INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- BioCrossroads' Indiana Seed Fund has announced its eleventh investment, committing $250,000 to biotech start-up Aarden Pharmaceuticals. Based in Indianapolis but drawing key parts of its veteran entrepreneurial team from San Diego, Aarden is developing novel technologies to attack difficult-to-treat diseases through focus on specific intracellular disease targets. The BioCrossroads investment will support the company to advance its lead program, a tuberculosis (TB) treatment, through the pre-clinical development stage.
Aarden's scientific platform comes through the work of Dr. Zhong-Yin Zhang, Robert A. Harris Professor and Chairman of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine, and an internationally recognized expert in the field of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), a large family of signaling enzymes that regulate a wide array of essential cellular processes. Dr. Zhang's work is based on novel chemistry that allows drugs to work more effectively in finding their targets.
"Aarden's research was born in Dr. Zhang's laboratory, which was funded through Lilly Endowment's historic Indiana Genomics Initiative (INGEN) grant to the Indiana University School of Medicine several years ago," said David Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads. "The goal of INGEN was to make Indiana a destination point for 21st century biotechnology discovery and, in so doing, bring more translational research to life for better human health. Aarden's promising science, pre-eminent research and outstanding leadership team illustrate very well the full promise of the grant."
The second leading cause of death in the world, approximately 2 million people die from tuberculosis each year. Current treatments are insufficient. Often, existing antibiotics are not fully effective, particularly against multi-drug resistant TB under a regimen that
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