Nanoparticle BioChem, Inc. – Columbia

Teamwork is the by-word at Nanoparticle BioChem, Inc.

Anandhi Upendran tells about capitalizing on advice from the MU business development team (1 min.).

Nanoparticle BioChem, Inc., the Columbia, Mo., technology firm — founded in 2004 by an interdisciplinary team of chemists, physicists and radiologists — focuses on research and production of an array of nanoparticle-based products. The current NBI team and co-founders are Kattesh V. Katti, Raghuraman Kannan, Kavita K. Katti, Anandhi Upendran and Henry W. White (chair).

Five Officers of Nanoparticle BioChem Inc.

Officers of Nanoparticle BioChem Inc. (left to right): Raghuraman Kannan, Anandhi Upendran,Henry W. White, Kavita Katti and Kattesh V. Katti.

“Nanotechnology has spread its branches in a variety of applications,” says Upendran. “NBI has focused its nanotechnology research and product development in the fields of medicine, health and hygiene.”

Products developed by the research team at NBI are of high commercial value, says Upendran. The company’s nanomedicine research concentrates on developing products for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Its antimicrobial research focuses on a series of antimicrobial agents with important applications for the production of antimicrobial textiles for the defense, health, hospitality and hygiene industries.

NBI has demonstrated the potential to deliver innovative products that are ready for market, according to Paul Rehrig, technology and commercialization specialist at the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center in Columbia.

Upendran synthesizes gold and silver nanoparticles in NBI's laboratory in Columbia.

Upendran synthesizes gold and silver nanoparticles in NBI’s laboratory in Columbia.

“Nanotechnology BioChem has provided a variety of beneficial applications to society because they have built a team of experts to research and develop new products for nanomedicine applications,” says Rehrig. “Additionally, by adopting a continual improvement mindset and a proactive attitude, we believe that Nanoparticle BioChem has a good chance of success in commercializing its technology.”

Rehrig has a unique perspective on which to base his assessment. He is a member of a team of small business development specialists from the University of Missouri that has helped guide NBI’s business development.

“One hurdle often encountered by researchers reaching out to create a new technology-based venture is realizing that they might not know all of the answers, and filling in gaps in their team and strategy when needed,” Rehrig observes. “Nanoparticle BioChem has interacted with a number of our business development programs to get over this hurdle.”

NBI’s initial contact with MU’s SBTDC occurred when Upendran enrolled in a FastTrac NewVenture class taught by business specialist Virginia Wilson. Among other fundamental concepts, Upendran learned to write a business plan for NBI. After reading the plan, Wilson encouraged the NBI researcher to talk with Rehrig.

“Paul has helped us in many ways,” says Upendran. “He has provided details about research funding opportunities available through private, state and federal agencies. He also reviewed our research grant proposals and gave us feedback about presenting them in a proper format to the agencies.”

Kavita Katti weighs the precursors for nanoparticle synthesis in a balance at the lab.

Kavita Katti weighs the precursors for nanoparticle synthesis in a balance at the lab.

These grant application efforts have yielded several successes including two Small Business Innovation Research Phase I awards from the National Institutes of Health for $100,000 and $150,000 respectively. Also, NBI has used seed money from a $5,000 Missouri Technology Incentive Program grant to develop additional SBIR applications via NIH and the Environmental Protection Agency.

In addition to working with Wilson and Rehrig, the NBI team also has sought advice from Jim Gann, MO SBTDC specialist, and Bill Stuby, a specialist with the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers. Upendran learned about developing presentations for private angel investors during a class taught by Gann. Stuby has provided valuable information to NBI on government contracting opportunities for the firm’s antimicrobial textiles.

So, the MU business development team of SBTDC and PTAC specialists has proved to be a valuable resource for the research team at Nanoparticle BioChem.

“I know I can knock on their doors anytime and they volunteer to help in any way they can,” says Upendran. “We truly appreciate their help. I’m happy this kind of service exists on the MU campus.”

Additional comments from NBI’s founders:

Nanoparticle BioChem, Inc. took form in 2004 as a spin-off company of the University of Missouri with several licensed technologies based on the groundbreaking discoveries of Dr. Kattesh V. Katti, Dr. Raghuraman Kannan and Kavita K. Katti in the fields of nanoscience and nanomedicine. NBI has the right combination of personnel with corporate and scientific experience, according to Dr. Henry White, president and CEO of the company.

“Nanoparticulate technologies being developed within NBI are poised toward the advancement of cancer imaging and therapy agents, with market potential exceeding a billion dollars per year,” says Dr. Kattesh V. Katti, MU curator’s professor of radiology and physics and senior vice president of NBI.

Dr. Raghuraman Kannan, MU assistant professor of radiology and vice president of NBI says: “The availability of a vast state-of-the-art research and product development infrastructure at MU provides a strong synergy for mutual advancement of NBI and the University of Missouri’s entrepreneurial enterprise.”

“This group is a great one with which to work, and I am delighted to assist Dr. Katti, Dr. Kannan, Dr. Anandhi Upendran and Kavita Katti in their product development and commercialization efforts,” says NBI CEO White, a former chair of MU’s physics and astronomy department. “It is absolutely critical that individuals, such as Dr. Kannan, and Dr. Katti and other faculty, are able to consult and lend their expertise to spin-off companies such as NBI for both the generation of new technologies that benefit society and the creation of high technology jobs that benefit our economy. This participation is clearly a need of our changing times. The role played by MO SBTDC counselors has been critically important to our success. Their expertise and assistance have provided new opportunities for funding, and for job creation.”

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