The University of Chicago announced a $100M gift from The Duchossois Family Foundation to the University of Chicago to establish The Duchossois Family Institute, which seeks to accelerate research that combines genetics, immunology and microbiome to create 'new science of wellness'.
The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the venture creation and technology commercialization engine at the University of Chicago, will oversee the Institute’s new Research Incubator/Accelerator and will embed a team of experts within the Institute, a new model for the University of Chicago of integrating research and commercialization efforts. The Polsky Center will work closely with scientists studying the microbiome to speed up the translation of this research from the University for the benefit of all humankind.
“We are already seeing the life-changing effects that microbiome research can have on society,” said John Flavin, Associate Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago and head of the Polsky Center. “The institute enables us to provide dedicated entrepreneurial resources for our microbiome scientists to help them advance their early stage discoveries and inventions that have potential for significant positive social and economic impact. That means their research can be quickly developed and deployed into treatments dedicated to improving human health.”
These efforts build on the existing success of the Polsky Center in commercializing microbiome discoveries:
• In 2015, the University licensed UChicago researcher Tom Gajewski’s microbiome-based immuno-oncology technology to Flagship Ventures-backed startup Evelo Therapeutics
• During the last year, the Polsky Center has helped researchers launch two new microbiome companies: Gusto Global, which uses research by UChicago researchers John Alverdy and Jack Gilbert to develop treatments for sepsis, and ClostraBio, a startup by UChicago researchers Cathy Nagler and Jeff Hubbell dedicated to developing treatments for food allergies
• The Polsky Center is also incubating AVnovum, a new company based on research from the lab of Dr. Eugene Chang that is working to prevent infections and improve the quality of life for cancer patients and other immunocompromised patients
• ClostraBio and AVnovum are competing for funding in the Polsky Center’s Innovation Fund finals on May 31. And ClostraBio was selected yesterday as a finalist to compete in the Polsky Center’s nationally-ranked New Venture Challenge finals on June 1
LIVE PRESS CONFERENCE: Wednesday, May 24, 2017
The University of Chicago will host a press conference today at 9:45 a.m. CT to share more information about this new Institute. John Flavin will be featured on a panel with entrepreneurial faculty who have worked or are working with the Polsky Center to advance their research. I invite you to tune in live:
This announcement has already garnered press coverage, which highlights the Polsky Center’s role.