Welcome! The Bloomington Life Sciences Partnership is a collaborative effort dedicated to continued life sciences business growth in greater Bloomington, Indiana - a nationally recognized leading metro area in medical devices, contract pharma, biotechnology, basic research and life sciences workforce development.
First Annual IUB Innovation Conference to be held April 24
Mar20

First Annual IUB Innovation Conference to be held April 24

The new Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology will be hosting its First Annual Innovation Conference at the Indiana Memorial Union, Frangipani Room on April 24 from 12:30 – 6:30pm. The event will feature a variety of speakers and topics, including an overview of the SBIR/STTR programs, the Spin-up Program at IURTC, angel investing, and more.  To register for the event, visit http://jceb.indiana.edu/opportunities.shtml. The mission of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology (JCEB) is to enhance translational research and industry partnerships at IU Bloomington.   Speakers & Topics include:   “State of Indiana SBIR/STTR Programs” “Overview of the SBIR/STTR Program, IUPUI “ Kristen Parmelee President, Parmelee Consulting Group, Inc.   “State of Indiana SBIR/STTR Programs” Lisa Hoverman, Ph.D. SBIR/STTR Program Specialist, Indiana PTAC, Office of Small Business & Entrepreneurship   “Spin-up Program at IURTC” Joe Trebley, Ph.D. Head of Startup Support and Promotion, Indiana University Research & Technology Corporation   “Working with IU Spin-up to Start a Small Business” Yvonne Lai, Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Hohmann Laboratory, and Navigator, Indiana Clinical Translational Sciences Institute   “The Indiana Ecosystem for Lifescience Entrepreneurism “ Jay McGill, Ph.D. Senior Director, LRL Operations – Science and Technology Partnerships, Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company   “Angel Investing” Guest speaker TBA   “Antibody-based Prevention and Therapy for Infectious Diseases” Kevin Whaley, Ph.D. CEO, Mapp Biopharmaceutical,...

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IU’s Beaker Bubbleth Over with Global Chem Events
Dec01

IU’s Beaker Bubbleth Over with Global Chem Events

Hopeful new medicines, potential options to battle obesity and cutting-edge methods of studying the chemistry inside all of us—these were among the topics that drew a crowd from around the world to the small city of Bloomington. Smaller still is Indiana University’s Department of Chemistry, but IU chemists say its prestige is evident, judging by the crowd and the ability to bring international experts from around the globe—or even from down the hall—to participate in two recent events.   The Fifth Annual Watanabe Symposium in Chemical Biology drew a crowd of about 150 to focus on advancements in chemical biology that could lead to new medicines. Close on its heels was the 2014 Gill Symposium and Awards, a conference that covers a different topic within neuroscience each year.   “Indiana University is a world-renowned institute for chemical sciences,” says IU’s Linda & Jack Gill Chair of Biomolecular Sciences Dr. Richard DiMarchi. “It advertises to the external world who we are and distinguishes Indiana as a center that’s interested, active and leading in the biomedical sciences.” Listen   This year’s Watanabe Symposium in Chemical Biology was characterized by discussion about new technologies that allow chemists to dig deeper into human biology. DiMarchi describes chemical biology as the interface among chemistry, biology and human health.   “[The symposium] addressed the emergence of enabling technologies—chemical synthesis and chemical analysis of physical structure,” says DiMarchi. “At the core of biology is the need for tools to study biology. Chemistry is a requisite skillset. What we heard at this meeting was cutting-edge science in terms of preparing and studying those reagents that allow us to understand biology at a much higher level.” Listen   Both annual events fall under the leadership of DiMarchi, a chemist with an international reputation himself. He’s co-founded two startups, one of which was sold to Roche for more than $500 million. He helped commercialize six pharmaceuticals and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame to honor his discovery and development of the designer insulin Humalog. Most recently, he was one of four scientists in the world to win the 2014 Erwin-Schrödinger-Prize for his role in developing a new treatment for type 2 diabetes.   Going hand-in-hand with type 2 diabetes is obesity, which was the topic for this year’s Gill Symposium. DiMarchi says the event hosted several world-renowned biologists in the field of obesity research and examined sophisticated new methods that may be able to control the disease.   “Obesity is a huge global problem. It’s an epidemic of disease with as many as a quarter of all adults globally overweight, and as much as 10 percent...

