Purdue-related startup develops miniature device for biomedical analysis

September 29, 2015  

Ouyang Purspec

Xiao Wang, a doctoral graduate student, from left, and Zheng Ouyang, professor of biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and chemistry at Purdue University, examine the electronics for a prototype miniature mass spectrometer developed by Ouyang. Ouyang has licensed intellectual property from the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to found the startup PURSPEC Technologies to develop and market the device. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., and BEIJING - The founder of an analytical device startup based on Purdue University innovations says his company could improve point-of-care therapy diagnosis and compliance by reducing the time it takes to analyze samples by mass spectrometry.

Zheng Ouyang, president and founder of PURSPEC Technologies Inc., said the company is developing miniature mass spectrometers, which identify the type and amount of chemicals present in blood and urine samples, to speed up the analysis time.

"Traditional mass spectrometry analysis requires sending samples to a centralized location to conduct the analysis. This process can take weeks," said Ouyang, who also is a professor in Purdue's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Chemistry. "PURSPEC is trying to make a device that can be used by physicians, pharmacists and possibly the general public to do the process in minutes."

Ouyang said the device could have an impact on developing personalized medicine plans for prescription drugs.

"Using a miniature mass spectrometer could provide a very easy way to adjust the dosage of prescription pharmaceuticals. Currently a physician writes a prescription for a standard dosage, which may not be effective for the patient," he said. "With a miniature mass spectrometry system, a doctor can prescribe a drug, and then the patient can take a test dosage at the pharmacy. Within half an hour, the pharmacist can measure the concentration of the drug in the patient's blood and adjust the dosage to more appropriate levels. And if the dosage is appropriate, it could impact a patient's compliance."

Ouyang and R. Graham Cooks, the Henry B. Hass Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry in Purdue's Department of Chemistry, have developed several technologies to create miniature mass spectrometers. The technologies have been licensed to PURSPEC Technologies through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. More than 20 startups based on Purdue intellectual property were launched in the 2015 fiscal year. A video about PURSPEC Technologies is available at http://youtu.be/wmLSkqmpZUg.

Ouyang said PURPSEC Technologies will establish two locations: one in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the other in Beijing.

"As our device is developed in West Lafayette, it will be manufactured at PURSPEC China and sent to PURSPEC U.S.," he said. "We have created this business model because there are other potential markets in China, including food safety and quality control. Also, we have developed a strong relationship with Tsinghua University in Beijing, which will help us identify financial resources and develop the prototype for all applications."

The research to develop PURSPEC Technologies' miniature mass spectrometer received funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Walter H. Coulter Foundation Early Career Translational Research Award, Trask Innovation Fund and AMIPurdue. 

For information on other Purdue intellectual property ready for licensing and commercialization, visit http://www.otc-prf.org. For more information about available leadership positions, investing in a Purdue startup or licensing a Purdue innovation, visit http://www.purduefoundry.com.

About PURSPEC Technologies Inc.

PURSPEC Technologies aims to provide simple solutions for complex sample testings based on a miniature mass spectrometry (MiniMS) system.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology-transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office 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 foundry@prf.org.

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org

Sources: Zheng Ouyang, 765-505-6464, innovation@purspec.co

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