Research Foundation News

May 28, 2019

Three Purdue startups could receive up to a total of $750,000 in matching funds to advance technologies, commercialization

Startups are developing medical care for cancer treatment, concussion diagnostics and health complications.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Three startups based on Purdue University technologies are slated to receive investments totaling up to $750,000 in matching funds from Purdue Research Foundation’s Foundry Investment Fund to help advance them to commercial viability.

Animated Dynamics Inc. will receive a $250,000 matching investment from the fund. The fund was established in 2014 through a partnership between Purdue Research Foundation and Cook Medical.  Brightlamp Inc. and Predictive Wear LLC  also could receive up to $250,000 each from the investment fund in the event they raise enough capital to match.

The goal of the fund is to add critical capital for the transition from the discovery of a promising technology to founding a viable life sciences company. The funds are partial matching investments made in the companies by institutional and other investors.

“Through its matching fund program, the Foundry Investment Fund plays an important role in attracting interest in Purdue-affiliated life sciences companies,” said John Hanak, managing director of Purdue Ventures. “These companies are advancing quickly and have already received funding and investments from other sources making them eligible for this fund.”

The Foundry Investment Fund has invested nearly $5 million in 13 companies in the past five years. Those companies have secured capital from venture funds and other institutional and professional investment sources.  

Animated Dynamics uses biodynamic imaging to predict how a specific tumor will likely respond to a chemotherapy drug. This is important because less than half of cancer patients respond favorably to chemotherapy and the technology could help medical professionals better determine the best treatment options for patients. Animated Dynamics uses Doppler light scattering, like a weather radar, to determine how a patient will respond to chemotherapy before they begin treatment.  A video about the process is available here.

The company was founded by David Nolte, the Edward M. Purcell Distinguished Professor at Purdue; John Turek, a Purdue professor of basic medical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine; and Ran An, a Purdue graduate and an expert on the technical details of biodynamic imaging.

Brightlamp, founded by Purdue graduates Kurtis Sluss and Michael Heims, has launched a patented innovative technology to measure pupillary light response using a mobile device.  The application, called Reflex, allows health care professionals to quickly record data that can be used to objectively determine if a person has sustained any neurological disturbance, including concussion.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3.8 million concussions occur each year in the United States while 84% may be undiagnosed.

The app works exactly like a pupillometer and can take a digital video recording with a smartphone of an individual’s eye to measure a response called “pupillary light reflex.” The user holds the camera up to an eye, taps the screen and a light flashes to initiate a response from the pupil. The app measures the latency, constriction rate, dilation rate and other relevant metrics. Change in pupil response has been correlated with brain stem and hypothalamus injuries including blast-induced traumatic brain injuries, non-blast-induced traumatic brain injuries, neurodegenerative diseases, and conditions affecting cognitive capacity.

The app can be used by athletic trainers, physicians, neurologists and academic researchers to monitor cognitive functionality for many neurological disturbances, diseases and abnormalities which position Brightlamp to be a leader in the use of the pupil as the next generation biomarker for brain function.

Predictive Wear strives to turn everyday garments into lifesaving diagnostic tools by combining leading-edge advances in biomedical engineering, textiles, and predictive analytics. First, Predictive Wear is creating a wearable technology that helps patients and doctors better monitor and manage heart failure. Pablo Argote and Dane Albaugh joined with their team of engineers passionate about bringing preventative medicine to the masses before graduating from Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. This wearable technology is a smart compression legging which can conveniently track how a patient with heart failure is doing and report back to their doctor.  The CDC estimates that 5.7 million suffer from heart failure in the United States, with half those patients dying within five years of their diagnosis. But heart failure is manageable, and Predictive Wear is working on technology to help detect heart failure complications quickly.

These technologies align with Purdue’s Giant Leaps  celebration, celebrating the global advancements in health as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. It is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.       

About Purdue Foundry Investment Fund

The Foundry Investment Fund was established in 2014 through a partnership between Purdue Research Foundation and Cook Medical. The $12 million fund invests in Purdue-based or Purdue-connected companies commercializing select life science technologies. The fund co-invests or otherwise stimulates outside parties to invest in Purdue-based life sciences businesses; provides critical capital funds to entrepreneurial ventures that originate from Purdue innovation or expertise; and aim to become self-sustaining through returns from prudent investments. Non-Purdue entities, such as venture capital firms, corporations, angel groups or qualified individuals, are encouraged to be matching investors. For more information, contact Purdue Venture’s managing director, John Hanak, at jmhanak@prf.org.

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 foundry@prf.org. 

Writer: Tom Coyne, 765-588-1044, tjcoyne@prf.org

Source: John Hanak, 765-588-5255, jmphanak@prf.org


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