Research Foundation News

July 14, 20202

Purdue-affiliated startup works to improve medication safety

Note to journalists: Journalists visiting campus should follow visitor health guidelines.

wilker-medicines A Purdue University-affiliated entrepreneur is taking the lessons he learned from working on crime scenes to try and ensure the safety of medications before they reach the pharmacy. (Image provided) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A number of medications have been recalled in recent months due to contaminants or impurities. Now, a Purdue University-affiliated entrepreneur is taking the lessons he learned from working on crime scenes to try and ensure the safety of medications before they reach the pharmacy.

Dale Purcell started Chemical Microscopy after receiving his Ph.D. in forensic science and working with the Oregon State Police. The startup takes a chemical analysis approach to developing solutions for several industries, including the pharmaceutical field. Chemical Microscopy specializes in the identification and remediation of unknown, foreign particulate matter in industrial manufacturing processes.

“We specialize in pharma forensics, where we use chemical analysis and our innovative instruments to examine pharmaceutical compounds to determine purity and other key characteristics,” Purcell said. “We are able to analyze a very small amount of compound. So instead of a company spending more than $100,000 to create a single gram of the compound, they can spend a fraction of that amount to create a much smaller quantity that we can then test.”

Purcell uses microscopy and microspectroscopy to characterize and map ingredients of an  active formulation, which a pharmaceutical company can then use to ensure its products meet safety and purity standards set forth by the Federal Drug Administration and other organizations such as the United States Pharmacopeia.

Chemical Microscopy is located in the Purdue Research Park West Lafayette, where it collaborates in shared laboratory space with Improved Pharma, another Purdue-affiliated technology company.

Purcell also worked closely with the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub housed in the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Purdue’s Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus. Chemical Microscopy also is a member of the Purdue Railyard, located in Purdue Research Park West Lafayette, which is one of the largest single coworking spaces in the U.S.

About Chemical Microscopy

At Chemical Microscopy, our expertise is the application of analytical techniques on small, microscopic samples to find solutions to problems arising in a chemical or pharmaceutical laboratory.  We have expertise in patent infringement litigation, packaging delamination and counterfeit enclosures, foreign particulate matter identification and remediation, solid-state crystallization, thermomicroscopy, and a litany of microscope and analytical instruments. We believe that all industry today would benefit greatly from microscopical methods applied intelligently to solve problems in manufacturing or product failure. More information is available at

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, Purdue Technology Centers and University Development Office. In 2020, the IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The foundation received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization at For more information about involvement and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at For more information about setting up a presence at Purdue, possibly in the Purdue Research Park or Discovery Park District, contact the PRF Economic Development Office at

Writer: Chris Adam,

Dale Purcell,

Photo Caption: A Purdue University-affiliated entrepreneur is taking the lessons he learned from working on crime scenes to try and ensure the safety of medications before they reach the pharmacy. (Image provided) A publication-quality photo is available at

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