Research Foundation News

May 7, 2024

LyoWave licenses Purdue freeze-drying innovations, enters collaboration with Millrock Technology

LyoWave looks to first serve diagnostic and pharmaceuticals supply chain industry

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — LyoWave Inc., a high-tech startup, is commercializing innovative microwave heating technologies developed at Purdue University that improve upon traditional lyophilization — or the process of freeze-drying perishable products — by increasing speed, cost-effectiveness and product throughput. 

CEO and co-founder Drew Strongrich said LyoWave’s microwave energy innovations open new possibilities for a variety of products.

“Our technology overcomes the historic issues associated with microwave systems such as nonuniform heating, poor tunability, low flexibility and risk of product damage due to the generation of free radicals,” he said.

LyoWave licensed the intellectual property through the Purdue Innovates Office of Technology Commercialization.

Pharmaceutical applications and more

Alina Alexeenko, LyoWave president and co-founder, said lyophilization extends the shelf life of pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, and stabilizes them throughout the supply chain.

“It requires conditions like those in outer space — it is a cold vacuum,” Alexeenko said. “The traditional process is very expensive and time consuming.

“The team at LyoWave wants to push lyophilization further so lifesaving medicines and vaccines can easily reach every corner of the world. We have found a way to apply microwaves to get past some of the key challenges the environment presents.”

Strongrich said LyoWave’s technology enables other innovations.

"There are several alternative and emerging freeze-drying technologies under investigation by the pharmaceutical sector. This comes in response to the growing demand for lyophilized products,” he said. “The LyoWave technology is highly compatible with many of them and serves as a significant force multiplier.”

The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, or NIIMBL, awarded a team of Purdue researchers almost $1 million to advance lyophilization technologies. LyoWave officials will present at the 2024 NIIMBL National Meeting, which takes place June 25-27.

lyowave-license Members of the LyoWave and LyoHub teams stand next to their device, a microwave emitter developed at Purdue University that vastly reduces the time needed to freeze-dry vaccines and other pharmaceutical products. LyoWave has licensed the technology from the Purdue Innovates Office of Technology Commercialization and entered a joint development collaboration with Millrock Technology. (Purdue University photo/Alan Cesar) Download image

Although initially focused on pharmaceutical and diagnostic freeze-drying, Strongrich said the technology has multiple applications.

“Microwave heating is a very common industrial process that’s applied over a wide range of industries including food, textiles and chemical production,” he said. “We’re prepared to serve those industries equally as well as the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries.”

Millrock Technology collaboration

LyoWave has entered into a collaboration agreement with Millrock Technology, an industry leader in innovative freeze dryers for biotech, pharmaceutical and industrial applications from laboratory to production.

Millrock will offer LyoWave’s system for its already installed and new freeze dryers, starting with their popular REVO model. The LyoWave system implements microwave heating for current freeze dryers, which allows users to increase their throughput with minimal changes to existing installations.

“Our innovations will be used to boost Millrock’s freeze-drying systems’ capacity to manufacture diagnostic reagents and bulk lyophilized materials and accelerate process development for new lyophilized drug products,” Alexeenko said.

Millrock CEO and President Martial Pabon said LyoWave’s technology has the potential to deliver high value for the industry by both improving product consistency and reducing drying times.

“LyoWave’s new solid-state microwave technology provides significant improvements in product quality while shortening processing times, which adds significant value to our customers,” Pabon said. “At Millrock, we are always looking at new technologies that advance freeze-drying science. We are totally excited by this collaboration.”

LyoWave’s technology

Dimitrios Peroulis, LyoWave’s co-founder and board member, underlined the significance of advanced electromagnetic technology in this application space.

“Many standard microwave systems operate at 2.45 GHz and use legacy power sources and radiation systems,” he said. “LyoWave provides frequency- and space-adjustable power output at above 8 GHz, which is more effective at heating ice.”

Peroulis said regular microwave designs often use a turntable to counteract hot spots. 

“Our technology has flipped this idea and found a way to rapidly rotate the electromagnetic field in random directions, while the product being processed remains stationary, resulting in uniformity throughout the product chamber,” he said. “The microwaves are not only faster but also allow users to take advantage of the unused space inside a freeze dryer.”

Key results of the Purdue research have been published in the March 2024 issue of IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, the January 2023 issue of Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the July 2022 issue of PNAS Nexus.

LyoWave’s Purdue connections 

LyoWave was founded by researchers at Purdue University’s College of Engineering. Alexeenko and Peroulis have been jointly leading the team of Purdue researchers who developed the patented and patent-pending innovations since 2016.

Alexeenko is the senior associate dean for undergraduate education and academic programs at Purdue University in Indianapolis and a professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering. She also co-founded LyoHUB in 2014 with a focus on advancing the science of lyophilization.

Peroulis is the senior vice president for Purdue University Online and the Reilly Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He served as the Michael and Katherine Birck Head of the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 2019-23. 

Other members of the Purdue research team in the NIIMBL award include Eric Munson, the Dane O. Kildsig Chair in Industrial and Physical Pharmacy and department head; Vivek Narsimhan, the Michael Ott Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering in the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering; and Qi “Tony” Zhou, associate professor of industrial and physical pharmacy and a University Faculty Scholar.

About LyoWave Inc. 

At LyoWave, we’re supercharging the pharmaceutical freeze-drying process using state-of-the-art, high-frequency microwave heating technology. Our solution accelerates your freeze-drying process while simultaneously improving throughput and uniformity. It is compatible with bench-top to production-scale freeze-drying systems and everything in between, and seamlessly transfers your freeze-drying process from the laboratory to pilot or commercial scales.

About Millrock Technology Inc. 

Millrock Technology, founded in 2004 and headquartered in Kingston, NY, is an innovator in advanced freeze dryer technology for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics, and life science applications. Our sole dedication to lyophilization for the pharmaceutical, biotech and related industries allows us to focus on providing the highest performing, advanced freeze-drying solutions and support services to our customers.

About Purdue Innovates Office of Technology Commercialization 

The Purdue Innovates 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 through commercializing, licensing and protecting Purdue intellectual property. In fiscal year 2023, the office reported 150 deals finalized with 203 technologies signed, 400 disclosures received and 218 issued U.S. patents. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. In 2020, IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Contact for more information.

About Purdue University 

Purdue University is a public research institution demonstrating excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, including nearly 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap — including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes — at

Writer/Media contact: Steve Martin,

Sources: Drew Strongrich, 

Dimitrios Peroulis, 

Alina Alexeenko, 

Martial Pabon, 

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