Four UChicago Projects Advance in Chicago Biomedical Consortium Accelerator


The latest cohort of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium Accelerator Network (CBCAN) program includes four teams from the University of Chicago.

“This is the greatest number of UChicago projects to advance to the finalist pool since the inception of the Accelerator Award program,” said Nancy Tyrrell, associate director of translational activities at the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC). Tyrrell said this success is due to information sessions held on the UChicago campus earlier this year, which helped get the word out.

Robert Okabe, venture development principal at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and several faculty members participated. Okabe said the grants help “researchers make progress toward closing the ‘valley of death’ between lab science and commercially viable technologies.”

“Researchers who present their discoveries at CBC Accelerator events receive a lot of helpful feedback that informs their work from scientific and commercial perspectives,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to continue scientific commercialization in an economic environment where pre-seed and seed money may become even harder to find.”

The mission of the CBC is to stimulate collaboration among scientists at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and others to accelerate discovery that will transform biomedical research and improve the health of humankind. The CBCAN, which was launched in 2018, provides funding opportunities for early-stage therapeutic technologies. The finalists are eligible to receive up to $250,000 in funding – $100,000 for the first year and, if they reach certain goals and milestones, $150,000 for a second year.

Twenty-eight teams in March submitted applications, which were reviewed before the final 12 teams were chosen. Earlier this month, the first six teams presented. Tonight, the remaining final pitches will be heard.

The eight minutes presentations are followed by 10 minutes of question and answer, during which the presenters receive feedback and comments about their work. “The Q&A is about the science and helping the presenters improve the translational potential of their project,” said Tyrrell.

In June, the teams will submit their full proposals, addressing the feedback from these meetings, for final review by the Accelerator review board. The aim is to further demonstrate the potential for translation and better position the science to attract other investors.

The review board will in August announce those who will receive full funding – generally around four teams. Those teams that do not receive full funding are still eligible for a grant, which is usually up to $30,000, to further develop their ideas and, hopefully, set them up for success in the next program round.

Current UChicago researchers participating in the Accelerator Award program:

// Due to the early-stage of the research, the presentations are confidential. CBC requires all CBCAN participants and attendees to sign a confidentiality agreement that is included on the registration form.

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