IU biochemist’s work helps new company focus on potential hepatitis B cure

Posted on August 13th, 2014 | By Innovate Indiana


An Indiana University biochemist’s discovery of a class of anti-viral small molecules that target the function of a virus DNA hidden in the infected livers of hepatitis B patients may lead to a cure for this viral infection that kills more than 600,000 people annually.

Adam Zlotnick, a professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences, and four colleagues — chemistry professor Richard DiMarchi and biochemistry visiting scholar William Turner, both of IU Bloomington; Indianapolis biotechnology entrepreneur Derek Small; and infectious disease researcher Dr. Uri Lopatin — formed Assembly Pharmaceuticals in 2012 to develop new anti-viral drugs based on Zlotnick’s discoveries. Novel compounds based on these discoveries, known as Core Protein Allosteric Modulators, or CpAMs, are capable of altering the activities of a core hepatitis B protein that is essential for the virus’s continued survival.

Despite the early stage of its pipeline, the promise of Assembly’s novel approach attracted the interest of Nasdaq-listed Ventrus Biosciences. Last week, Ventrus stockholders voted to merge with Assembly to form a new company, Assembly Biosciences, which is now trading on Nasdaq under the ticker “ASMB,” catapulting the firm from new start-up to public company in less than two years.

IU Research and Technology Corp. signs licensing agreement to expand Critical Web Reader globally

Posted on August 7th, 2014 | By Innovate Indiana

The Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. recently completed a licensing agreement with the National Institute of Education in Singapore for use of IU’s Critical Web Reader in Singapore. In parallel, the National Institute of Education has also entered into a service agreement with IU wherein IU will provide support to a team in Singapore led by the institute. Along with funding from IU and the IU School of Education, the Critical Web Reader was developed in part by a grant from the National Institute of Education in Singapore. IU Bloomington associate professor James Damico is the co-creator of the Critical Web Reader, along with Mark Baildon, associate professor at the National Institute of Education. Damico and Baildon have led the research, curriculum design and professional development dimensions on the project. Read more here.

IU named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by APLU

Posted on July 10th, 2014 | By David Gard

Indiana University has been designated as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).  This designation recognizes IU’s commitment across all of its campuses to being a leading institution in fostering regional economic development.

IU’s successful application culminates an intensive year-long process of institutional self-study and engagement with stakeholders to identify the strengths of the university’s economic engagement enterprise under the Innovate Indiana banner as well as areas for continued growth, complementing the Office for Engagement‘s recently developed strategic plan.

“This important designation by the APLU reflects IU’s clear commitment to the state of Indiana and, in particular, to the role the university can play in spurring and supporting economic development. This honor also is strong validation of the work being done by IU’s Office for Engagement, which is a powerful advocate for the university’s faculty entrepreneurs and a passionate voice for IU’s research mission.”

- IU President Michael A. McRobbie


Read more about IU’s designation as an APLU Innovation and Economic Prosperity University here.


Innovation to Enterprise

Posted on June 12th, 2014 | By Innovate Indiana

The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Innovation-to-Enterprise Initiative, which supports faculty and students as they turn research and product development into profitable commercial ventures, is resulting in a sharp increase in inventions, patents and start-up business concepts.

The initiative was created to enable the campus community to reach its full potential in research commercialization and economic development, and to provide opportunities for students to learn about discovery, innovation and enterprise creation, while developing entrepreneurial and business skills, and social consciousness. Read more hereIUSB.

Consortium Aims to Improve Drug Discovery

Posted on June 11th, 2014 | By Innovate Indiana

The director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute believes a new consortium involving Midwest pharmaceutical companies and universities represents the “new model for drug discovery.” AnaAnanthantha Shekhar says SPARC will result in “much richer R&D” by giving companies access to a wider range of specialists and patients. Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame will join schools and medical centers in states including Ohio, Illinois and Missouri in the effort. Shekhar says the consortium’s first set of projects is already being identified. Read the story here