Research Foundation News

March 15, 2017

Cook Medical, Purdue partnership drives life-improving innovations to the public

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A $12 million partnership between Cook Medical and Purdue Research Foundation has already infused $3.2 million in startups that support the commercialization of life-improving innovations developed at Purdue University.  

The not-for-profit Foundry Investment Fund, established in 2014, is designed to feed a “garden plot” of emerging biomedical and life sciences technologies and moving such innovations to the public at an accelerated pace.

Already benefiting from the fund is Symic Bio Inc., a life sciences company that originated from Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and received nearly $450,000. Symic is developing new therapeutics for multiple diseases including cancer and osteoarthritis. Some are already in clinical trials. SpeechVive Inc., a company that developed a device to help people with Parkinson’s disease improve communication, received $225,000. Spensa Technologies Inc., an agronomic company with pest management platforms and a hardware device designed to reduce manual crop scouting, received $515,000.

For Cook Medical and Cook Biotech, one of the Cook companies based in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, the fund is another way to give back. Cook worked with Dan Hasler, president of Purdue Research Foundation, to establish the Foundry Investment Fund.

“Cook has licensed several Purdue innovations that have helped untold people around the globe,” said Steve Ferguson, chairman of the board for Cook Group. “The partnership between Cook Biotech and Purdue is a wonderful example of how two entities can work together for a common good, and we received great results. It is an interesting story with a positive outcome.”

The Purdue/Cook Medical collaborations began with Bill Cook (1931-2011), founder of Cook Medical, and Les Geddes (1921-2009), a prolific innovator and patent holder for Purdue University, who shared a vision to move Geddes’ biomedical discoveries to the public. Cook Biotech, established in 1995 in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, is the result of that vision.

“We licensed a regenerative tissue from Dr. Geddes and Purdue Research Foundation, which enabled us to help many, many people and now have than 200 people working for Cook Biotech,” said Umesh Patel, president of Cook Biotech.

Today, more than 1.5 million patient treatments have generated from the Geddes-developed health innovation. 

The result of the collaboration is the Foundry Investment Fund, which matches funding from other investors to provide critical capital to commercialize Purdue innovations or expertise in the areas of human and animal health and plant sciences.

 “But we do expect investment returns to the Foundry Investment Fund to make the fund evergreen in nature so it can continue to be used to support startups in the future,” Ferguson said. “The returns will then be used to support other new companies.”

The Foundry Investment Fund has now helped 10 startups and one academic school.

“What Cook Medical has done with this fund is a great example of how a successful company is not just giving back to a community with jobs and economic development, but they are supporting the development and commercialization of other innovations to improve the well-being of people around the world,” Hasler said. “Cook Medical is making a true positive impact on the health and well-being of others.”

Johnny Park, founder and president of Spensa Technologies, said the Foundry Investment Fund helped support and grow his company.

“The funding we received enabled us to hire more team members, expand our R&D and market our software platform and agronomic device around the world,” Park said. “We are now in four continents and have more than 40 employees at our Purdue Research Park site in West Lafayette, Indiana.”

Steve Mogensen, SpeechVive president and CEO, said the support from the fund helped further develop and manufacture the SpeechVive device to help people with Parkinson’s disease.

“We were able to expedite our product development and outreach efforts to people with Parkinson’s across the U.S. with the Foundry Investment Fund,” he said. “We now have more than 100 devices being used to help people communicate more effectively with the SpeechVive device and, thus, improving their quality of life. The financial assistance from the fund was a catalyst in making a tremendous difference in the delivery of our technology to the public.”

For more information about the Foundry Investment Fund, contact John Hanak, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Purdue Foundry,, 317-616-1860.

Media contacts:

Cynthia Sequin, Purdue Research Foundation, 765-588-3340,

Marsha Lovejoy, Cook Medical, 812-339-2235 ext. 2750,  


Dan Hasler, 765-588-3475,

Johnny Park, 765-588-3592,

Steve Mogensen, 612-723-7200,

Research Foundation News

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