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George Shultz Innovation Fund invests $600,000 in biotech companies

nuBorn Medical presents their plan during the Fall 2018 George Shultz Innovation Fund Finals at the Polsky Center. Photo by Jean Lachat.

The George Shultz Innovation Fund announced its plans to invest up to $600,000 in three biotechnology companies – nuBorn Medical, Polaris Genomics, and QMIS. This round of investments brings the Shultz Innovation Fund’s total investments to over $7 million in 61 projects.

Four finalists presented their proposals to the Innovation Fund advisory committee, which includes leading investors and entrepreneurs from a variety of technological and scientific fields, at the Fall Finals on Thursday, December 6. Over 180 students, faculty, alumni, and members of Chicago’s entrepreneurial and investing community listened to teams present their biotechnology ideas ranging from infection prevention using technology that collaborates with the microbiome to developing a smart baby bottle system and improving patient care to an MRI software tool.

“This year’s finalists were some of the most exciting we’ve seen to date,” said Jason Pariso, director of the George Shultz Innovation Fund. “They are tackling pervasive issues that impact millions each day and we’re excited to be a stepping stone to help bring these ideas to market.”

The Shultz Innovation Fund, which is managed by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, invests in promising technologies and startups created by current faculty, students, and staff of the University as well as Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory. The Innovation Fund fills a critical gap in venture funding, providing early capital often otherwise unavailable to bring groundbreaking ideas to market. Applicants to the Fund receive expert feedback from a committee of industry leaders, both internal and external to the University of Chicago—distinguished angel and venture capital investors, scientists, and entrepreneurs—to help them move their projects forward and create lasting impact.

The following teams will receive investments from this cycle:

nuBorn Medical will be awarded up to $200,000 to continue the creation of a smart baby bottle system used to diagnose feeding problems in preterm infants. The non-invasive device will allow objective, clinically significant, and actionable data to be gathered much earlier than current methods. The team is affiliated through the Chicago Booth School of Business and is comprised of Kyle Dahlstrom, Katlyn McGrattan (PI), and John Lindsay. nuBorn Medical is also an Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge alum.

Polaris Genomics will be awarded up to $200,000 to develop next-generation liquid biopsy technologies that can be used to rapidly diagnose diseases, improve patient care, and deliver upon the promise of personalized medicine. The team is affiliated through the department of chemistry and is comprised of Chuan He (PI), Peyman Hosseinchi, Liang Li, Jason Karpus, Diana West-Szymanski, and Shyama Majumdar.

QMIS will be awarded up to $200,000 for its novel MRI software for prostate cancer detection that creates a heat map of potential cancer. The tool utilizes new research in image acquisition and interpretation to guide biopsies, detecting prostate cancer earlier and more effectively than ever before. The team is affiliated through the department of radiology and is comprised of Greg Karczmar (PI), Aytekin Oto (PI), Patrick Mohan, and Aditi Jayaraman.

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