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“IURTC is the perfect partner to any scientist interested in commercializing their discoveries.”

Portrait of Professor Anantha Shekhar, co-founder of Anagin.

Dr. Anantha Shekhar, Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology, and Neurobiology.

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“IURTC provides support to all the nonscientific related issues, freeing us to focus on the science.”

Portrait of Yvonne Lai, co-founder of Anagin.

Dr. Yvonne Lai, Senior Scientist in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

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Success Stories

Start a Company

Anantha Shekhar

Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology, and Neurobiology

Yvonne Lai

Senior Scientist in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Current medicines work for only half of the 24.4 million Americans who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at any given time, and those whom the medicines benefit see only 30 to 60 percent improvement in their symptoms, according to Anantha Shekhar, School of Medicine professor of psychiatry, pharmacology, and neurobiology.

“There have been hundreds of patients that I have tried to help with this problem, but I have been frustrated with the lack of effective interventions,” says Shekhar.

But now with IURTC’s support, Shekhar no longer has to wait for better medicines to appear on the market to help his patients.

He and Yvonne Lai, senior scientist for the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, have cofounded Anagin—a SpinUp company on a mission to revolutionize PTSD treatments. Anagin is developing the first drug of its kind to block the target mechanism of PTSD in the brain without triggering others that cause crippling side effects, explains Shekhar. This strategy sets Anagin apart from other new treatments entering the market.

“It’s an enormous market and a critical unmet need in some of our most vulnerable populations,” says Joe Trebley, head of Startup Support and Promotion, who has worked closely with Anagin. “We anticipate that the Anagin platform will significantly disrupt and grow the PTSD market.”

With IURTC’s help, Anagin has had little trouble receiving funds. Anagin was awarded a $692,706 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2014—on its first application. Just one year later, Anagin won the $25,000 first-place award in the BioCrossroads New Venture Competition.

“Joe Trebley and Polina Feldman at IURTC have been tremendously helpful in connecting Anagin to resources within and outside of Indiana,” says Lai. “They introduced us to seasoned experts and potential investors, identified both internal and external funding opportunities, worked with Anagin to develop initial business plans, and addressed all the major business-related issues associated with starting a company.”

Shekhar adds, “We could not have accomplished any of these commercialization milestones without IURTC’s assistance.”

IURTC will be there for the next big moments in Anagin’s development. Now in the initial stages of testing their drug, the company is working with IURTC to establish patent protection.

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