INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Oct. 10, 2018 — BioCrossroads Board of Directors named esteemed researcher, educator and entrepreneur Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D., executive associate dean for research affairs at the Indiana University School of Medicine, recipient of the 2018 August M. Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year Award, a prestigious honor named in tribute to BioCrossroads’ late Chairman August Watanabe, at today’s Indiana Life Sciences Summit.

Dr. Shekhar serves in several leadership roles at IU and IU Health. As Distinguished Professor and Associate Vice President of Research and Clinical Affairs for IU, leader of the high profile IU Precision Health Grand Challenge, and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs for Clinical Research at IU Health, Dr. Shekhar elevates and integrates research across the state’s largest university and its partner healthcare system.

Under Dr. Shekhar’s leadership, IU School of Medicine’s total research funding has surged to $339 million, which includes a 33 percent increase in highly competitive National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. He is the founding director of the nationally recognized Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, a results-driven partnership among IU, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, created to improve health in Indiana through research. He also serves on the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Advisory Council and the Cures Acceleration Network Review Board.

BioCrossroads presents the Watanabe Award annually to an individual or organization that has made or enabled unique achievements in the development of Indiana’s life sciences and healthcare research, clinical, educational or economic advancement.

“Dr. Shekhar is unique in the scope and scale of his impact on Indiana’s healthcare, life sciences, and academic community as a catalyst, collaborator and contributor. There is no one, anywhere, who is better at understanding the rigors of academic research, the requirements for success in university-industry partnerships, and the imperatives of better care for patients than Anantha Shekhar—he has and does it all,” said David L. Johnson, president and CEO, BioCrossroads. “As a result, Anantha has put IU School of Medicine—and the entire State of Indiana—in an enviable position of collaborative leadership on the national research map through his tremendous efforts.  Along the way, he’s also found the opportunity to be the scientific founder or sponsor of some of our most promising next-generation life sciences companies.”

His start-up company, Anagin, is developing treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, neuropathic pain, depression, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.  Anagin has raised more than $7.5 million and has several molecules in various stages of development.

Dr. Shekhar joins an impressive list of previous Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year award winners, including:

  • Leonard Betley, retired Chairman, President and CEO of Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation;
  • Richard DiMarchi, Standiford H. Cox Professor of Chemistry and the Linda & Jack Gill Chair in Biomolecular Sciences at Indiana University. Co-founder of Ambrx, Inc., Marcadia Biotech, Calibrium and MB2.
  • Dane A. Miller, founder of Biomet
  • Bill Cook, founder of Cook Group
  • Lilly Endowment under the leadership of Chairman Thomas Lofton
  • Phillip Low, Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Purdue Center for Drug Discovery—Biochemistry, co-founder of Endocyte and On Target Laboratories.
  • Bill Eason, founder of Bio-Dynamics, predecessor to Roche Diagnostics
  • John Lechleiter, Chairman, President and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company
  • John Swisher, Founder, JBS United
  • Virginia Caine, Director of the Marion County Department of Public Health

About BioCrossroads

BioCrossroads ( is Indiana’s initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the region’s existing research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development.  BioCrossroads provides money and support to life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences enterprises (Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, Indiana Health Information Exchange, Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities, BioCrossroadsLINX, OrthoWorx and Datalys Center), expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana’s life science institutions, promotes science education and markets Indiana’s life sciences industry.