Research Foundation News

May 29, 2019

Purdue-affiliated entrepreneur selected for global summit

Co-founder of life sciences startup selected for entrepreneurship honor

Joanne Zhang Joanne Zhang, co-founder of Purdue University-affiliated life sciences startup Phytoption LLC, has been selected to participate next month in a global summit. (Purdue Research Foundation image/Oren Darling) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The co-founder of Purdue University-affiliated life sciences startup Phytoption LLC has been selected to participate next month in a global summit bringing together top entrepreneurs and innovators from across the world.

Joanne Zhang was selected by organizers of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to attend the event in June in Hague, the Netherlands. The U.S. government, which started the summit nearly a decade ago, will sponsor Zhang’s attendance at the event.

Zhang is a co-founder of Phytoption, which is transforming agricultural commodities to highly functional ingredients for food, cosmetics and drug applications.

The summit, being held for the first time this year in the European Union, brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and thought leaders from around the world. The summit is a combination of an innovation marketplace and policy forum.

“This is an incredible honor and opportunity to represent our company and U.S. innovators,” Zhang said. “I am looking forward to creating new connections and finding new opportunities to create change in our industries.”

Phytoption licensed technologies from the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and has been developing phytoglycogen-based biomaterials for use in the personal care and pharmaceutical industries. Phytoption’s other innovation, cereal-based natural flours, is meeting the unmet needs for clean-label food emulsifiers and texturants in the food and beverage industry, with over $10 billion market potential.

Phytoption, located in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, has received support from the Purdue Research Foundation’s Foundry Investment Fund to advance to commercial viability.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue's intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park and Purdue Technology Centers. The foundation received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, 

Source: Joanne Zhang,

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