Inside INdiana Business

IU Ventures invests $475K in health, tech companies

(photo courtesy of NuCurrent)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — IU Ventures is renewing its investment in two Indiana University-affiliated companies it says have “rapidly distinguished themselves as innovators” in their respective industries. The nonprofit has made a total of $475,000 in follow-on investments in Indianapolis-based Apexian Pharmaceuticals and NuCurrent in Chicago.

Apexian Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage biotechnology company led by Mark Kelley, professor of pediatric oncology research at the IU School of Medicine. The company has received $100,000 from IU Ventures to continue its focus on developing therapies to treat cancer and other debilitating or life-threatening diseases.

IU Ventures says Apexian recently completed a Phase 1 clinical study for its lead drug candidate, APX3330, which targets a molecule that plays a role in a number of pediatric and adult cancers, as well as diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy and Crohn’s disease, among other ailments.

“We’ve been lucky to achieve alignment in connections, timing, trials and safety,” said Kelley, who also serves as chief scientific officer of Apexian. “Part of that luck has been to have the right people on the bus from the very beginning, including our partners at Indiana University. They have never stopped opening up contacts for us to grow, and that’s how you become a successful biotech company.”

NuCurrent has received a $375,000 follow-on investment from IU Ventures. The company works with product developers to provide wireless power technology for consumer products, such as smartphones, wearable devices and laptops, as well as implanted medical devices and industrial robots.

NuCurrent received a $1 million investment from IU Ventures in 2019, which was the nonprofit’s largest investment to date. 

“Since the first IU Ventures investment, NuCurrent has made significant strides in many important early-stage metrics,” said Mike Harmon, director of marketing and communications at NuCurrent. “We have launched more product categories with wireless charging than any company in the world with several more planned for 2021.”

Harmo says the company has increased revenue, funding, full-time staff, office locations and customers during the pandemic alone.

“We are extremely excited by the recent successes and extraordinary potential of these two IU-affiliated companies,” said IU Ventures Chief Executive Officer Tony Armstrong. “Both are determined to advance their missions of delivering first-class service and to push through new, solution-based innovations through their respective industry pipelines. Both are ready to take the next step forward, making them great investments for evergreen funds.”

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