Chicago Biomedical Consortium funding renewed for ambitious plans to support Chicago life sciences

With an additional $13.5 million of funding from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, the Chicago Biomedical Consortium is entering its third phase of operations. Launched in 2001 by Daniel Searle, the CBC is a unique organization that stimulates and accelerates biomedical discovery and collaboration among the University of Illinois Chicago, the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

This third and most recent round of funding, provided over the next three years, enables the CBC to continue and expand its mission to:   

  • Develop a robust academic service center that provides faculty and trainees developing therapeutics the critical centralized analytics, the industry validation and the networks of expertise needed for early science commercialization. 
  • Create and maintain a network of expert venture capitalists who are interested in Chicago academic innovation and who will assist CBC member scientists in evaluating projects’ commercial potential.  
  • Work toward an inclusive and equitable Chicagoland life sciences landscape of institutions and industry that reflects the diversity of the city and works for all citizens of Chicago. 
  • Expand collaborations with other universities and organizations to build a “One Chicago” life sciences ecosystem that is a destination for visionary biotech companies and talent. 

Phase 3 will centralize resources to provide academic researchers with the advice, expert networks and funding needed to turn their science into translations. Professors’ ideas are fielded by the CBC and, through deep research, funding recommendations and research plans are developed. The CBC’s goal is to partner with not just the academics but the institutions that are commercializing Chicago’s life sciences. 

Joanna Groden, vice chancellor for research at the University of Illinois Chicago, said the CBC is a complement to UIC’s commercialization machinery, which includes services provided by UIC’s Office of Technology Management.

“The CBC’s plan to build a one-stop, full-service bio-entrepreneurial center that works side by side with university commercialization resources is ambitious but necessary,” Groden said. “Advice provided by industry partners and experienced bio-entrepreneurs has proven essential to the success of our faculty-entrepreneurs. These expanded and cooperative activities will assist academic research teams seeking to commercialize biomedical innovations.”  

During Phase 3, CBC programming will expand to provide professors at Chicago’s flagship universities with deep market, technical and clinical analysis, as well as project management, seed funding and introductions to venture capital and networks of expertise critical to the success of any bioventure. 

Since its inception in 2006, the CBC has made 323 awards ($55.1 million total) to researchers at its member universities. These awards provided early commercialization seed funding, which improved investor confidence, approaching $1 billion ($920 million) in outside funding to CBC awardees. In Phase 3, the CBC will continue its funding of high-quality, inter-institutional academic projects, which will be validated through the CBC’s business analysis core — a key component of the academic, entrepreneurial service center. 

More information about CBCs new funding is available online.

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