals submitted when this process started months ago," said Richard Cosier, the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and Purdue's Leeds Professor of Management.

"Every student leaves this competition a winner, but Animated Dynamics and NanoBio rose above the rest in their presentations and how close they are to becoming real companies contributing to our economy and helping society."

Each team had 20 minutes to present their plans and 10 minutes for questions from the panel of 10 judges during the event at the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. Sponsors for the event, marking its 26th year, are the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Ice Miller LLC, Purdue's Krannert School of Management and the Purdue Research Park.

In the Gold Division for graduate students, Team VACCINE claimed the $15,000 second prize for its advanced law enforcement toolkit software. Team VACCINE members Abish Malik, Silvia Oliveros, Satish Kunchakuri and Nimish Dharawat are developing software for equipping law enforcement agencies and citizens with situational awareness and risk assessment tools for analyzing criminal, traffic and civil incident patterns in their neighborhoods.

Telos Discovery Systems, which is advancing a drug-discovery product that eliminates the need for researcher-mouse interaction, received the $7,500 third-place prize. Led by Ted Daniels, Telos is advancing a technology that could yield more accurate behavioral data and a tenfold increase in experimental throughput.

Finalists receiving $3,750 each in the Gold Division were Skyepack and Applied Battery Technology.

Led by Nick McCollum, Skyepack is a content-focused educational software environment designed to facilitate the delivery of learn-anywhere mobile content as an alternative to texts, course packs and class handouts. Applied Battery Technology, led by Mark Suchomel and Subhash Ghosh, is developing a novel battery-sensing technology in development to increase rechargeable battery reliability and safety and reduce application costs for equal end-user performance across all sectors.

Aaron Trembath BDM business plan

Purdue communications and philosophy major Aaron Trembath delivers his winning business plan competition in the Black Division for his company concept, NanoBio Interface Systems. Trembath claimed the $20,000 first prize for this non-invasive diagnostic tool to test for diabetes. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)
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In the Black Division, Cornucopia Farm, an agritourism operation in Scottsburg, Ind., finished second and received $10,000. Presenter Michael Baird, who is studying horticultural production and marketing and agricultural management, has a new business plan to expand seasonal education and entertainment operations at his family-owned business.

E3 Labs, a nonprofit organization developing products and services that address basic needs, quality of life and scarcity issues for developing countries, was third, receiving $5,000. Nicolas Guerra-Mondragon and Fernando Segovia are the lead team members for E3.

The other two finalists were TappedIn and Super Resolution, each receiving $2,500 for their presentations.

TappedIn, led by liberal arts major Kevin Lee, is a planned mobile application for iPhones and iPads that allows bars and restaurants to highlight what beers are currently on tap. Super Resolution team members Yuxing Zhang, Colin Sandbach and Jian-Wei Khor are working on an optic technique and device to improve the resolution of imaging systems for research microscopes and telescopes.

In addition to the cash prizes, Ice Miller will provide free legal and consulting services to the top three Gold Division finishers, valued at $5,000 for Animated Dynamics, $3,000 for Team VACCINE and $2,000 for Telos. The Purdue Research Park also will provide incubator space for those three companies.

Krannert will provide one free registration in its 2013 Applied Management Principles (AMP) condensed management certificate program to Animated Dynamics. With a value of $4,995, AMP is offered by Krannert's Executive Education Programs.

In the Black Division, Nano Bio, Cornucopia Farm and E3 Labs receive free affiliate status from the Purdue Research Park, giving them access to consulting, coaching and other park resources. Nano Bio also wins a free registration in Krannert's AMP certificate program.

The entrepreneurship competition started in 1987 with an endowment gift to Purdue from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation. The Morgan Foundation also funded the $7 million, 31,000-square-foot 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.

The late Burton D. Morgan was a Purdue alumnus who started 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.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources:  Richard Cosier, 765-494-4366,

Ran An, 765-430-3629,

Aaron Trembath, 765-337-3570,

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