Purdue sets record in startup, commercialization activities for second year

July 17, 2015  

Sherry Harbin

Sherry Harbin, Purdue University associate professor of biomedical engineering, founded GeniPhys, a startup based on her research in collagen and engineering matrix technologies in 2014. (Purdue Research Foundation file photo)
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For a second consecutive year, Purdue University posted record-breaking numbers in commercialization activities for the fiscal year ending June 30 highlighted by 40 startups, of which 25 are based on Purdue-licensed intellectual property, officials announced Friday (July 17).

Increases in commercialization activities from FY14 to FY15 filed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and Purdue Foundry include:

* Global and U.S. patents issued: 156 to 178 for a 14 percent increase.

* Invention disclosures filed: 284 to 317 for a 12 percent increase.

* Licensing deals: 241 technologies licensed to 131 entities.

"It was certainly cause to celebrate last year's record in commercialization activities, but to follow such an occurrence with another record-breaking year demonstrates that there is something bigger happening at Purdue," said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. "These back-to-back increases represent a meaningful shift in the way Purdue's outstanding faculty, staff and students are managing the commercialization of their innovations."

Last year's Purdue Startup Class of 2014 brought in more than $25 million in venture funding and created 75 new positions in Indiana this year. A recent report released by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association ranked Purdue 16th in the world, up from 36th in 2012, among universities granted U.S. utility patents.

Sherry Harbin, a Purdue professor of biomedical engineering with more than 90 patents, founded GeniPhys this fiscal year.

"I've thought about commercializing my collagen technology for several years, and with all the changes that have taken place in the past three years I knew the time was right," she said. "Purdue's support system for university entrepreneurs is strong, and my technology has reached a point where it is ready to move to the public."

Mirror mirror

Purdue students Joshua Berg, John Lee, Matt Molo, Nick Molo and Timothy Vincent have developed technology that shows the date, time, weather conditions and news on a monitor that acts like a traditional mirror. The students have launched a startup called MirrorMirror to commercialize the technology. (Purdue Research Foundation file photo/Oren Darling) 
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Within weeks after founding her startup, Harbin started selling her collagen technology for use in 3-D cell culture, engineered in-vitro tissue constructs and 3-D bioprinting through her GeniPhys website.

MirrorMirror, a startup created by undergraduate students this fiscal year, took advantage of a refined Purdue policy that allows students to retain the rights to their innovations. The company was founded by Timothy Vincent and Matt Molo from the College of Science, and Nick Molo, John Lee and Joshua Berg from the College of Engineering. MirrorMirror’s primary technology turns a conventional mirror in a monitor that shows the date, time, weather conditions and news on a monitor while still looking like a traditional mirror.

“This technology allows users to view information such as weather, traffic and their emails while brushing their teeth in the morning. That way they can plan their day,” Vincent said.

While the students retained their intellectual property for the innovation, they still made use of the entrepreneurial resources offered by the Purdue Foundry and the Anvil, startup hubs on the Purdue campus that help faculty, staff and student entrepreneurs.

"The entrepreneurial leaders at the Purdue Foundry have been great in helping us with guidance and direction,” Vincent said. "They are very passionate and care about helping entrepreneurs. MirrorMirror is going very well, and we’re working to perfect the technology and get it close to production. We view this company as a long-term project."

The technology is already receiving accolades, including winning first place at Exhibyte, a computer science fair hosted by the Undergraduate Student Board of the Purdue Department of Computer Science and second place in the Schurz Innovation Challenge at Purdue in the Purdue Foundry.

The Purdue Foundry located in the long-established Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship that assists entrepreneurs with business plans, product ideation, market analysis, funding, grant writing and legal counsel.

"The entrepreneurial ecosystem at Purdue and around Indiana is growing every day with hundreds of people and partners working together to help entrepreneurs and innovators get their startups off the ground," said Dan Hasler, president and chief entrepreneurial officer of the Purdue Research Foundation. "The resources that Purdue-affiliated startups can access are a tremendous help as well."

Resources for Purdue-affiliated entrepreneurs include:

* Purdue Foundry, a business incubator to help Purdue faculty, staff and students create startups.

* Student-managed Anvil, a business incubator to support student- and community-generated startups.

* Change in intellectual property policy so Purdue student inventors can own their innovations.

* $12 million Foundry Investment Fund to support life-sciences startups originating from Purdue innovations.

* Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund, a $2 million fund created by Purdue Foundry and Elevate Ventures to providing funding and guidance for startups originating from a Purdue innovation.

* Emerging Innovations Fund that provides early-stage startups with funds to advance an innovation.

* Trask Innovation Fund that provides later-stage startups with funds to support such activities as prototype development and marketing activities.

* Product prototyping lab.

* Innovation and entrepreneurship landing page to drive interested innovators to the right entrepreneurial resources online.

* Purdue Innovator Startup Guide as an online and print publication to provide intellectual property protection guidance, startup advice and other resources.

"We are just two weeks into our new fiscal year and the interest in commercialization is phenomenal, and we are already connecting Purdue innovators and public industries with startup and licensing opportunities," said Chad Pittman, vice president of the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. "We anticipate the coming year will result in another great year for Purdue innovation and commercialization activities."

For a complete list of all Purdue 2015 startups, visit http://otc-prf.org/startups. For more information about available leadership positions at startups, investing in a Purdue startup or licensing a Purdue innovation, visit PurdueFoundry.com.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park and Purdue Technology Centers. The foundation received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship and strong business support system.

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org 

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Dan Hasler, 765-588-3475, djhasler@prf.org

Related news release:

Trustees laud strong year: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q3/trustees-laud-strong-year.html 


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