NIH awards $1 million grant to life sciences firm in Purdue Research Park

October 1, 2014  


bioVidria Inc. is developing chromatography columns to study protein-based drugs. Columns are as small as the width of a human hair, and the red lines highlight a small region to show opalescence, which is a measure of quality. The National Institutes of Health awarded bioVidria Inc. a $1 million STTR Phase II grant to further develop the technology. (bioVidria Inc. image)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $1 million grant to a Purdue-based life sciences company whose nanotechnology could strengthen the biopharmaceutical industry's research and development efforts.

The NIH STTR Phase II grant will be used by bioVidria Inc. to further develop a chromatography column technology that helps identify impurities in protein-based drugs. These drugs most commonly are used to help patients with cancer or autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes and lupus. The company is based on research conducted by Mary J. Wirth, the W. Brooks Fortune Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University.

"Traditional chromatography columns are made by packing microscopic particles into the columns. What differentiates the bioVidria technology is that our particles are submicroscopic, and our columns are as small as the width of a human hair," she said. "This difference allows us to use nanotechnology to better analyze the proteins, which means the level of detail is improved over conventional methods."

Wirth said the NIH grant will advance development of bioVidria's chromatography columns, with the goal of introducing them to the market.

"We are grateful to the National Institutes of Health for its support of our commercialization efforts. The NIH has long been a strong supporter of American businesses for technologies that hold vast potential to benefit human health worldwide," she said. "Purdue Research Foundation was helpful in preparing the NIH grant application through advice on patenting and in the networking opportunities, both of which are critical to the success of a startup company. We also are grateful to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation for marketing research that was pivotal in our design of the commercial product. Pete Kissinger, who is the principal investigator of the Purdue collaboration with bioVidria, has been a valuable mentor for translating university inventions to industrial practice."

bioVidria became a tenant of the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette in 2014.

About bioVidria Inc.

bioVidria Inc. is focused on new materials for protein analysis to advance pharmaceuticals, proteomics and agriculture. The core technology of the company is colloidal silica with specialized coatings to direct each application. Corey M. Smith is the company's CEO.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park is the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The Purdue Research Park manages the Purdue Technology Centers in four sites in Indiana: West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany. The more than 260 companies located in the parks employ about 4,500 people who earn an average annual wage of $63,000. The park is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at 

Contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342,

Source: Mary Wirth,

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