By Chris Adam, Purdue Research Foundation Writer/Publicist
The Purdue Research Foundation joins with Purdue throughout the year to support innovators in advancing their technologies and moving them to people in need.
The Trask Innovation Fund is one example of that support. It is a development program established to support projects that advance the commercial value of Purdue intellectual property.
The fund makes awards twice a year to aid faculty and staff with their patented innovations that are being commercialized through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.
We talked with a recent winner of Trask funding, Yoon Yeo, who received support for technology related to a new drug formulation for cancer immunotherapy.
What is your technology?
We received the funding for new nanocrystal technology for anticancer drugs. Our technology makes it possible to maintain the stability of a drug so that it does not degrade so quickly in the blood.
What’s it like for you to receive Trask funding?
Some technologies are close to ready for commercialization but there are not many funding opportunities to close the gap between technology development and commercialization. Trask funding is a really very essential bridge between the technologies that have good potential for commercialization but not quite ready for federal funding that requires a large set of preclinical data.
Trask funding is extremely useful funding so that we can do a number of experiments before we appeal to the federal agencies that support commercialization projects.
It is very competitive. The money to support life sciences is very helpful.
What does it mean to receive support like this?
I have submitted many disclosure forms with the Purdue Research Foundation. If you are not commercializing your technologies, you really are not making an impact to the public. Trask funding is really a conduit to making a bigger impact of our research and having a more direct impact on the lives of patients.
Trask funding is really the enabler of that translation.
What would you say to other inventors?
For applicants, this is competitive. Purdue is one of the inventor schools. Because of that, this is very competitive funding. It may take multiple failures.
My message to donors or those who decide funding is to please understand life science technologies take time. Translation may take longer, but the reward will be great.
Yoon Yeo is a professor of industrial and physical pharmacy and biomedical engineering at Purdue. She serves as associate department head. Her lab is interested in drug delivery technologies of anticancer drugs with a focus on cancer immunotherapy.