Purdue's Emerging Innovations Fund invests in life-science company

Published: July 25, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Officials of a fund created to help commercialize new technologies announced a $150,000 investment in a life-science startup based in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette.

Bioscience Vaccines Inc. will receive the finances from the Emerging Innovations Fund. The fund was established in 2008 as a partnership between the Purdue Research Foundation and Purdue University to fast-track the development of new technologies being discovered at the university.

"This Emerging Innovations Fund round of financing was very competitive, with 10 applicants from the sectors of nanotechnology, food science, medical devices, advanced materials and pharmaceuticals," said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of the Purdue Research Foundation. "The applicants were narrowed to five that were presented to the fund's advisory board, which recommended the investment in Bioscience Vaccines."

In February 2010, Bioscience Vaccines received a $400,000 investment from BioCrossroads, an Indianapolis-based organization that works to advance life sciences in Indiana. The organization manages the $6 million Indiana Seed Fund, a private investment fund designed to provide critical pre-venture investment capital for life-science startups.

"Bioscience Vaccines is a great example of a life-science company that has taken a successful technology and discovered another important use for it," said David Johnson, BioCrossroads president. "In this case, the company is developing a wound technology that was developed at Purdue and commercialized by Cook Biotech and is now being used by Bioscience Vaccines to improve the performance of vaccines."

Bioscience Vaccines' technology is administered for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and cancers. The base technology for the Matrix Immune Modulator (MIM) product has been commercialized by Cook Biotech and used in approximately 2 million patients worldwide.

Amy Overby, vice president of business development and operations at Bioscience Vaccines, said the MIM technology will lower the necessary amount of vaccine needed per dose.

"MIM boosts the immune response to vaccines, consequently decreasing the required amount of antigen present in each vaccination," she said. "The end results are an increase in the availability of vaccines and a decrease in the production cost of each vaccine. Our MIM technology will help deliver better, more cost-effective health care to a global market."

Bioscience Vaccines was established in 2009 by an experienced team that includes Anthony Hubbard, acting president and CFO; Overby; Rae Record Ritchie, vice president of research; and Mark Suckow, chief scientific officer. Suckow, the director of the Freimann Life Science Center at the University of Notre Dame, also is an adjunct associate professor of laboratory animal medicine in Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine.

Overby described how the Emerging Innovations Fund and the BioCrossroads investments will benefit Bioscience Vaccines.

"The investments will provide bridge funding for my colleagues and I to accelerate our ability to achieve product development and business milestones," she said. "They will ensure the continued commercial development of the MIM technology and the continued success of Bioscience Vaccines."

Investment from the Emerging Innovations Fund is tied to successful completion of agreed upon milestones and is in the range of $20,000-$200,000. Purdue faculty, staff, students and Purdue Research Park-based companies are eligible to apply for funding, including all Indiana incubators and satellite campuses. Funds distributed through the Emerging Innovations Fund are made on a competitive basis. The fund is designed to be financially self-sustaining by making investments as a loan with equity participation.

In September 2009, the Emerging Innovations Fund investment went to Matrix-Bio, another Purdue Research Park-based life-science company.

About Bioscience Vaccines Inc.

Bioscience Vaccines Inc. is a life-science company with proprietary adjuvant technology referred to as Matrix Immune Modulator and is based in the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Ind. The company's products originated in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Suckow of the University of Notre Dame and are based on a technology discovered at Purdue University. The company's technology has the potential to be formulated as a companion product with vaccine products already approved and marketed for use by the FDA for the prevention of specific human and animal diseases.

About the Emerging Innovations Fund

In 2008 Purdue Research Foundation introduced the Emerging Innovations Fund, an integrated approach to research innovation, development and commercialization. The Emerging Innovations Fund is a self-sustaining initiative that brings together ideas, management and money to accelerate the commercialization of early-stage technologies in the Purdue community.

About Purdue Research Foundation

Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. The foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds research, scholarships and grants; acquires property; and negotiates research contracts on behalf of Purdue. In the 1990s, the foundation was charged with helping the university in the realm of economic development. The Purdue Research Foundation oversees the Purdue Research Park, which is the largest university-affiliated business incubator in the country. In addition to the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, the foundation has established technology parks in other locations around Indiana including Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany.

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org

Sources: Amy Overby, 765-464-5890, aoverby@biosciencevaccines.com
Joseph B. Hornett, 765-588-1039, jbhornett@prf.org