Apexian Pharmaceuticals selected for NCI SBIR Investor Initiatives program


Congratulations to Indianapolis-based Apexian Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotech company developing novel compounds to treat cancer by leveraging intellectual property discovered at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The company has been selected to participate in the National Cancer Institute’s SBIR Investor Initiatives program.

As part of the program, Dr. Richard Messmann — Apexian’s chief medical officer — will present at the BioNetwork Partnering Summit taking place Oct. 23-25 in Laguna Niguel, California. The summit is a venue for biotech companies to present their story to business development executives. Attendees include venture capital investors, pharmaceutical companies, and representatives from federal and state agencies.

“I will present a TED-style talk to all attendees, providing them with scientific and clinical details regarding our lead anti-cancer drug, APX3330, as well as meeting with company representatives on a 1:1 basis in hopes of laying the groundwork for an eventual co-development partnership,” Messmann said. “The three days are also packed with presentations by the executives explaining what they seek in partnerships, so it’s a great venue to share information, insight and perspective.”

Messmann said being selected for the NCI SBIR Investor Initiatives program benefits Apexian Pharmaceuticals in multiple ways.

“The initial grant award can be used as a steppingstone to resubmit additional applications for continued development support. The NCI funds several phases of development, and depending upon the success or failure of the currently funded phase, additional awards may be provided,” he said. “The goal of the NCI is to support the successful development of new therapy ‘from laboratory bench to patient bedside,’ and so incremental success is evaluated and awarded with additional support.”

Messmann also stated, “The application process for the program is inherently competitive and submissions are evaluated by leading scientists associated with the institute, so being selected provides external validation of the significance of Apexian’s science and clinical data.

“Any grant or funding that comes from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute is allocated on a highly competitive basis. In fact, less than 10 percent of grant submissions receive funding, so receipt of the NCI grant is viewed by many in the investment community as a signal that a company is worthy of continued support.”