February 7, 2012

Update on Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM)

The Technology Transfer Offices at UChicago, NU, UIC and iBIO Institute® co-founded and launched the Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM) in November 2010. CIM’s goal is to connect experienced entrepreneurs, executives and domain experts with innovative academic scientists whose research and associated technologies, has the potential to be commercialized. CIM is modeled after MIT’s highly successful Venture Mentor Service (VMS) and is being implemented in collaboration with VMS. Like VMS, CIM provides mentees confidentiality and advice untainted by conflicts of interest. Currently, CIM has matched 72 mentors with 29 active ventures. Every month, representatives from the founding institutions meet, and several entrepreneurs from these organizations present prospective ventures to mentors, some of whom volunteer to advise as the project moves out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.

Like the CBC, CIM was established to foster collaborative efforts in Chicago-based biomedical research. “You’re only as strong as your community,” says Alicia Löffler, executive director of INVO at Northwestern University. “We participate in CIM because one university alone does not have enough critical mass to attract key players, interested investors and potential partners. Together, however, local universities can not only benefit from each others’ points of view and complement each others’ strengths but, most importantly, make the entire region more attractive to researchers and investors.”

In July 2011, CBC made a $60,000 grant to CIM. These funds were used to hire Martha Wade, an experienced Operations Manager who works closely with John Flavin, the CIM Executive Director. “The CBC anticipates that CIM will continue to match entrepreneurial faculty at each campus with experienced mentors,” said Katie Stallcup, CBC Executive Director. “The ideal outcome will be the launch of several companies that will translate research discoveries into new biotech companies; companies that, we hope, will be established here in the Chicago area.”

Introducing the Chicago Innovation Mentors Fellowship Program
Friday, February 10, 2012, 4:00 PM, Biological Sciences Learning Center, Room 205, University of Chicago