Polsky Center to Support New Biopharma Hub Funded by $10.4 Million Investment

The hub brings together nine local institutions, including the University of Chicago at which the Polsky Center is responsible for advancing entrepreneurship and research commercialization activities.

The Chicago Biomedical Consortium Hub for Innovative Technology and Entrepreneurship in the Sciences (CBC-HITES) will help academic inventors translate their research into commercial products.

CBC-HITES joins 13 hubs that are part of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REAC Hub) program, which is focused on bringing basic science discoveries to market.

The NIH has awarded the new hub a $4 million grant to support its activities. This is joined by $6 million in support from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust and $400,000 from the Walder Foundation – totaling $10.4 million in funding.

CBC-HITES is backed by the talent, methodologies, networks, and infrastructure put in place by the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC), a research consortium between the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois Chicago, and Northwestern. It recently received an additional $13.5 million from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust to scale its support for the life sciences and biotech community.

“Building on infrastructure developed by the CBC, the new REAC hub connects Chicago medical scientists from nine institutions with the expertise and network they need to develop their ideas into biotech applications,” said Michelle Hoffmann, executive director of the CBC, who will assume a similar role at CBC-HITES.

In addition to these nine academic institutions, including the University of Chicago, the hub brings together the collective power of 27 industry, venture capital, and community organizations.

“We are firm believers in the power of collaborative efforts such as this new biopharma hub.”

– Samir Mayekar, associate vice president and managing director of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

“Expanding access to clinical and regulatory expertise, additional seed funding, and other resources will amplify the Polsky Center’s mission of bringing new ideas and breakthrough innovations to the market,” added Mayekar

The Polsky Center – which combines the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’s entrepreneurship capabilities together with the University’s technology transfer and commercialization function – supports faculty innovators through various programs and funding mechanisms, including the recently launched Deep Tech Ventures initiative.

“The new hub will help us further support myriad clinical, scientific, and community needs – ensuring that the right resources are available to quickly translate breakthrough discoveries into the real world to improve health care for all,” said Julian Solway, Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Family Medicine, Dean for Translational Medicine at the University of Chicago, and Director, Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM).

Fueled by almost $35 million in grants from the NIH, the ITM is a partnership between the University of Chicago and Rush in collaboration with Advocate Aurora Health, the Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech), Loyola University Chicago, and NorthShore University HealthSystem

“Chicago is rich with medical innovators, and they need seed funding, guidance from expert networks, and input from venture capital,” said Hoffmann. “Advancing methods we developed in the CBC, CBC-HITES will organize a professional venture board, project management, as well as clinical, industry, and community partners. We will use federal resources provided through the REAC program, including access to FDA and CMS experts, we will help move scientific discoveries from the university toward commercialization, eventually building businesses here in Chicago.”

CBC-HITES will also expand on the CBC’s entrepreneurial fellow program, which trains junior scientific talent who plan to work in the Chicagoland ecosystem to commercialize early inventions.

// The Chicago Biomedical Consortium was launched in 2006 with an annual grant award from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust. To date, more than $76 million has been invested into CBC initiatives to promote Chicago’s biomedical community, resulting in more than 323 awards granted, over 2,715 research papers published, six national research centers established and over $920 million dedicated to research funding. Learn more about the CBC at chicagobiomedicalconsortium.org.

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