Make your home page

Purdue startup readies novel glue for the marketplace

A Purdue researcher developed a non-toxic adhesive that mimics a naturally occurring glue from mussels. (photo provided)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Purdue University scientist has developed a form of glue that mimics the goo on marine creatures that allows them to stick to objects underwater. Now, the adhesive technology is attracting investors.

It’s is called polycatechol-styrene, which is similar to the naturally forming glue exuded by mussels.

Jonathan Wilker, a professor of chemistry and materials engineering, developed the PCS adhesive with students in his laboratory.

“We have been studying sea creatures, how they stick and designing synthetic mimics of these materials,” said Wilker.

Wilker studied the chemical structure of the proteins being produced by the mussels and found a way to synthetically make a similar structure.

The technology has led to the formation of Mussel Polymers Inc., a startup created by New Jersey-based Wardenclyffe Chemicals Inc. The technology development company has licensed the patented adhesive from the Purdue Research Foundation.

“Now we are quite excited to move these new materials from the research lab into the marketplace,” Wilker said. “There is potential here to impact several industries, including products that people use in their daily lives.”

MPI is now developing a range of non-toxic, underwater adhesive and sealant products using PCS technology.

The company is currently raising Series-A funding to accelerate commercial development.

Purdue says Wardenclyffe recently received a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop this adhesive system for use in the restoration of coral reefs.