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Bloomington Companies win New Venture Competition
Oct31

Bloomington Companies win New Venture Competition

Bloomington Companies win New Venture Competition A company striving to find a better treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a startup creating video games to help rehabilitate stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients claimed the top prizes at the recent BioCrossroads New Venture Competition. Aiming to discover the most promising life sciences startups in the state, the competition also awards cash prizes and access to business resources to help smooth the often bumpy road to commercialization.   Leaders of Indianapolis-based Anagin believe the great need for a new method of treating PTSD was one factor that led their startup to win the competition. Co-founder and Indiana University School of Medicine Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Anantha Shekhar says the need to better treat this vulnerable population grows each day.   “There are several areas where there are wars and people coming back from combat duty—that’s the most obvious [need],” says Shekhar. “But there’s been an ongoing epidemic of unrecognized trauma in all kinds of daily living situations—urban trauma and trauma policemen or firefighters face every day.”   Shekhar says current treatments are only effective in about one of every three patients, and the drugs target only the symptoms of PTSD. Anti-depressants and anti-seizure medications are the most commonly prescribed, and Shekhar says they have debilitating side effects. Also led by IU Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences Dr. Yvonne Lai, Anagin says its treatment takes aim at the source of the disease, rather than treating just the symptoms.   “Our treatment works on a very specific nerve cell mechanism that is critical for developing the whole disorder,” says Shekhar. “[Our drug] treats one of the fundamental mechanisms that causes the disease…and disrupts the mechanism within the cell that perpetuates the symptoms.”   In addition to the $25,000 cash prize, BioCrossroads will provide Anagin various business development support services; Anagin leaders say this builds critical momentum for attracting future funding, and ultimately, moving their drug to the marketplace.   “The most exciting part for me is finding a treatment for an illness I’ve struggled to treat for 30 years,” says Shekhar. “It’d be phenomenal if we could find something that really works for PTSD, but if our theory is correct, it might work for many other serious brain diseases. This could open up a whole new field of drugs for brain disorders.”   Capturing second place and the $15,000 prize at the competition, Bloomington-based Wellplay Health says its video game technology will help stroke and TBI patients with the challenging and arduous rehabilitation process. Compliance data shows only 31 percent of patients typically perform rehabilitation exercises as prescribed, says Wellplay...

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Growth Expected in Bloomington Life Sciences Companies
Sep09

Growth Expected in Bloomington Life Sciences Companies

BLSP Survey Results | August 9, 2014   The Bloomington Life Sciences Partnership (BLSP) recently released the results of its 2014 employer survey aimed at identifying trends, business opportunities and projected economic impacts of the local life sciences industry. Twelve Bloomington-area life sciences companies responded, including medical device manufacturers, bio pharmaceuticals, nutritional chemistry, consulting, and research and development companies.   According to survey respondents, employment is expected to grow in the next two years, with 75% of companies reporting they will make new hires. Of those companies, two thirds predicted hiring between 1 and 10 employees, and one third reported hiring between 101 and 200 employees. New hires are expected to require a broad range of skills, including GMP, HPLC and FDA familiarity, analytical chemistry, CNC machining, math and technical skills, and soft skills. Companies also expressed interest in utilizing Indiana University and Ivy Tech interns in the fields of biology, biotechnology, chemistry, IT/computer science, and business.   Results also identified some of the greatest obstacles facing growth at local operations. These challenges are federal policy and regulatory issues, finding skilled labor/technical talent and funding. Local resources like the Indiana Center for the Life Sciences, the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Bill and Gayle Cook Center for Entrepreneurship are local resources that work towards filling skilled positions like these. The survey also indicated that 40% of companies use the Indiana Center for the Life Sciences and 30% of companies use the free BLSP jobs board.   The Bloomington Life Sciences Partnership is a collaborative effort dedicated to continued life sciences business growth in greater Bloomington, Indiana – a nationally recognized leading metro area in medical devices, contract pharma, biotechnology, basic research and life sciences workforce...

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IU Biochemist’s Work Helps New Company Focus on Potential Hepatitis B Cure
Jul28

IU Biochemist’s Work Helps New Company Focus on Potential Hepatitis B Cure

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., July 15 — Indiana University-Bloomington issued the following news release:   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.   Assembly’s anti-viral technology is based on Zlotnick’s work at IU focusing on the biophysics of virus self-assembly. Many viruses have a shell, or capsid, that is made of many copies of a virus-specific protein. The Zlotnick lab has shown how purified hepatitis B core protein can spontaneously assemble, in a matter of seconds, to form soccer-ball shaped complexes that are identical to capsids in the infectious virus. By examining the mechanism of assembly, the lab’s research has led to the discovery of a number of families of small molecule CpAMs that can selectively and effectively reduce viral load and key viral antigens, considered to be the best marker of a functional cure. Reduction of those viral antigens is and will be a key clinical endpoint in new drug development, Zlotnick said.   In the case of hepatitis B, CpAMS combat the virus by affecting multiple aspects of the viral lifecycle, including the function of a special viral DNA called covalently closed circular DNA, or cccDNA, that is the viral reservoir hiding in the nuclei of infected liver cells. This cccDNA serves as a template for the production of viral proteins and additional copies of the viral genome, contributing to the persistence of the infection. The cccDNA is not affected by current hepatitis B therapies, which is why only 3 to 5...

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Cook Medical Video

  Sideporting: It’s kind of a big deal. from Cook Medical on Vimeo.

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