Press Release

Nov 7, 2023

New Chicago biopharma hub will accelerate timeline from medical discovery to patient delivery

CHICAGO Nov. 7, 2023 – A new partnership funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will help Chicago’s leading academic biomedical researchers deliver innovative treatments and technologies to patients faster. The Chicago Biomedical Consortium Hub for Innovative Technology and Entrepreneurship in the Sciences (CBC-HITES) will help Chicago’s academic inventors partner with biopharma leaders to transform their research into commercial products.

CBC-HITES is one of 13 hubs that are now part of the NIH’s Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REAC Hub) program. The new hub will be funded by a $10.4 million investment, including $6 million in support from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, a $4 million grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health, and $400,000 by the Walder Foundation. In partnership with 27 industry, venture capital and community organizations, CBC-HITES is unprecedented in the Chicago ecosystem and will accelerate the discoveries of medical scientists from nine Chicago institutions:

  • Northwestern University
  • The University of Chicago
  • The University of Illinois Chicago
  • The Discovery Partners Institute
  • The Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Loyola University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Rosalind Franklin University
  • Rush University

CBC-HITES leverages talent, methodologies, networks and infrastructure developed by the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC), a research consortium between Northwestern, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois Chicago, funded by the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust.

“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 PhD, Executive Director of the CBC and who will assume a similar role at CBC-HITES. 

Hoffmann is joined by Principal Investigator Satish Nadig, MD, PhD director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Northwestern Medicine which is housing the center. 

According to Nadig, a surgeon-scientist,  “the goal is to get innovative treatments from discovery to patient delivery faster, and we needed a way to teach medical inventors about that process. We’re helping patients and expanding the Chicago-based life sciences ecosystem at the same time through this unprecedented collaborative effort.” 

While Chicagoland universities took in $5.8 billion in NIH funding between 2017 and 2022, according to CBC numbers, Chicagoland biotech companies do not receive the same level of private venture capital funding as their coastal counterparts, according to numbers from the CBC. By helping innovators move past the dreaded “valley of death,” CBC-HITES will help attract more professional capital.

“Chicago is rich with medical innovators, and they need seed funding, guidance from expert networks, and input from venture capital,” 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 REACH 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 that trains Midwestern junior scientific talent to commercialize early inventions in exchange for a pledge to work in the Chicagoland ecosystem after the fellowship. 

“Through CBC-HITES, we’re training young scientific talent who will continue to serve the community,” Hoffmann said.

To learn more about Northwestern Medicine, visit

About the CBC 

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

About Walder Foundation

The Walder Foundation was established by Joseph and Elizabeth Walder to address critical issues impacting our world. The Foundation’s five areas of focus—science innovation, environmental sustainability, the performing arts, migration and immigrant communities, and Jewish life—are an extension of the Walders’ lifelong passions, interests, and their personal and professional experiences. Learn more about the Walder Foundation at  . 

Additional Press Coverage

Axios Exclusive: Chicago area gets $10 million for new biotech hub

ChicagoInno New Chicago biopharma hub gets NIH funding to bring local innovation to market

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

Northwestern Medicine New Chicago Biopharma Hub Will Accelerate Timeline from Medical Discovery to Patient Delivery and Newsroom

UIC Today UIC joins new biopharma hub to help commercialize research discoveries

Loyola University Newsroom Loyola University Chicago Joins New Biopharma Hub Funded by the National Institute of Health

The Daily Northwestern New medical hub combines efforts of nine Chicago institutions to facilitate delivery of medical innovations to patients and Campus News

Healthbeat New Hub Will Accelerate Medical Discoveries