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Kelley joins IU Ventures Investment Committee

Mark Kelley IU Ventures
INDIANAPOLIS—Mark R. Kelley, PhD, is the newest member of the IU Ventures Investment Committee. Kelley, a professor of pediatrics and cancer researcher at Indiana University School of Medicine, was appointed by Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, dean of IU School of Medicine and IU Ventures board member. Kelley succeeds Distinguished Professor Emeritus Mervin Yoder, MD, who served on the committee from 2014 to 2020.

IU Ventures focuses on nurturing an IU entrepreneurial ecosystem through venture support, investment and events. Central to this mission, the investment committee’s role is to assess investment opportunities from IU-affiliated entrepreneurs and advise IU Ventures in its decision-making process. Kelley himself is an IU entrepreneur.

“We are especially pleased that Mark is joining the Investment Committee at IU Ventures,” said Bill Stephan, Chairman of the Board of IU Ventures. “His history of entrepreneurial success, experience in commercialization, and genuine passion for empowering others will bring invaluable insight to advancing innovative concepts from the IU community to real-world solutions.”

Kelley is the Betty and Earl Herr Professor of Pediatric Oncology whose 33-year career in research has focused on the therapeutic targeting of a protein called APE-1/Ref-1. His expertise has led to the intellectual property rights on 12 published patents with 16 more pending. They include new composition of matter and method of use patents for his lead drug and pipeline compounds.

In 2009, Kelley’s work provided the scientific basis for Apexian Pharmaceuticals, an Indianapolis-based biotechnology startup that now has licensed its lead and pipeline agents with Ocuphire Pharma for ocular indications. Notably, its flagship compound—a molecule called APX3330—has completed phase I trials for the treatment of solid tumors in cancer. In partnership with Ocuphire, a phase II trial for diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema will initiate in early 2021.

Kelley’s appointment to the investment committee began in September 2020, but his relationship with IU Ventures dates back more than a decade. 

From 2008 to 2010, he served as a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for IU Research and Technology Corporation (IURTC), which now operates as IU Ventures. In 2010, Apexian received investment funding from the IURTC Innovate Indiana Fund. Over the years, Kelley has had an active role in networking and panelist events hosted by IU Ventures to speak about his experiences and provide mentorship to other IU inventors.

Kelley is a senior investigator at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is one of nine members in the Investment Committee. 

Collectively, the committee represents diverse industries and fields of study. It addition to Kelley, the committee includes committee chair Tony Armstrong, JD, MBA; Gary Anderson, MD; Harry Gonso, JD; Elizabeth Hagerman, PhD; Jane Niederberger, MBA; Chuck Schalliol, JD; Ted Widlanski, PhD; and Teri Willey, MBA.

About IU Ventures
IU Ventures is a Section 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering Indiana University faculty, alumni, and friends to support and invest in IU-affiliated innovation. Through the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund and the IU Angel Network, IU Ventures works to provide opportunities for individuals affiliated with IU to network with fellow entrepreneurs; build innovative new businesses; and support growing enterprises through donations, investments, time and talents.

About IU School of Medicine
IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.