Launched by the late Daniel C. Searle, the consortium is a collaboration between Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago aimed at spurring interdisciplinary research to improve human health. The Searle Funds' latest commitment, which includes $5 million to be distributed in 2017, will support Phase 2 efforts to foster a culture of entrepreneurship among university researchers. New initiatives will include the CBC Accelerator Network, a forum for academic and industry scientists to discuss commercialization ideas; the CBC Accelerator Awards, which will provide funding and early commercial guidance to translational research projects; and the CBC Entrepreneurial Postdoctoral Fellowship program, which will support young researchers interested in working in Chicago's biotech startup space.
Since 2006, the consortium has awarded nearly $50 million in support of risk-taking discovery science — including drug discovery, epigenetics, biomedical engineering, proteomics, and systems biology — leading to increased understanding of the biology underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, autism, leukemia, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease.
"We're pleased to continue to support the CBC as it enters Phase 2, where it will apply the values of collaboration to strengthen connections within our biomedical ecosystem, build a stronger pipeline for discoveries to reach the marketplace and strengthen the entrepreneurial culture within the universities around life sciences," said Renee Michaels, vice president of the Searle family's Kinship Foundation.
"The CBC is an engine for innovation, powered by the brilliant faculty of three world-class institutions," said Chicago Community Trust president and CEO Terry Mazany. "It is this level of innovation that will distinguish cities competitive in the twenty-first century."