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Last modified: Thursday, February 10, 2011

IU's Innovate Indiana Fund invests in three promising high-tech startups

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 10, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University's Innovate Indiana Fund, designed to invest in emerging-technology startups that both propel IU discoveries toward the marketplace and stimulate Indiana's economy, has completed investments in its first three companies, giving the $10 million fund a solid start.

Innovate Indiana Fund

The Indianapolis-based companies, with ties to researchers at the IU School of Medicine and the university's exploration of digital delivery of educational resources, include Aarden Pharmaceuticals, ApeX Therapeutics and Courseload.

"The investments the Innovate Indiana Fund has made in these three early-stage technology companies in Indiana demonstrates the fund's ability to provide the critical capital and valued connections to grow innovative high-tech companies," said Bill Stephan, IU vice president for engagement. "It exemplifies IU's commitment to enrich the state's economy."

The investments also mark a commitment IU's economic development officials made to begin putting the venture capital fund promptly to work. The fund was announced in December 2009 by IU President Michael A. McRobbie with the expressed goal of beginning investments in 2010. Visit www.iufund.iu.edu for more information about the fund.

These first three companies have been remarkably successful at raising money from a variety of investors, including the Innovate Indiana Fund. The companies have raised more than $2 million in aggregate capital when totaling their entire first-round capital campaigns.

"The three companies we've invested in really stand out as promising enterprises because of their cutting-edge technology, potential for explosive growth, and ability to create sustainable high-skill employment," said Ken Green, the IIF's managing director.

More about the companies:

  • Aarden Pharmaceuticals, located in IU's Emerging Technology Center in Indianapolis, is a small molecule drug discovery and development company that uses novel technology developed in the labs of IUSM researchers. Aarden's cutting-edge technology will enable the company to make drugs for a previously un-druggable set of intracellular phosphatase (PTP) disease targets. Aarden's initial programs are focused on infectious disease, cancer, metabolic and autoimmune conditions. For more information about the company, visit http://www.aardenpharma.com/.
  • ApeX Therapeutics, a joint startup between cancer researchers at IU and Purdue University, is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel pharmaceuticals for the treatment of pancreatic and brain cancers in addition to age-related macular degeneration. For more information about the company, visit http://apextherapeutics.com/.
  • Courseload, co-founded by an IU professor from the Kelley School of Business, is located in the Emerging Technology Center. This high-tech electronic media delivery company specializes in providing higher educational learning resources including textbooks, lectures and other forms of rich media through innovative collaborative Web and stand-alone software platforms. For more information about the company, visit http://www.courseload.com.

Funded solely from university and private donor sources, the Innovate Indiana Fund is unique in that it invests in technologies and companies -- not other funds. It was created as a seed stage-focused venture capital fund that provides critical funding for IU-affiliated entrepreneurs. It provides these companies with additional business planning and development resources through the IU Research & Technology Corp. These include "pitch" preparation, introductions to various capital providers and commercial partners and access to business incubation and laboratory facilities.

For more information, contact Rebecca Carl at 317-321-1446 and rebcarl@indiana.edu. For more information about the Innovate Indiana Fund, visit www.iufund.iu.edu.