Partnership & Industry Relations

Partnership & Industry Relations


The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago works with corporate partners to catalyze ideas into impact. UChicago is at the very heart of a “must-have” Chicago-wide research, innovation, venture, investment, talent, operations, and education ecosystem. In addition to research on campus, UChicago brings together the power of two US Department of Energy National Labs (Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory) and the Marine Biological Laboratory, across 140 institutes and centers, into a truly powerful research and development enterprise of over 15,000 faculty and research staff.

Our world-class researchers generate new knowledge and solutions to significant societal challenges. Their long history of breakthroughs includes discovering the link between cancer and genetics, establishing revolutionary theories of economics, and developing tools to produce reliably excellent urban schooling. Most recently, their discoveries and technologies include developing life-saving cancer therapeutics, improving disease diagnostics, increasing quality of education and training, creating green tech energy solutions, while leveraging deep expertise in life sciences, data science, advanced materials, quantum, and more.

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A joint strategic alliance designed to encourage and strengthen collaboration among researchers.

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Ways to Partner

Ways to Partner

  • Sponsored Research: The Polsky Center can help your company connect with University of Chicago faculty and other researchers shaping and defining the fields relevant to your industry.
  • Startup Investment and Acquisitions: We provide “first looks” and early access to startups with proprietary technology in your industry or research area.
  • Master Collaboration Agreements: We can work with you to develop a comprehensive approach to interacting with the University of Chicago based on your specialized interests and goals.
  • Technology Licensing: The Polsky Center manages the University of Chicago’s technology portfolio and we can help you find new technologies to add to your product development pipeline. Our team will work closely with you through the diligence and licensing process.

Get Started:

Set up a visit to our campus:

Omkar Bhave
Manager, Industry Relations
Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago
O: 773.702.6365

Select Licensees and Partners

The Polsky Center has partnered with a number of company partners to further develop University-based technologies through licenses and sponsored research. The Polsky Center is proud to continue these relationships and seeks to build new partnerships. Learn more about some of our current partners by clicking on the logos below or visiting the Select Licensees page.


AbbVie provides funding for a collaboration with UChicago that supports preclinical research, clinical trials and possible future programs at the University resulting from this partnership. The overall collaborative efforts provide University of Chicago physicians and researchers with the opportunity to participate in AbbVie-sponsored clinical trials, access to new therapies developed by AbbVie for use in preclinical research funded under the collaboration, and engagement with AbbVie’s research and development teams to promote scientific knowledge exchange. Stay up-to-date on all AbbVie’s biopharmaceutical news @Abbvie.



  • Five year partnership with UChicago
  • Learn more about AbbVie’s partnership with the Polsky Center here.



This company is transforming lives and isn’t looking back. As pioneers in immunotherapy, Aduro Biotech is transforming lives by discovering, developing, and commercializing immunotherapies that are making big changes in the treatment of challenging diseases like cancer. Collaborating with the Polsky Center’s Technology Commercialization and Licensing team, Aduro Biotech is paving the way with several leading-edge proprietary technologies designed to initiate and sustain the immune system to mobilize and attack tumors. With an extensive pipeline of three proprietary technology platforms — Live, Attenuated Double-Dated (LADD), STRING Pathway Activators, and B-select monoclonal antibodies –immunotherapies have been developed to target a variety of cancers as well as infectious and autoimmune diseases. Follow along with Aduro Biotech’s journey on LinkedIn as they look to continue changing the landscape of cancer care.



  • Principal Investigator – Tom Gajewski
  • Headquartered in Berkley, CA
  • Deal Date- 2016
  • Current Status- Phase I: Clinical Trial Launched


Agile MD, formerly known as Agile Diagnosis, is a web, mobile, and EHR-integrated application that provides clinicians fast access to guidelines, protocols, and reference information. Thanks to AgileMD, organizations are improving the quality of care, reducing unnecessary utilization, and lowering the risk of medical error. In fact, founder, Borna Safabakhsh, MBA ’11, and his team won first place at the 2011 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC), and $25,000, with this idea. Now headquartered in San Francisco, AgileMD has supported over 40,000 clinicians and over 15,000 medical documents are published through the platform. AgileMD is also the only clinical decision engine and guideline platform available on every device. Go give @agileMD a follow to stay up-to-date on their journey — no excuses Droid users.



  • Founded by Borna Safabakhsh, MBA ’11
  • 1st place at the 2011 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) ($25,000)
  • Headquartered in San Francisco, CA
  • @agileMD


Celgene seeks to deliver truly innovative and life-changing drugs for our patients. Their vision as a company is to build a major global biopharmaceutical corporation while focusing on the discovery, the development, and the commercialization of products for the treatment of cancer and other severe, immune, inflammatory conditions.


ClostraBio is dedicated to understanding and treating food allergies and other disease of the immune system. Founded in 2016 by Cathryn R. Nagler, PhD and Jeffrey A. Hubbell, PhD, ColstraBio is making strides in the discovery and development of new therapeutics that modulate the protective ability of the microbiome. ClostraBio’s team is passionate about treating diseases linked to allergic reactions like eczema, asthma, and allergic rhinitis. With assistance from the Polsky Center’s Technology Commercialization and Licensing team, the company was advised on how to define and protect its intellectual property. With this knowledge and their goals in mind, the company set its sights on the 2017 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) and the George Shultz Innovation Fund. John Colson, PhD, Director of Operations, along with Chicago Booth students, William Aubin, Su Fu, and Monica Vajani were awarded $40,000 and a fourth place finish at the NVC. That same week, ClostraBio was awarded up to $200,000 by the Shultz Innovation Fund advisory committee after the team’s presentation on their work that targets food allergies. The company has been featured by CBS News, BBC News, and Time Magazine among others. Go give this company a follow @ClostraBio as they look to transform the classification of allergic reactions as we know it.


