April 21, 2005
QuadraSpec first Hoosier company to win life sciences biz plan contest
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. QuadraSpec took first place and won $80,000 in cash and business services in the third annual Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition on Wednesday (April 20) in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.
QuadraSpec claimed a cash prize of $50,000, an additional $20,000 as the top Indiana entry and $10,000 in legal, consulting and accounting services.
The Purdue Research Park company, using technology developed by two Purdue professors, measures protein interactions using a "BioCD system" that scans biological samples and tests for unique molecules that enable the inexpensive diagnosis of diseases. The BioCD technology was invented by physics professor David Nolte and Fred Regnier, distinguished professor of chemistry.
Logan Jordan, Krannert School of Management associate dean and a competition judge, said, "It was a very close call at the top, but having a working prototype gave QuadraSpec the nod over the second- and third-place teams," he said. "They also have a good CEO with business startup and corporate experience and a technology that seemed to have a defensible and unique intellectual-property position."
Chad Barden, president and CEO of QuadraSpec, said he couldn't be happier with the result.
"We're just blown away," he said. "It's a great win for us."
QuadraSpec also won this year's Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition and the Lilly Endowment-sponsored Opportunity for Indiana Business Plan Competition.
The six other finalist teams, their university affiliations, technology and winnings were:
Second place: Claros Diagnostic, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., which has a business plan to produce an inexpensive, portable and easy-to-use system for performing blood tests to detect substances by using reactive antibodies. Claros won $20,000 in cash and $8,000 in legal, consulting and accounting services.
Third place: Renal Diagnostics, Johns Hopkins University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., which is developing a diagnostic device to enable the early detection of acute renal (kidney) failure by performing real-time urinalysis. Renal Diagnostics won $15,000 cash and $6,000 in legal, consulting and accounting services.
Fourth place: Omni Spray, an operating unit formed within Inproteo, a consortium of Purdue, Indiana University and Eli Lilly and Co., which has a patented technology that makes samples available for mass spectrometer analysis. Omni Spray won $7,500 in cash.
Fifth place: Pathfinder Therapeutics Inc., Vanderbilt and Washington (St. Louis) universities, Nashville, Tenn., which has developed a prototype of a device that maps the surgical space of liver surgery so surgeons can locate, remove or dissolve tumors without using traditional surgery. Pathfinder Therapeutics won $5,000 in cash.
Sixth place: BioNano Systems, Columbia University, New York, which has established proof-of-concept for technology that has the potential to detect in real time biological proteins; bioweapons, such as anthrax; and small molecules, such as TNT. BioNano Systems won $4,000 in cash.
Seventh place: Anesthesia Safety Products Inc., affiliated with various Massachusetts health-care facilities, Cambridge, Mass., which has technology that prevents the accidental and often fatal introduction of air into intravenous devices. Anesthesia Safety Products won $1,500 in cash.
"We had the best startup life sciences and biotech companies in the nation today," said Don Blewett, associate director of Purdue's Burton Morgan Center. "What's changed since we started the competition was the superior quality of the presentations today. They were well thought-out to the point that even when the judges asked the presenters challenging questions, the entrants said, 'Yes, we thought of that and ... '
"It's real easy to make great presentations if you've got a strong grasp of both the technology and a vision as to how you're going to commercialize it. This contest serves as a benchmark for our researchers at Purdue because it attracts the best we can find in the startup biotechnology area. We saw the national quality that our researchers and principal investigators are being judged against."
The competition's lead sponsors are Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and Roche Diagnostics, located in Indianapolis, which contributed $100,000 in prize money. BioCrossroads and the Indiana Health Industry Forum contributed the $20,000 prize to the top Indiana finisher.
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. Ernst & Young, the international accounting and business services firm with an office in Indianapolis, contributed $12,000 in services to the top three finishers.
QuadraSpec will receive its special Indiana award on April 28 at the 2005 Indiana Health Industry Forum Conference and Innovation Showcase in Indianapolis.
Each of the seven teams had 45 minutes to present its business plan 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 20 teams submitting 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 choose the finalists.
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 center is one of six major facilities to be completed in the $100 million Discovery Park complex, which includes the Birck Nanotechnology Center, the Bindley Bioscience Center, an e-Enterprise center, a biomedical engineering building and the Discovery Learning Center. Roche Diagnostics was the first corporate partner of Discovery Park.
Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Logan Jordan, (765) 494-4370, Jordan@purdue.edu
Don Blewett, (765) 494-4485, email@example.com
Chad Barden, (765) 775-1026, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; email@example.com
A publication-quality photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2005/lifesciencecomp-05.jpg
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