WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Five teams have been selected as finalists for Friday's (March 25) Nanotechnology New Ventures Competition, an inaugural business plan competition led by Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame with prizes totaling $57,000.
Presenting teams are MagnAgents, MoleThermo and Tymora Analytical, which are affiliated with Purdue, and Laser Spectroscopy and Citrics Biomedical, which have strong ties to Notre Dame.
Events will commence at 10 a.m. with a research fair and poster session in the Birck Nanotechnology Center Atrium at Discovery Park. The program will shift to the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at 11 a.m. for a feature presentation and luncheon. The competition is from 1-4 p.m. in the Burton Morgan Center, Room 121.
"This competition is fostering research in the nanotechnology arena, moving from the laboratory as intellectual property into the marketplace," said event co-organizer Richard Cosier, the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. "We are helping Indiana and the nation in advancing research and creating high-tech jobs in companies that tap into a nanotechnology industry projected to reach $4.4 billion annually by 2014."
A $30,000 top prize will go to the best business venture idea, $15,000 for second place, $10,000 for third place, and $1,000 each for the fourth- and fifth-place finishers. The public is invited to watch the competition presentations.
"This inaugural competition provides a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs working in a cutting-edge technology field to draw on the deep expertise of business experts in developing a viable business plan," said Carolyn Y. Woo, the Martin J. Gillen Dean of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.
To compete, contestants must be affiliated with the state of Indiana through a public or private university/college, or another state-supported agency/organization. A look at the five teams, selected by judges and their business focus:
* MagnAgents: Led by Hamsa Jaganathan, who is pursuing her doctorate in biomedical engineering at Purdue, this company is developing imaging agents made from gold and iron oxide nanoparticles on DNA scaffolds to improve magnetic resonance imaging.
* MoleThermo: Led by Purdue assistant professor of chemical engineering Yue Wu, this company is developing a technology for large-scale production of molecular wires of chalcogenides and complex metal oxides. These would be used to manufacture advanced thermoelectric generators and solid-state cooling systems for automobile and industrial applications.
* Tymora Analytical: Represented by Purdue research assistant Anton Iliuk, this Purdue Research Park company is advancing two nanopolymer-based lead products, PolyMAC and pIMAGO, that are designed to combat the onset of numerous diseases, most notably cancer.
* Laser Spectroscopy: Led by Notre Dame physics professor Steven Ruggiero, this company is creating a platform for characterizing nanoparticles and pathogens, which would have environmental applications in invasive species detection as well as monitoring geometrical characteristics of proteins, and for performing medical diagnostics.
* Citrics Biomedical: Led by Notre Dame finance graduate A.J. Noronha, the company has developed a biocompatible, bioresorbable nanocomposite technology that can be used as a bone substitute. It also facilitates hard-tissue regeneration and targeted drug delivery.
Two leading nanotechnology industry experts and Indiana's top economic development officer will speak in connection with the Nanotechnology New Ventures Competition.
Sean Murdock, executive chairman of NanoBusiness Alliance, will deliver the keynote address during the awards reception and dinner beginning at 6 p.m. Friday (March 25) in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship's Venture Café.
Jeffrey Welser, director of the Semiconductor Research Corp.'s Nanoelectronics Research Initiative, will give a presentation, "Nanoelectronics Challenges for the Next Decade," at 11 a.m. in the Burton D. Morgan Center, Room 121. E. Mitchell Roob Jr., chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, will speak at the noon luncheon in the Venture Café.
Joining Purdue and Notre Dame as competition organizers are the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the state of Indiana's Midwest Institute of Nanoelectronics Discovery, an initiative known as MIND that was launched in March 2008.
Attendees of the Nanotechnology New Ventures Competition also will be able to tour Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center, a facility in Discovery Park that opened to researchers in 2004. In fiscal year 2009, Purdue ranked No. 1 among all U.S. universities in the number of nanotechnology science and engineering research grants from the federal government and second in the dollar amount of such grants.