  • Founded by Cathryn R. Nagler, PhD and Jeffrey A. Hubbell, PhD
  • 4th place at the 2017 New Venture Challenge
  • Awarded up to $200,000 at the 2017 George Shultz Innovation Fund Finals
  • Headquartered in Chicago, IL
  • @ClostraBio


UChicago licensee Electrochaea, named one of the 100 Global Cleantech companies in 2014, uses electricity generated by the sun or wind to convert water and carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into methane, the chief ingredient of natural gas. Electrochaea’s technology developed by Laurens Mets, PhD and UChicago allows storage of renewable energy as natural gas, making it a more attractive energy option and providing the potential for European countries to reduce dependence on foreign sources of natural gas.


  • Principal Investigator – Laurens Mets
  • Deal Date – 2010
  • Current Status – Venture backed, building commercial scale facility in Denmark
  • Industry – Clean Tech
  • Learn more about Electrochaea in this press release 

Evelo Therapeutics

Licensee Evelo Therapeutics will advance an immunotherapy developed by University of Chicago oncologist Thomas Gajewski that employs certain gut microbes to boost the immune system’s attack on cancer cells and improve the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs. Evelo, Gajewski, and UChicago will work together to bring this technology to the patient setting as quickly as possible, while continuing to explore the mechanisms of the microbiome in cancer.


  • Principal Investigator – Tom Gajewski
  • Deal Date – 2016
  • Industry — Microbiome
  • Current Status — Venture backed
  • Learn more about Evelo Therapeutics in this press releases

Everyday Learning

Each year, approximately 4.3 million students in 220,000 US classrooms use Everyday Mathematics, a comprehensive pre-K through grade 6 mathematics program developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project and initially distributed by a University start-up, Everyday Learning.


  • Principle Investigator – Max Bell and Zalman Usiskin
  • Deal Date – 1998
  • Industry — Education
  • Current Status – Acquired by McGraw-Hill, widely used curriculum

ExplORer Surgical

ExplORer Surgical is an interactive surgical playbook that promotes optimal teamwork in the operating room. Best practices are built into a surgeon-customized workflow for each case. Surgical activity can be tracked and adjusted as part of a learning health system. Founded by CEO Jennifer Fried, MBA ’15, and CMO Alexander Langerman, MD ’05, SM, ’15, the company launched with a goal to create safer and more efficient surgery in 2015. The company worked with the Polsky Center’s Technology Commercialization team to license their technology. That same year they were the runner-ups at the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) taking home $50,000. Today, ExplORer Surgical aligns with many health systems’ goals of improving quality of care and lowering costs. Whether you’re a patient, member of a surgical team, an administration or are just obsessed with medical television dramas, visit to see how they are changing what it’s like to be in an operating room.   


  • Founded by Jennifer Fried, MBA ’15  and CMO Alexander Langerman, MD ’05, SM, ’15,
  • 2nd place at the 2015 NVC ($50,000)
  • Polsky Incubator Alumn
  • Awarded $64,300 at the 2014 Spring George Shultz Innovation Fund Finals
  • UChicago Startup Investment Program recipient (2017)

Phillips 66

Dr. Luping Yu developed new chemical compounds to generate highly efficient organic photovoltaic solar cells as a source of clean energy. Dr. Yu’s compounds have reached record efficiencies compared to other material. The technology was licensed to Phillips 66 in early 2014.


  • Principle Investigator – Luping Yu
  • Deal Date – 2014
  • Industry – Clean Tech
  • Current Status – In-development


Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. develops innovative medicines and other technologies to identify, target and treat cancer. Their pipeline includes: (1) therapeutic agents designed to precisely target cancer (AZEDRA® and 1095); (2) PSMA-targeted imaging agents for prostate cancer (1404 and PyLTM); and (3) imaging analysis tools. Our first commercial product, RELISTOR® (methylnaltrexone bromide) for opioid-induced constipation, is partnered with Valeant. Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Delaware in 1986.

Seurat Therapeutics

Seurat Therapeutics is based on years of research by Richard Kraig, MD, PhD, at the University of Chicago that targets a naturally-derived cure for migraines aimed at the root cause rather than alleviating the symptoms. Based at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s Polsky Exchange, the team has a vision to give the roughly 4 million people in the US who suffer from migraine their lives back. The migraine treatment is an Insulin-like-growth factor-1 (IGF-1) nasal spray formulation that can relieve migraines within 30 minutes. Seurat Therapeutics licensed their technology through the UCGo! express license program, participated in the Polsky I-Corps program, and was awarded up to $250,000 to support their developments by the George Shultz Innovation Fund. Check out their LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on their efforts in eliminating the ever-pesky migraine.



  • Research conducted by Richard Kraig, MD, PhD
  • Founded in 2016
  • Invested by the George Shultz Innovation Fund (Fall 2016)
  • Finalists at the 2018 Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge
  • Headquartered in Chicago, IL

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