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Iris AO Wins Purdue Life Sciences Biz Plan Competition, Eyes Future

West Lafayette, Indiana – April 24, 2003:   Iris AO, an adaptive optics startup company formed by principals from the University of Rochester (New York) and the University of California at Berkeley, has won the $50,000 first prize in the inaugural Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition.
  Iris AO, using the same optical technology as the Hubble telescope, has developed an application called SmartMirror, which allows early detection of eye diseases and has the potential to correct vision to 20/10. In addition to the first prize, Iris AO won $10,000 in legal and business services.

Matthew Campbell, chief operating officer of Iris AO, ended his presentation to the 10-judge panel by saying: "Our goal is to build our reputation as a world-class optical company. We're at the stage where we have some customers, and we'd like to go out and hire more people. The prize money will help us do that."

Iris AO's offices are in Berkeley, Calif.

Second place went to Medical Reporting Solutions, from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. The company has developed automatic speech-recognition technology for medical
Atlas of Laser Scanning Ophthalmoscopy, Scheuerle
technology databases. Medical Reporting Solutions won the $20,000 second prize plus another $20,000 for being the top Indiana entry. The team also won $8,000 in legal and business services.
Other winners in the $147,000 competition were:
Iris AO Presentation Matthew Campbell, chief operating officer of Iris AO, makes the winning presentation.

Purdue University photo: John Underwood
•   NanoString Technologies, from the University of Washington in Seattle, took third place and won $15,000 plus $6,000 in legal and business services.
•   Hypogen, from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, placed fourth and won $7,500.
•   Iterative Therapeutics, from the University of Chicago, placed fifth and won $5,000.
•   Monocle Technologies, from Purdue, placed sixth and won $2,500.
•   VersaChrome and BioVitesse, both from Purdue, won $1,500 each.
Each of the eight finalists, chosen from among 46 entries nationwide, had 20 minutes to present their business plans for bringing their products to market to a judging panel made up of venture capitalists, health industry professionals, academics and industry service providers. Then the teams fielded 25 minutes of questions from the judges. The competition took place at the Purdue Memorial Union.

Don Blewett, associate director of Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, said, "The eight finalists all made strong, absolutely top-notch presentations."

The center and Roche Diagnostics Corp., located in Indianapolis, were the competition's lead sponsors. Roche contributed $100,000 in prize money.

Richard A. Cosier, Krannert School of Management dean and director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, gave credit to the sponsors and looked to the future of the competition.

"Our sponsors' generosity has moved this event to the top level of business plan competition prize money," Cosier said. "The Indiana Health Industry Forum-CICP prize for the best plan by an Indiana-based team, together with Roche's lead sponsorship, shows that the public and private sectors are pulling together to build upon our strong foundation of life sciences here in Indiana."

Cosier said that in addition to making the Purdue Life Sciences Business Plan Competition an annual event on campus, there are discussions about holding competitions off campus.
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