ChE startup Spirrow Therapeutics wins Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund Black Award
Spirrow Therapeutics, co-founded by Davidson School of Chemical Engineering Professor You-Yeon Won, PhD graduate Dr. Kyle Kim, and undergraduate alumnus Davis Arick, will receive $20,000 from the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund for research to develop a novel treatment for a life-threatening lung condition known as acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS.
The Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund is a joint venture between the Purdue Foundry, a Purdue-based startup accelerator, and Elevate Ventures, a private venture development organization that supports the development and success of entrepreneurs across Indiana. Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund provides money for Purdue-affiliated startups with pre-seed, seed and early-stage investment and co-investment programs. Since the program’s beginning in 2014, the fund has committed to invest $2.66 million in 72 companies. The funding will give Spirrow Therapeutics a Black Award Status, making the company eligible for a Gold Award investment in the future.
“Currently, there are no existing treatments for ARDS on the market,” explains Won. “Described by sufferers as ‘drowning from within,’ ARDS causes deactivation of the lungs’ natural surfactant, collapsing the alveoli.” The result is impaired blood oxygenation and multi-organ failure. With a lack of diagnostic tools and treatments that are limited to simply sustaining the patient, ARDS mortality remains at around 40%.
Spirrow Therapeutics aims to commercialize their biocompatible Polymer Lung Surfactants, which can safely mimic the behavior of natural lung surfactant without being susceptible to the deactivation mechanisms introduced by ARDS. Polymer Lung Surfactants work by replacing the impaired natural lung surfactant in the deep lungs. They restore and maintain alveolar structure, allowing adequate blood oxygenation to resume while also reducing the mechanically induced damage that inherently results from ventilator-assisted breathing.
“As a sophomore in college, I had the privilege of getting involved with this research when this technology was in its early infancy, so I’ve had the opportunity to watch what was once just an idea grow into something tangible that could one day save thousands of lives,” Arick says. “That has made being a cofounder of Spirrow a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. The funding we will receive from Elevate Purdue Foundry will be critical to furthering the commercialization of our technology and we intend to use it to nationalize our patents globally so that Spirrow’s impact can extend far beyond US borders.”
Arick was selected by Chemical Engineering faculty as the 2018 Undergraduate Research Award recipient. Kim is a recent PhD from Won’s laboratory, and has published nine papers with more in the pipeline on his Polymer Lung Surfactants research.
Learn more about Spirrow Therapeutics at http://www.spirrowtherapeutics.com/
Learn more about Dr. You-Yeon Won at https://engineering.purdue.edu/ChE/people/ptProfile?resource_id=11263
Read the Purdue Research Foundation news release announcing funding awarded to seven Purdue University startups at https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2018/Q4/seven-purdue-affiliated-startups-receive-investments-totaling-200,000-from-elevate-purdue-foundry-fund.html
Source: Davis Arick, email@example.com, 317-750-8879
Source: You-Yeon Won, firstname.lastname@example.org, 765-494-4077
Writer: Jennifer Merzdorf, email@example.com, 765-496-8779