sealPurdue News

April 15, 2003

Finalists vie for $147,000 in life sciences business plan competition

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Eight finalists, including four from Indiana, have been chosen to compete for $147,000 in prizes on Wednesday (4/23) during the inaugural Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition.

The presentations from high-tech bioscience startup companies will be in the North Ballroom of the Purdue Memorial Union from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Tuesday (4/22) from 4-7 p.m., the finalists and others from the original 46 teams who entered the competition will have desktop displays of their technology and marketing materials in Room 118 of the union. Both the business plan presentations and displays are open to the public.

The finalists are:

– BioVitesse, from Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., has developed technology that identifies live bacteria quickly for quality control applications in the microbiology industry.

– Hypogen Inc., from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, has developed a diagnostic test that may prevent the onset of high blood pressure in humans.

– Iris AO, from the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., has developed SmartMirror technology for early detection of eye disease and the potential to correct vision to 20/10.

– Iterative Therapeutics, from the University of Chicago, is a biopharmaceutical company that has developed a product for the treatment of multiple sclerosis that also has potential for treating other diseases.

– Medical Reporting Solutions, from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has developed automatic speech-recognition technology for medical technology databases.

– Monocle Technologies, from Purdue, designs process-monitoring equipment to oversee purity and find defects in individual tablets as they are produced on pharmaceutical companies' high-speed pill presses.

– NanoString Technologies, from the University of Washington in Seattle, uses a probe to label unique molecules for gene profiling.

– VersaChrome, from Purdue, uses simulated moving bed technology to increase purity and reduce costs in producing pharmaceuticals and biochemicals.

Each of the eight teams will have 45 minutes to present their business plans for bringing their products to market to a judging panel made up of venture capitalists, health industry professionals, academics and industry service providers. The judges read the entries of all the teams that submitted plans and ranked them using a numerical scoring system that took into account the sophistication of the technology and its business potential.

"The winner of the competition will be chosen on the basis of solid commercial viability," said Don Blewett, associate director of Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "We also want to make this a networking opportunity as well as a business plan competition. The other half of real-world success is talking and listening to both technical and business people."

First prize in the competition is $50,000; second prize is $20,000; third prize is $15,000; fourth prize is $7,500; fifth prize is $5,000; sixth prize is $2,500; seventh and eighth prizes are $1,500 each. A total of $24,000 of in-kind legal and financial services is available to the top three finishers. The top Indiana entry will win $20,000 in addition to any other prizes.

Winners will be announced at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday during a banquet at the conclusion of the competition. The winning Indiana team will receive its award on June 5 at the 2003 Indiana Health Industry Conference and Innovation Showcase in Indianapolis.

The lead sponsors of the business plan competition are Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and Roche Diagnostics, located in Indianapolis, which is contributing $100,000 in prize money.

The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) and the Indiana Health Industry Forum together are contributing the $20,000 for the best business plan presented by an Indiana-connected team.

Indianapolis-based law firm Baker & Daniels and its health technologies consulting affiliate Aventor is contributing $10,000 to support the competition and $12,000 in services to the top three finishers. Clifton Gunderson LLP, a national accounting firm with an office in Indianapolis, is contributing $5,000 to support the competition and $12,000 in services to the top three finishers.

"Our sponsors' generosity has moved this event to the top level of business plan competition prize money," said Richard A. Cosier, director of the center for entrepreneurship and dean of the Krannert School of Management. "The Indiana Health Industry Forum-CICP prize for the best plan by an Indiana-based team, together with Roche's lead sponsorship, shows that the public and private sectors are pulling together to build upon our strong foundation of life sciences here in Indiana.

"The associate sponsorships of Baker & Daniels and Clifton Gunderson are further endorsements of both the quality of this event and their confidence in Indiana's future economic potential in the life sciences."

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at Purdue brings together existing entrepreneurial efforts on campus, including technology transfer activities and other entrepreneurial competitions, speakers and events. The center also serves as a resource for Purdue researchers to help commercialize their discoveries and as the intellectual center of education on, and discussion of, entrepreneurial philosophy and issues.

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship is one of five major centers planned for the $100 million Discovery Park complex, which includes the Birck Nanotechnology Center, the Bindley Bioscience Research Center, an e-enterprise center and the Discovery Learning Center. Roche Diagnostics is the first corporate partner of Discovery Park.

Inquiries about the competition should be directed to Blewett at (765) 494-4485 or The competition Web site.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Sources: Richard A. Cosier, (765) 494-4366,

Don Blewett, (765) 494-4485,

Wade Lange, Indiana Health Industry Forum, (317) 264-8552,

Anne Shane, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, (317) 638-2440,

Baker & Daniels: Daniel L. Boeglin, (317) 569-4644,

Yassir Karam, (317) 574-9100,

Joel Reuter, Roche Diagnostics corporate communication, (317) 521-7431, (800) 539-4808 (c),

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web site:
Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition

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