sealPurdue News

April 24, 2003

Iris AO wins Purdue life sciences biz plan competition, eyes future

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Iris AO, a startup company formed by principals from the University of Rochester (New York) and the University of California at Berkeley, won the $50,000 first prize Wednesday (4/23) in the inaugural Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition.

Download Photo Here
Photo caption below

Iris AO, using the same optical technology as the Hubble telescope, has developed an application called SmartMirror, which allows early detection of eye diseases and has the potential to correct vision to 20/10. In addition to the first prize, Iris AO won $10,000 in legal and business services.

Second place went to Medical Reporting Solutions, from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The company has developed automatic speech-recognition technology for medical technology databases. Medical Reporting Solutions won the $20,000 second prize plus another $20,000 for being the top Indiana entry. The team also won $8,000 in legal and business services.

Other winners in the $147,000 competition were:

– NanoString Technologies, from the University of Washington in Seattle, took third place and won $15,000 plus $6,000 in legal and business services.

– Hypogen, from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, placed fourth and won $7,500.

– Iterative Therapeutics, from the University of Chicago, placed fifth and won $5,000.

– Monocle Technologies, from Purdue, placed sixth and won $2,500.

– VersaChrome and BioVitesse, both from Purdue, won $1,500 each.

Matthew Campbell, chief operating officer of Iris AO, ended his presentation to the 10-judge panel by saying: "Our goal is to build our reputation as a world-class optical company. We're at the stage where we have some customers, and we'd like to go out and hire more people. The prize money will help us do that."

Iris AO's offices are in Berkeley, Calif.

Dr. Patrick Jamieson, CEO of top Indiana entry Medical Reporting Solutions, stressed his company's commitment to the state.

"This prize will be extremely helpful in going forward in the commercialization of our product," he said. "All our winnings will be put back into the company, and we're very committed to the state of Indiana.

"We felt, even before learning the results, that we would come out as winners because of the exposure we've received."

Medical Reporting Solutions will receive its top Indiana entry award on June 5 at the 2003 Indiana Health Industry Conference and Innovation Showcase in Indianapolis.

Each of the eight finalists, chosen from among 46 entries nationwide, had 20 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. Then the teams fielded 25 minutes of questions from the judges. The competition took place at the Purdue Memorial Union.

Don Blewett, associate director of Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, said, "The eight finalists all made strong, absolutely top-notch presentations."

The center and Roche Diagnostics Corp., located in Indianapolis, were the competition's lead sponsors. Roche contributed $100,000 in prize money.

Richard A. Cosier, Krannert School of Management dean and director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, gave credit to the sponsors and looked to the future of the competition.

"Our sponsors' generosity has moved this event to the top level of business plan competition prize money," Cosier said. "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 Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and the Indiana Health Industry Forum together contributed $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 contributed $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, contributed $5,000 to support the competition and $12,000 in services to the top three finishers.

Cosier said that in addition to making the Purdue Life Sciences Business Plan Competition an annual event on campus, there are discussions about holding competitions off campus.

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 Corp. is the first corporate partner of Discovery Park.

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

Sources: Don Blewett, (765) 494-4485,

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

Matthew Campbell, (510)849-2375,

Dr. Patrick Jamieson, (317) 715-6381,

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 Inc. corporate communication, (317) 521-7431, (800) 539-4808 (c),

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


Matthew Campbell, chief operating officer of Iris AO, makes the winning presentation at Purdue's inaugural Life Sciences Business Plan Competition on Wednesday (4/23). Iris AO won the $50,000 top prize, plus $10,000 in legal and business services, in the $147,000 contest. The winning team was one of the eight finalists who made presentations during the competition, which was in the Purdue Memorial Union. (Purdue University photo/ John Underwood)

A publication-quality photograph is available at

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page