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The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

Faculty from IUPUI, Purdue starts research company, receives patent

YC Bioelectric, a start-up biomedical research company by Purdue University and IU-Purdue University Indianapolis, will receive funding through a 12-month period from the National Institutes of Health, according to an April 14 IU press release.

YC Bioelectric is a privately-owned biomedical research company, and was just awarded $307,787 of funding for its Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer proposal, “Multi-Blot Western Device,” according to the release.

The co-founders of YC Bioelectric are Stanley Chien and Hioki Yokota, both faculty at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. They started YC Bioelectric through the Indiana University Research & Technology Corporation’s Spin Up Program.

Chien and Yokota’s work will greatly improve the speed and accuracy of Western blot, a technique widely used in molecular biology labs, according to the release.

Western blot can help diagnose chronic infection with HIV, according to MedlinePlus, a U.S. National Library of Medicine service.

Currently, it is often paired with the HIV ELISA test, which is commonly used to detect antibodies in the blood: the second detector of HIV, according to the MedlinePlus website. 

“This is a great story about scientists, an electrical engineer and biomedical engineer, collaborating across disciplines to solve a real-world problem,” said Joe Trebley, head of IURTC’s Spin Up Program, in the release.

An IUPUI granting mechanism, Funding Opportunities for Research Commercialization and Economic Success, originally funded Chien and Yokota’s work. They used those funds to develop and build a prototype device, according to the release.

“We are delighted that the internal grant program played a key role in enabling these researchers to transform their research findings into commercially viable outcomes,” said Kody Varahramyan, IUPUI vice chancellor for research, in the release.

YC Bioelectric filed for an exclusive option to intellectual property through the IURTC in June 2012, and in February 2014, it received a notice of allowance on its lead patent US 13/282,030, according to the release.

“With funding from the NIH and the allowed patent, YC Bioelectric has a lot of momentum right now,” Yokota said.

YC Bioelectric will develop versions of its prototype through the next 12 months, which other researchers can test in their labs. As soon as the prototype is validated in external labs, they will seek more financing from investors and through NIH’s Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer.

“There is a lot of potential here,” Chien said in the release, “and we are very thankful to IUPUI, IURTC and the NIH for the support they have provided.”

Kathrine Schulze

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