Pharma tech startup makes commercial launch
Dr. Meena Narsimhan of Novilytic examines the Proteometer-L in the company’s labs in West Lafayette. (photo courtesy: Novilytic)
The Proteometer-L kit from Novilytic helps drug manufacturers test for contaminants in the development of pharmaceuticals. (photo courtesy: Novilytic)
Paul Dreier is CEO of West Lafayette-based pharma-technology company Novilytic. (photo provided)
West Lafayette-based pharma-technology startup Novilytic LLC has made its commercial product launch and announced plans to expand to a second location in the Indianapolis area, while also growing its staff. The young company developed technology that provides pharmaceutical companies with a real-time alert if a batch of drugs under development is contaminated. The company says the Proteometer-L can save drugmakers millions of dollars by detecting a problem early.
“The heaviest cost of manufacturing pharmaceuticals is the purification steps. They’re spending 40% to 60% [of drug development costs] just to purify the drugs to make sure they’re safe for us to take,” said Novilytic CEO Paul Dreier in an interview with Inside Indiana Business. “If they’re in a batch costing $20 million to manufacture, if we can cut even 10% of that down, we’re saving them millions of dollars per batch of drugs.”
The product launch comes on the heels of the company securing $1.6 million in a seed funding round last summer and successful pilot programs with large instrument manufacturers and contract development and manufacturing organizations. Dreier says development of the device was made possible due to a $1.6 million funding round with multiple investors, including the Purdue Research Foundation.
“Novilytic’s technology represents a major disrupter in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. It could lead to enhanced FDA compliance in a day and age where transparency and accuracy are paramount,” said Riley Gibb, associate director of Purdue Ventures.
Dreier says the Novilytic system performs analyses of medicinal antibody batches roughly every 10 minutes. In traditional medicinal batch testing, it might take a drugmaker several hours to see if the fermenter is doing its job.
“This quick analysis saves up to six-plus hours a day and over $1 million per batch, increasing both profits and FDA compliance,” said Fred Regnier, Novilytic chief technology officer and emeritus professor of chemistry at Purdue University. “The Proteometer kit is designed as a ‘plug and play’ consumable, ensuring easy adoption in almost all of the more than 250,000 instruments currently used in the pharmaceutical industry.”
LISTEN: Dreier explains the potential cost savings for drugmakers by using the Novilytic technology.
Novilytic made its commercial launch while Dreier was taking part in panel discussions with industry leaders at a national pharmaceutical conference in San Diego.
“When you’re sitting up on a panel with bigwigs from Lilly, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer, it’s almost overwhelming. It’s just amazing to be right in the middle of that, as a small company coming from Indiana,” said Dreier.
He says the small company from Indiana is not limiting itself to just one launch this year. Dreier says a total of four products should be introduced in 2023.
“The first one is focused on human applications. The second one will be specifically the animal version of that. And we’re in pilot testing right now for it. We’re finding that especially in the equine and the bovine portions where the biggest problem is right now. It works equally as well as the as the one that we’re launching today. And we’ve had success with so we’re very optimistic on that.”
Novilytic is planning a large-scale expansion to meet anticipated demand, including doubling staff to 20 by the end of the year. Dreier says the growth would include expansion of its West Lafayette laboratory and open a satellite office in Indianapolis that would focus on product management, marketing and sales.
The company hopes to have the bigger geographic footprint by the end of summer.