Research Foundation News

November 21, 2019

Wall Street Journal lists Purdue No. 3 nationally, No. 6 globally in startup creation from university technologies

Father and son co-founders Philip Low and Stewart Low are Purdue University scientists and entrepreneurs. Their startup, Novosteo Inc., has licensed an innovation they co-developed and patented at Purdue. (Purdue Research Foundation video) 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Wall Street Journal lists Purdue University sixth-best globally and third-best in the U.S. in a recent article highlighting startups generated from university-licensed technologies over the past 12 months.

According to the article, ETH Zurich and the University of Cambridge top the list with 33 startups originating from university-licensed intellectual property. Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Oxford follow with 28 startups each, Stanford University has 17, Purdue created 16 followed by Harvard University with 15 within the past 12 months.

“Moving life-changing innovations developed by our leading researchers to the public through startups created from university-developed intellectual property is a critical part of our educational and land-grant goals,” said Theresa Mayer, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships. “With students, faculty and staff working together, we are poised for even greater advancements in the coming years.”

Daniels startup Entrepreneurs and investors gather at a startup networking event in the Purdue Railyard, which is one of the largest co-working spaces in the Midwest. (Oren Darling/Purdue Research Foundation) Download image

As a top research institution, sponsored program awards at Purdue have grown to reach a record $520.6 million in 2019, topping last year’s record of $454.5 million. Last year, the National Science Foundation named Purdue as the location for the national Engineering Research Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources among other research awards.

Purdue also is undertaking a $1 billion-plus transformation of the west side of its campus that includes strong support to advance research, partnerships with global companies and startup creation. In the past two years, the project has established long-term research and development collaborations with Rolls-Royce, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Saab Global Defense and Security

Purdue hit a milestone in startup creation in 2018 with 223 startups, more than $350 million in funding and investments generated and more than 300 new jobs since 2013. 

Nearly 130 of the startups have licensed Purdue University intellectual property through the Purdue Research Foundation  Office of Technology Commercialization. The remainder of startups are affiliated with Purdue in some way and/or based on company-owned intellectual property bringing the startup total to 223 startups since 2013. More than 60 of the company-owned startups are founded and owned by Purdue students who in 2013 were granted the right to own the intellectual property that they generated as students at the university.

Nine Purdue startups have been acquired by major national or international companies including Endocyte Inc., which was acquired for $2.1 billion by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG in 2018.

Philip S. Low, the Purdue Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, is a co-founder of Endocyte Inc. and other promising startups based on Purdue innovations. Among these startups are On Target Laboratories Inc., a company developing tumor-targeted fluorescent dyes to help surgeons “see” cancer cells during surgeries that has raised more than $80 million, and Novosteo Inc., a startup developing an injectable drug to accelerated bone fracture repair and strengthen weak bones that has raised more than $3 million. In 2018 Novartis AG acquired Endocyte for $2.1 billion.

“As a researcher with a strong desire to move new innovations to the public, I can tell you it isn’t about the money – but rather about finding true value in the research being conducted,” Low said. “We all have loved ones, family, friends and many unknown others who can be helped by the work we do and that is the strongest motivating factor.”

Brooke Beier, vice president of the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization, manages an office whose primary responsibilities are to protect and move intellectual property to the public.

“The innovation coming out of university research is astounding and involves so many factors starting with the important work being done at the university, the support from the federal research entities such as National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health and our team of professionals in our office and the Purdue Foundry who work diligently and cooperatively to move new technologies to the public,” said Beier, who has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. “I am not surprised that so many of the finest and oldest global universities are actively moving their innovations into new ventures and changing lives through innovation.”

Once a licensing agreement is signed through the Office of Technology
Commercialization, entrepreneurs receive assistance through the Purdue Foundry, a startup accelerator offered through the Purdue Research Foundation. The Purdue Foundry, which has helped more than 250 startups since its creation in 2013, also assists Purdue student startups and other know-how startups.

About Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which 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 For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at and reference (include OTC reference number). The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University.   

From The Wall Street Journal (a subscriber web site)

Writer: Cynthia Sequin,


Theresa Mayer,

Phil Low,

Brooke Beier,

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