Research Foundation News

April 20, 2017

Purdue ranks as top university in technology transfer, startup creation

Sherine Abdelmawla and Mohammad Noshi Sherine Abdelmawla and Mohammad Noshi co-founded Akanocure Pharmaceuticals and are part of the Purdue Startup Class of 2015. Their life sciences company is advancing pharmaceutical drugs derived from natural origins. (Purdue Research Foundation photo) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University’s strides in creating startups and moving innovations to the marketplace have earned it a top ranking from the Milken Institute in a report released Thursday (April 20).

Purdue ranks No. 1 in the Midwest, No. 1 nationally among public institutions without a medical school and No. 12 overall in the report, “Concept of Commercialization: The Best Universities for Technology Transfer.”

The report focuses on innovative activities that drive long-term economic growth demonstrated through patents, licenses executed, licensing income and startup creation. Based in Santa Monica, California, the Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank working to advance global prosperity.

“For the past four years, we have focused our efforts on creating the most supportive structure possible for our entrepreneurial faculty, students and staff,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “We have knocked down the barriers that often kept important Purdue-based research from reaching the marketplace in a timely way, and built what we believe to be the most friendly, conducive environment to ensure our research and the innovations that result reach their fullest potential.”

Purdue jumped from 39th in 2006, the last time the Milken Institute compiled a report on technology transfer data from academic research institutions. The University of Utah, Columbia University, University of Florida, Brigham Young University and Stanford University top the overall 2017 rankings.

Since 2014 Purdue has generated record-breaking numbers in technology transfer and commercialization activities with 76 startups created from patented university innovations. In the same time period, Purdue has nearly 500 technologies licensed and 460 U.S. patents issued. The university also is ranked 15th in the world among universities granted U.S. utility patents in 2015, according to a  report by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

Click Purdue startups and startup videos for a complete list of startups from recent years.

“Today, Indiana’s entrepreneurial environment is strong, and that is in large credit to our renowned universities,” said Jim Schellinger, Indiana secretary of commerce. “Having a nationally-recognized innovation leader like Purdue in our state gives Indiana a competitive advantage in launching new startups and creating new, high-tech jobs for Hoosiers. Purdue will continue to be a key resource in propelling our innovation and entrepreneurship efforts across the state, ensuring that Indiana is at the forefront of solving the world’s 21st century challenges.”  

Purdue has a number of initiatives and programs in place to help entrepreneurs who create startups at the university, such as the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. The Purdue Foundry provides practical guidance and programs for startups, including business development, venture capital experts, entrepreneurs in residence and entrepreneurial professionals. A brochure developed to ease the commercialization and startup process by providing a high-level overview and guide for Purdue innovators and entrepreneurs is available at the Purdue Startup Guide.

Sherine Abdelmawla, who co-founded Akanocure Pharmaceuticals with her husband Mohammad Noshi, has worked closely with the Purdue Foundry since creating her company in 2015. Akanocure has raised nearly $400,000 to advance the use of drugs derived from natural origins.

“We recently launched a product line that can provide medical professionals with a rare class of drug compounds that could stop the growth of bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and cancer tumor cells,” Abdelmawla said. “We would not be where we are in our startup growth without the help and support from the Purdue Foundry and Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. We are scientists, and knowing that there are entrepreneurial experts helping us through the startup creation gave us the assurance and belief that we could be successful in our endeavor to help develop new and important medicines and move them to the market.”

Passageways, another company originating from a Purdue innovation, was founded by Paroon Chadha, an India international who came to Purdue in 1999 to earn an MBA from the Krannert School of Management. After winning $7,000 in a Burton D. Morgan Center Business Plan Competition in 2002, he co-founded Passageways, an enterprise collaboration software company located in Lafayette, Indiana. The company now employs 55 people with plans to hire 20 more in 2017, as it expands rapidly into the board collaboration space. Passageways has been placed on the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest growing private companies and recently opened offices in London and Mumbai. About 50 percent of his employees are Purdue graduates.

"I could have gone back to India or relocate to Silicon Valley, but the support system from Purdue and Greater Lafayette has been the core of my success," Chadha said. "I remain highly involved with the Purdue Foundry and the entrepreneurial activities and opportunities in this area."

 About the Milken Institute

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health. We do this through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented meetings, and meaningful policy initiatives.

About Purdue Research Foundation's Office of Technology Commercialization

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

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. Managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Purdue Foundry was named a top recipient at the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities 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

Note to journalists: Contact Cynthia Sequin at for a full copy of the Milken Institute report “Concept of Commercialization: The Best Universities for Technology Transfer.” 

Media contacts: 

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

Ross DeVol, chief research officer, Milken Institute, 310-570-4615,


Mitch Daniels,

Jim Schellinger, 317-447-3255,

Sherine Abdelmawla,765-588-3822,

Paroon Chadha, 765-532-3820,



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