WEST LAFAYETTE - The Purdue Ag-celerator has awarded a total of $100,000 to two Purdue University agriculture-based startups. The recipients, Akanocure Pharmaceutical Inc. and VinSense LLC, were chosen from among seven finalists to receive the funding as part of the spring semester Ag-celerator Demo Day.

Akanocure Pharmaceuticals was co-founded by Philip Fuchs a professor of organic chemistry at Purdue. The startup is working to commercialize a platform allowing them to synthesize crop protection agents such as fungicides and herbicides, says it plans to use the award to attract potential partners in the agrochemical space.

"We’ve recently formed Akanocure Chemicals, a subsidiary of Akanocure Pharmaceuticals, to use our chemistry to benefit different industries, including agriculture," said Sherine Abdelmawla, co-founder and chief executive officer of Akanocure. "Using this platform we plan to make the synthesis of different inaccessible crop protection agents feasible. This is a new addition and an expansion of our company, and winning the Ag-celerator award, along with the positive comments from the judges have validated that we are on the right track."

VinSense was co-founded by David Ebert, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Christian Butzke, professor of enology. Purdue says the company is developing a software platform to help grape growers and winemakers optimize the quality and yields in their vineyards.

"The funding will enable VinSense to expand our advanced analytics and provide even more useful information to perennial crop growers, as well as accelerate our deployment and penetration in the marketplace," said Ebert. "This strategic investment truly reflects the future of Purdue’s land-grant mission, moving Purdue discoveries to the marketplace, where they can improve people’s lives."

The $2 million Purdue Ag-celerator is operated by Purdue Ventures and is designed to assist those wishing to commercialize patented Purdue technologies in plant sciences. In January, the ag-celerator awarded $100,000 to Phicrobe LLC and Hydro Grow LLC.