Research Foundation News

January 22, 2018

Three Purdue startups graduate to Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund ‘Gold Award’ status

Lodos theranostics Rachel Kim, an MBA graduate from MIT Sloan, and You-Yeon Won, a professor in Purdue's School of Chemical Engineering, are developing a nanoparticle ultraviolet radiation technology, named Radio-Luminescent Nano Particles. The technology could replace chemotherapy drugs to enhance the cancer-killing effect of radiation in a non-toxic way, minimizing radiation doses and patient side effects. Won and Kim have started the company LoDos Theranostics to further develop and commercialize the technology. (Purdue Research Foundation photo) Download image

INDIANAPOLIS and WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Three Purdue startups received a total of $240,000, earning them “Gold Award” investment status from the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund, officials announced Monday (Jan. 22).

LoDos Theranostics LLC, Penguin Innovations Inc. and PinpointPharma LLC each received an $80,000 investment to advance their companies. The startups previously received $20,000 each through the “First-Tier Black Awards,” making them eligible for the Gold Award funding once certain startup milestones were met.

Startups that applied for the funding were reviewed by teams from Purdue’s Student Managed Venture Fund consisting of competitively selected graduate students and seniors, mainly from the Krannert School of Management, who participate in the experiential learning course. The course is offered through a collaboration among Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Krannert School of Management and the Purdue Research Foundation.  Based on the diligence performed by those teams, selected startup companies then pitched directly to the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund’s Investment Committee.

 “The course provides students with the opportunity to conduct business research on real-world startups as they conduct diligence reviews on the applicants,” said Richard Cosier, the Leeds Professor and dean emeritus of the Krannert School of Management, who teaches the course. “The students perform an in-depth review and write a report that includes the feasibility of the startup's product or service, budget, IP protection, licensing options, marketing targets, competitor analysis and financial projections.”

LoDos Theranostics is developing a unique nanoparticle ultraviolet radiation technology that could enhance cancer cell killing effects of radiation treatment, thus reducing radiation doses and patient side effects. You-Yeon Won, a professor in Purdue's School of Chemical Engineering, and Rachel Kim, an MBA graduate from MIT Sloan, co-founded the company.

Penguin Innovations is commercializing a certified virtual pharmacy clean room laboratory for students and other industry professionals to gain practical experience in creating sterile, accurately prepared products. Steve Abel, Purdue associate provost for engagement and professor in the College of Pharmacy, and John B. Hertig, associate director of the Purdue College of Pharmacy Center for Medication Safety Advancement and assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy, co-founded the startup.

PinpointPharma LLC is commercializing a portable inkjet printer to produce precise, personalized medication dosages faster than conventional methods, which could improve overall drug effectiveness and decrease patient side effects. Arun Giridhar, an associate research scientist in Purdue's School of Chemical Engineering, founded the company.

“It is interesting to note that all three of the recipients in this round are members of the Purdue Startup Class of 2016 and Purdue Foundry, which says a lot about the Purdue startup process and progression with the support from the state’s Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund,” said John Hanak, Purdue Ventures managing director. “More than 60 startups have now received critical investments through the black and gold awards supported through this fund. These are all companies that demonstrate a strong potential for success in moving life-changing technologies to the market.”

Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund provides funding for Purdue-affiliated startups with pre-seed, seed and early-stage investment and co-investment programs. Since the program’s creation in 2014, 60 Purdue-affiliated startups have received a total of $1.64 million in investment funding that can be used for commercialization activities, market research, product development and prototype creation.

“The startups that have received funding through this program have continued to advance their innovation and demonstrate strong commercial potential,” said Chris LaMothe, Elevate Ventures CEO. “These are prime examples of the successful startup ecosystem being created at Purdue and elsewhere across Indiana. University and industry research, coupled with public and private support, provides a strong foundation to create jobs and foster economic growth.”

Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund is a joint venture between Elevate Ventures, a venture development organization that nurtures and develops high-potential businesses into high-performing Indiana-based companies, and Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurial accelerator in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund offers funding through various convertible promissory note instruments that are finalized directly with Elevate Ventures. Purdue Foundry, Elevate Ventures and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation have collaborated on this program for over three years, offering up to $2 million in investments. Recipients fit the following criteria: are Purdue Foundry clients; hold intellectual property patented through the Purdue Research Foundation; and/or companies owned by Purdue students, faculty or staff. Other considerations include market potential, operational viability and leadership.

Black Award submissions will be accepted again in early 2018 and Gold Award sometime thereafter. For more information, entrepreneurs can contact Purdue Ventures managing director John Hanak at or an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Purdue Foundry.

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

About Elevate Ventures

Elevate Ventures is a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-potential businesses into fast-growth, Indiana-based companies. Elevate Ventures accomplishes this by providing access to capital, rigorous business analysis and robust advisory services that connect companies with the right mix of resources businesses need to succeed long term. To learn more about Elevate Ventures, its team and its funds under management, visit 

Writer: Kelsey Henry, 765-588-3342,

Purdue Research Foundation Contact: Cynthia Sequin, 765-558-3340,

Elevate Ventures Contact: Alisha Estabrook, 317-975-1917,

Source: John Hanak, 765-588-5255,

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