Cook Biotech, established in 1995 and now an impressive
presence in the Purdue Research Park, was once in a similar
situation to that of Purdue entrepreneurs today.
“We were very much a young startup,” Mark Bleyer, the
company president, said. “Two young people who had just
received their PhDs from Purdue were given the opportunity
to contribute to medical discoveries, taking the technology
and turning it into commercial medical products.”
Those two men remain leaders at Cook Biotech today.
Mike Hiles (BSEE ’87, MSEE ’89, PhD Veterinary Physiology
and Pharmacology ’92), is the vice president of research
and chief scientific officer. Umesh Patel (BSIDE ‘86, MSEE
‘88, PhD IE ‘95) is the vice president of product development and engineering.
One of the results of this entrepreneurial partnership is
Cook Biotech’s small intestinal submucosa (SIS) technology,
a strong, pliable tissue taken from porcine intestine that
provides a scaffold for host cells to repair and reinforce
damaged tissue. The company’s tissue-engineered medical
products have been used worldwide in more than 1. 5 million
surgical repairs. Product applications include hernia and
fistula repair and wound management.
Deciding to partner with Purdue to establish an investment
fund for other startups was natural, said Bleyer.
“We at Cook have had a very long and good relationship
with Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation. It
started long before the SIS technology,” Bleyer said. “The SIS
technology only strengthened that relationship. We wanted
to join with Purdue and encourage other companies to join
as well. In essence, we are paying it for ward.”
NO STRANGERS TO ENTREPRENEURISM
Mark Bleyer, president, Cook Biotech