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BIO Partners with the Center for Advancing Innovation in the Freedom from Cancer Startup Challenge

Tuesday, June 20, 2017  
Posted by: Caron Trumbo
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The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the world's largest biotech trade association, is teaming up with the Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI) to engage the biotech community and assist in promoting the Freedom from Cancer Startup Challenge (FCSC), a unique initiative designed to advance and commercialize 100 cancer inventions for the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer.

As CAI’s largest challenge to date, the FCSC has the potential to create as many as 10,000 knowledge-based jobs through at least 100 spin-out companies. BIO and CAI will introduce the initiative during the BIO International Convention in San Diego (June 19-22), the largest biotech conference in the world.

More than 80 percent of survival gains in cancer are attributable to new treatments and medicines. The FCSC seeks to nurture a pipeline of treatments that not only help patients lead longer, healthier lives, but also positively impact society and economies.

CAI will open enrollment to teams on August 1. Teams may be accepted on a rolling basis until December 29, the deadline for the first phase of challenge deliverables. To enter this challenge, or to learn more about it, visit the FCSC website.

The FCSC features inventions from the federal government and more than 40 universities and hospitals. Teams will enter the challenge to launch a company around each featured invention, to engage with world-class mentors, advisors and judges, and to learn from CAI’s virtual accelerator program. Teams will submit business plans and pitch their selected technologies to a multidisciplinary panel of judges from around the world. Each winning team, as determined by the judges, will create a company, license the invention, and pitch for seed funding. Any entrepreneurially-minded team with a commitment to making an impact is invited to enter through the FCSC landing page. CAI is also recruiting mentors, judges, and advisors for the FCSC.

BIO’s role in this initiative will be to help galvanize the biotech community to encourage them to participate as advisors, judges and mentors.

Jim Greenwood, BIO’s President and CEO, said, “CAI’s track record in launching Life Sciences startups is outstanding and the FCSC initiative further establishes a new paradigm to kick start new cancer companies and is a force multiplier for the oncology ecosystem. CAI’s systematic model establishes the trifecta necessary for high performing biotech companies - commercially viable inventions, rock star teams and funding - to get treatments to patients faster.”

CAI’s challenge-accelerator model has created 1200 knowledge-based jobs and launched more than 80 companies. Several of these companies have gone on to raise additional funding to move new therapies toward clinical trials.

Several organizations have contributed to CAI’s efforts. MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, has partnered with CAI to launch new cancer startups. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation has committed $1.2 million in funding towards the FCSC.

According to CAI Founder and CEO, Rosemarie Truman: “CAI is poised to positively disrupt the Life Sciences industry landscape through FCSC, another newly launched challenge focused on veterans’ health and future plans to commercialize thousands of high-impact technologies. In the immediate term, our team looks forward to driving the commercialization of cancer research into medicines that could make a significant impact on the quality of life of cancer patients and their families, reduce the economic burden of exorbitant cancer treatment costs, and perhaps free the world from cancer.”

In partnership with the VA Beach Economic Development Organization, a member of VA BIO, CAI is also launching a veteran focused biotech challenge.

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