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Home > Press > Purdue Companies Seeking Venture Capital in Silicon Valley

Abstract:
Three companies created from research at Purdue University are in California this week to make formal pitches for venture capital funding. M4 Sciences Corp., MatrixBio LLC and BioVitesse Inc. are headquartered at Discovery Park. The companies were chosen earlier this year to make the trip to California with sponsorship from Lonergan Partners.

Purdue Companies Seeking Venture Capital in Silicon Valley

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN | Posted on May 15th, 2007

Three Indiana companies formed from research developed at Purdue University will make formal pitches for funding from Silicon Valley venture capital firms in California this week (May 14-21).

M4 Sciences Corp., MatrixBio LLC and BioVitesse Inc. were selected in March by camp sponsor Lonergan Partners after the Fundraising Boot Camp at Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Lonergan Partners financed transportation and other arrangements for representatives from M4 Sciences, MatrixBio and BioVitesse. Purdue's Jeffrey Vitter, the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science at Purdue, will deliver the keynote address during a dinner for nearly 100 people Monday night (May 14) in Menlo Park, Calif.

"I have loved developing the science of early disease detection and now, because of the value Discovery Park can provide through these entrepreneurship programs, we can better position ourselves to take our research to the marketplace," said MatrixBio founder Dan Raftery, a Purdue professor of analytical and physical chemistry and researcher at the Bindley Bioscience Center. "Discovery Park has helped make connections that can make a significant difference for MatrixBio."

Purdue faculty members and researchers initially attended a two-day session in October and then worked with experienced investors and entrepreneurs who had served as coaches to help improve their presentations and business plans. The coaching focused on the value of intellectual property, management issues, market assessment, due diligence, reasonable equity expectations and selling the company to a larger firm.

"A primary mission for Discovery Park is to accelerate the pace of introducing Purdue's interdisciplinary research to the commercial market where it can directly benefit our world," said Julie Goonewardene, associate director of technology commercialization for Discovery Park and the Burton Morgan Center. "Through these meetings in Silicon Valley, we can literally put a price tag on the value we can deliver to our faculty and researchers."

BioVitesse, which has locations at the Purdue Research Park and San Jose, Calif., demonstrated its product's potential at the BIO 2007 international conference in Boston this month. The company is developing in-line monitoring systems that are enabled by a biochip sensor to rapidly detect live bacteria electrically instead of optically.

The shortened detection and identification process is critical to the biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical companies. The product also has application in the food-safety markets, where it can improve product quality and supply by reducing recalls, BioVitesse officials said.

The company was founded by Laila Razouk, chief executive officer; Rashid Bashir, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and a Birck Nanotechnology Center researcher; and Michael Ladisch, a distinguished professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

"This is an excellent opportunity to leverage Purdue's commitment to research and to helping companies in their effort of fundraising," Razouk said. "BioVitesse is working closely with its customers and preparing its system for beta testing. As a result, the timing for this effort is perfect for us to get the necessary funding to grow our businesses and to start volume manufacturing in Indiana."

MatrixBio, which won a total of $11,000 in prize money and in-kind services as runner-up to M4 Sciences at the entrepreneurship competition, is focused on creating metabolite-profiling technology for early cancer diagnosis.

Raftery on April 13 also won $1,000 for his first-place finish in the faculty division for a two-minute presentation on MatrixBio at Purdue University's Elevator Pitch Competition, sponsored by Otis Elevator Co., Bose McKinney and Evans LLP, and the Certificate Program within Discovery Park's Burton Morgan Center.

M4 Sciences was launched in February 2006 at the Purdue Research Park from Discovery Park research. The company won the top $30,000 prize in the Gold Division of the Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurship Competition on Feb. 22. M4 Sciences also received $5,000 of in-kind services from Ice Miller, a legal and business services firm based in Indianapolis, and $5,000 from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

The company, founded by James Mann and Brian Gootee, James Mannhas developed a high-performance device that can be added to ultra-precision machine tools. The device enables a new technology, called "modulation-assisted machining," which utilizes vibration in the machining process, and the company is already using the device for production of nanostructured materials.

Discovery Park is Purdue's $350 million hub for interdisciplinary research and is home to 10 primary centers focusing on everything from biosciences and manufacturing to oncological sciences and health-care engineering.

The Burton D. Morgan Center, which was named a Kauffman Campus after receiving a $1.5 million grant from the Kauffman Foundation in December, is a platform to launch technology-based enterprises based on Purdue research. The Discovery Park center also helps faculty, students and Indiana entrepreneurs better understand how to bring research and technology to market.

####

About Purdue University
Discovery Park enhances interdisciplinary research in primary areas of study represented by the following Centers: Birck Nanotechnology Center, Bindley Bioscience Center, Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Center for the Environment, Cyber Center, Discovery Learning Center, e-Enterprise Center, Energy Center, and Oncological Sciences Center. Collaboration of faculty across research disciplines enhances their efforts and provides students with substantial experience with working in teams. A tenth center, Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, integrates management research and educational efforts to develop a greater spirit of entrepreneurship among Purdue faculty and students. The initial funding of Discovery Park by Lilly Endowment allows Purdue faculty to attract financial support from other sources so that the impact is much greater not only in Indiana but throughout the world.

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