CBC Accelerator Network (CBCAN) Meeting: Accelerator Award proposals round one

The Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC) stimulates collaboration among scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago to accelerate discovery that will transform biomedical research and improve the health of humankind.

In order to facilitate this, the CBC has launched a new Accelerator Award program to support translational research and provide university researchers with “early commercial guidance.” Accelerator Awards will be used to support the initial, and therefore highest risk, stage of commercially-directed research focused on the development of a therapeutic or an associated biomarker or diagnostic. The program is designed to encourage interactions between academic researchers and industry/pharmaceutical experts early in the development of projects and provide advice to award recipients in setting and progressing toward commercialization milestones. Award recipients will be mentored by faculty, industry experts, tech transfer officers and CBC personnel.

The program has drawn great interest from the community, with 32 Letters of Intent (LOIs) submitted covering a broad range of translational efforts toward therapeutics and/or their associated diagnostics or biomarkers.

From the initial 32 submissions, nine promising proposals were advanced to the live CBC Accelerator Network (CBCAN) presentation stage of the process after initial triage review by the Accelerator Review Board (ARB). The four LOIs presented at the February 1, 2018 CBCAN came from Arnon Lavie (UIC), Alexander Stegh (NU), Brian Layden (UIC) and Karl Scheidt (NU), and described novel approaches toward therapeutics for a range of cancer types as well as type 2 diabetes. Five additional proposals will be presented at a second CBCAN event on February 8.