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Aarden Pharmaceuticals chose Indianapolis over San Diego for headquarters

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Overlooked in the Nov. 10 announcement that Aarden Pharmaceuticals would establish its headquarters here is that it considered San Diego, that sunnier and more renowned life sciences bastion.

“Essentially, some of the founders are located in San Diego and there was some original thought of the HQ being there,” Gary Noonan, president and CEO and one of just two employees of Aarden, told IBJ.

But thanks partly to a $500,000 grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, and support from Indiana’s BioCrossroads life sciences initiative, principals “decided that locating it in Indianapolis would give Aarden a better chance of success.”

Academic co-founder is Zhong-Yin Zhang, chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Zhang is also an expert in the field of protein tyrosine phosphatases. His research allowed for drugs to treat diseases such as tuberculosis. Aarden’s TB drug I-A09 is in pre-clinical development.

Work is also under way on drugs targeting diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Many of the PTPs “were deemed undruggable,” Zhang said.

The firm has set up in offices along the Central Canal.

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