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April 15, 2004

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

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Eight finalists, including three from Indiana, have been chosen to compete for $147,000 in prizes on Wednesday (4/21) during the second annual Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition.

last year's winners
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The presentations from high-tech bioscience startup companies will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Rawls Hall, Room 3082. On Tuesday (4/20) from 4-7 p.m., the finalists will have desktop displays of their technology and marketing materials in Rawls Hall, Room 3011. Both the business plan presentations and displays are open to the public.

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. BioCrossroads and the Indiana Health Industry Forum are contributing a $20,000 prize to the top Indiana finisher.

The finalists are:

– FFA Sciences, from San Diego State University, San Diego, Calif., which has developed a way to test blood for free fatty acids that clog human arteries and cause cardiovascular ischemia, the largest cause of death in developed countries.

– LightScanners, the University of Utah and Salt Lake City Utah, which has developed equipment using fluorescent dye, precise temperature control and high-resolution measurement to replace most of the current methods of DNA sequencing.

– Optical Therapeutic Technologies, from Purdue, which uses folic acid and dyes to allow surgeons to see and identify certain active cancer tumors.

– OyaGen, from the University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y., which is developing a drug that disables the HIV virus.

– Prosolia (pro-SO-leah), from Purdue University and Indianapolis, which uses mass spectrometry technology to create protein arrays with the goal of advancing proteomics and drug discovery and development. Prosolia is a spinoff of Inproteo (formerly the Indiana Proteomics Consortium), a partnership of Purdue, Indiana University and Eli Lilly and Co.

– ThruSkin Technologies, from the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., which has developed an ointment that may be a superior delivery method for using glucosamine to treat osteoarthritis.

– Tienta Sciences, from Indianapolis, which uses Raman, infrared and mass-spectroscopy analysis to monitor and assess changes in proteins with a significant cost savings over current technology. Tienta is a spinoff of Inproteo.

– TransPharmx, from the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, which has developed a low-cost nasal spray technology for fast, time-released drug delivery.

Each of the eight teams will have 45 minutes to present its 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 the top 30 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. This process was used to arrive at the eight finalists.

"The winner of the final round will be chosen on the basis of solid commercial viability," said Don Blewett, associate director of Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "Like last year, the finalists all have great technologies. The difference this year is we have better, more focused business plans for taking the technologies to the marketplace."

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 the banquet at the conclusion of the competition. The winning Indiana team will receive its special Indiana award on June 17 at the 2004 Indiana Health Industry Conference and Innovation Showcase in Indianapolis

Indianapolis-based law firm Baker & Daniels and its health technologies consulting affiliate Aventor are 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 for the second year 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 prize provided by the Indiana Health Industry Forum and BioCrossroads 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 students to engage in discussions and applications of entrepreneurial philosophy and issues.

The Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship is one of six major facilities planned for the $100 million Discovery Park complex, which includes the Birck Nanotechnology Center, the Bindley Bioscience Research Center, an e-enterprise center, a biomedical engineering building, and the Discovery Learning Center. Roche Diagnostics was 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 is available.

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, BioCrossroads, (317) 638-2440,

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

Yassir Karam,Clifton Gunderson LLP, (317) 574-9100,

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

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to journalists: Reporters can contact representatives of the three Indiana-based entries in advance of the competition. The contact for Optical Therapeutic Technologies is Mike Kennedy, Kevin Boscacci, (317) 842-6480,, is a Krannert School MBA graduate who was part of putting Prosolia's business plan together. Representing Tienta Sciences is Ray Degrella, (317) 278-6113, r.degrella

Matthew Campbell, chief operating officer of Iris AO, makes the winning presentation at Purdue's inaugural Life Sciences Business Plan Competition in April 2003. 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 file photo/John Underwood)

A publication-quality photograph is available at

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