Press Release


Lori LeRoy
317-238-2456     317-514-0095 cell


BioCrossroads invests in innovative biotech targeting challenging diseases
Aarden Pharmaceuticals continues to advance cutting-edge discoveries

Indianapolis, December 23, 2010 –  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 demands 
arduous treatments for up to nine months. Aarden’s drug has the potential to address current 
challenges – offering a shorter treatment duration and a stronger, more efficacious treatment.

Along with its TB therapeutic platform, Aarden is also making progress in research efforts in 
cancer (e.g. leukemia) and autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis and lupus). The 
company’s cancer and autoimmune programs are currently in pre-clinical testing.

“BioCrossroads’ continuing support has value even beyond this important financial 
commitment. Certainly, this investment from the BioCrossroads Seed Fund will help us 
accelerate the progress of our TB program,” said Aarden CEO Gary Noonan. “It’s a testament 
to our science and team that we are now part of the group of high caliber start ups that 
BioCrossroads has funded.”

About BioCrossroads
BioCrossroads ( is Indiana’s initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life 
sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the region’s existing research and corporate 
strengths while encouraging new business development.  BioCrossroads provides money and support to 
life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences enterprises (Indiana Health Information Exchange
Fairbanks Institute for Healthy CommunitiesBioCrossroadsLINX,OrthoWorx and Datalys Center), 
expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana’s life science institutions, promotes science 
education and markets Indiana’s life sciences industry.

About the Indiana Seed Fund I
The $6 million, return-driven Indiana Seed Fund was launched in June 2005 and is managed 
by BioCrossroads with funding from BioCrossroads, the Indiana Finance Authority and the 
Indiana Economic Development Corporation.  The Seed Fund provides working capital in the 
range of $50,000-$500,000 to promising Indiana life sciences companies at the preliminary 
stages of operation.

About Aarden

Aarden ( is a small molecule drug discovery and development 
company.  The company’s novel technology from the labs of the Indiana University School of 
Medicine is a chemistry breakthrough that will enable it to make drugs against a previously 
undruggable set of intracellular phosphatase (PTP) disease targets. Aarden’s first programs are 
focused on infectious disease, cancer, metabolic and autoimmune conditions.

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