The Indiana University Philanthropic Venture Fund, which provides capital to faculty, students, alumni and staff at all IU campuses to help them further develop their research and innovations into startup companies, has invested in Vascugen Inc., a regenerative medicine company.
Vascugen is focused on finding therapies to repair human tissue damaged by reduced blood flow due to disease or injury. The company has received additional investment from other Indiana-based investors, including Indianapolis entrepreneur Dr. Donald Brown. Brown founded Interactive Intelligence, which he sold in 2016 for $1.4 billion, and LifeOmic, a precision medicine company.
Vascugen CEO Carter Cliff said the Philanthropic Venture Fund’s investment enables the company to refine and scale processes to produce a clinical-grade product.
“It also helps us support our pharmaceutical partnerships and further develop our intellectual property estate, including technology recently licensed from the IU Innovation and Commercialization Office,” Cliff said.
Teri Willey, IU Research and Technology Corp. managing director and fund manager, said Vascugen was selected for the investment for several reasons.
“Vascugen is developing regenerative medicines based on technology developed at Indiana University,” Willey said. “The company has assembled a world-class team to advance a pipeline of new therapeutics with the potential to address multiple unmet medical needs that afflict patients in Indiana and globally.”
The IU Philanthropic Venture Fund was originally envisioned in the Bicentennial Strategic Planas part of the university’s continuing efforts to contribute to the economic vitality of Indiana. It is initially capitalized at $15 million but has the potential to reach $50 million or more, and it will be funded in large part with designated, tax-deductible gifts to the university.
Funding is put to work through equity investments primarily at early stages of company development. To qualify for investment, companies must commercialize IU intellectual property or be led by an IU alumnus plus exhibit clear commercial potential, and have the ability to attract follow-on funding and experienced management.