CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The PROPEL® Center at the iBIO® Institute today announced that its active PROPEL portfolio companies, all life sciences startups, raised $80 million in new funding during 2016, bringing the total raised to more than $265 million since PROPEL launched nearly 10 years ago, in June 2007. This represents a 78% increase from the previous record of $45 million raised in 2015.
Recognizing the continued impact of PROPEL’s work, the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust made a 2017 gift of up to $800,000 to PROPEL, bringing its total donations to more than $3 million.
PROPEL helps guide the development of formation-stage and early-stage life sciences companies by providing entrepreneurs with access to specialized resources and expertise to prepare them for early-stage funding. Ongoing support from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, among other donors, has allowed PROPEL to strengthen its many programs, including direct grants and awards to its portfolio companies. In the last nine years, PROPEL has awarded more than $1.2 million to its companies, funding that has a strong leverage effect. For each $1 that PROPEL has awarded, PROPEL companies have raised $214 in new funding.
“PROPEL is enabling early-stage life science companies to commercialize innovation and discovery of products that improve health outcomes for patients,” said Warren Ribley, President and CEO of the iBIO Institute. “PROPEL provides crucial support for companies that face tremendous odds against success. The $80 million raised in 2016 reflects the quality of these startups and the positive impact of PROPEL programs.”
PROPEL programs include coaching and mentoring, technical assistance, workshops, networking events, mock investor pitch sessions, grant and award programs, business plan competition and several publications. PROPEL collaborates with other organizations in the entrepreneurial community to ensure that appropriate programs exist for every stage of the startup cycle.
“PROPEL provides a valuable and much needed set of resources for bioscience entrepreneurs to turn their passions into products and opportunities,” said Renee Michaels, vice president of Kinship Foundation, a private operating foundation established to advance the Searle family’s institutional philanthropy. “Chicago is home to some of the country’s leading research institutions. With the resources provided by PROPEL, ideas from the lab can become viable businesses, producing devices and therapeutics that will improve lives and health outcomes and help drive economic growth for the region.”
“For nearly 10 years, PROPEL is strengthening our region’s role as a life sciences innovation hub, building both successful life sciences entrepreneurs and small businesses, critical to our regional economy. We are thrilled to continue our support of PROPEL through the generosity of the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust,” said Terry Mazany, President & CEO of The Chicago Community Trust.
Since 2007, PROPEL has helped over 100 companies. One of those companies is Chicago-based Innoblative, a medical device company focused on advanced energy devices for cancer surgery. Innoblative’s technology, originally spun out of Northwestern University, uses saline-coupled radiofrequency energy to treat the surgical site of cancer patients, aiming to help reduce unnecessary reoperations and radiation.
Since joining PROPEL in 2014, Innoblative has taken advantage of many programs, resources and networking opportunities that PROPEL offers. Innoblative has received grants from PROPEL for regulatory planning assistance and to attend key conferences, and a PROPEL Milestone Award, among other support.
“PROPEL has been there for Innoblative every step of the way; from when we first spun the company out of Northwestern University, to when we raised our first round of capital, to now,” said Innoblative CEO Tyler Wanke.
Barbara Goodman, senior vice president of PROPEL, appreciates the ongoing recognition and support from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust. “It’s so fulfilling to watch PROPEL companies achieve commercialization milestones, attract more funding and make progress on launching their technologies. This grant from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust allows PROPEL to continue building our life sciences startups and entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
About the iBIO Institute: The mission of the iBIO Institute is to orchestrate business leadership in delivery of world-class educational programs and job-creating new technology ventures.
About the iBIO Institute’s PROPEL Center: The mission of the Institute’s PROPEL Center is to increase the number and success rate of early-stage life sciences companies in Illinois. PROPEL gives entrepreneurs access to specialized resources and expertise and prepares them for early-stage funding.