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A Track Record of Success

Ten to fifteen years is too long for a person with a life-threatening illness to wait for a new treatment or cure, yet that is the average timeframe for potential new drugs to make it to the marketplace. Identifying the underlying cause of a disease is the first step in the drug discovery process.

In the past decade alone, Institute faculty have:

  • Made revolutionary discoveries, based on the convergence of chemistry, physics, engineering and life sciences, for detection and treatment of cancer, infertility, common and rare neurodegenerative diseases, and imaging and manipulation of cell behavior
  • Advanced 75 new drug candidates, medical devices, and diagnostics, collectively, toward clinical trials, including a new class of drugs to treat epilepsy, new compounds for psychiatric treatment, therapeutics for Wilson’s disease, and improved treatment for macular degeneration
  • Spun out 27 new companies have spun out of the Institute and received external investments exceeding $2 billion

And the Institute has:

  • Acquired more than 50 new instruments and created new services to accelerate transdisciplinary research
  • Developed new 21st century curricula and activities to support development of next gen scientists working across disciplinary boundaries to address the big questions in biomedical research
  • Raised more than $50 million in new external funding to support these efforts

Attracting Early Stage Investment

Chemistry of Life Processes Institute partners with investment firms to introduce the translational research of some our most innovative faculty members to early stage biotech/pharma investors and industry leaders. These programs ensure continued financial support from the investment community that in turn drives future scientific exploration and innovation. 

In May 2020, CLP hosted its second annual  ‘Biotech Summit by the Lake,’ Investor Summit, supported by Oppeneheimer & Co. and BioCentury, Inc.  Each year, the conference draws hundreds of investors, venture firms, and biopharma industry executives from across the US and beyond who want to learn more about Northwestern’s most translatable innovations and discoveries. 

Following the 2019 conference, Oppenheimer’s biotech research analysts published an industry report highlighting CLP’s growing reputation as a biotech incubator and major hub for drug discovery and development in the Chicago-region.


CLP Institute’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, one of the first academic programs of its kind in the nation, helps move discoveries out of the lab and into clinics. 

William Sargent, PhD, provides mentoring in the drug development process, from initiation to FDA marketing approval, to interested researchers across campus looking to explore commercialization. Bill has over 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry, preceded by 10 years as an independent researcher in academia.  He is available on both the Chicago and Evanston campuses to consult with faculty, students and staff interested in developing potential therapies emerging from their translational research.

Learn About Academic Drug Development

Translation News

New Insight Into Mumps, Flu and RSV

New Insight Into Mumps, Flu and RSV

Northwestern University researchers have, for the first time, determined the 3D atomic structure of a key complex in paramyxoviruses, a family of viruses that includes mumps, human parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This information could help others...

Companies Founded by CLP Faculty

Founder: Andrew Mazar
Co-Founders: Francis Giles, Andrey Ugolkov

Founder: William Klein
Co-Founder: Grant Krafft

Founder: Richard Silverman

Founder: Vadim Backman
Co-Founders: Andrew Cittadine, Michael Goldberg, Hemant K. Roy

Founder: Lonnie Shea
Co-Founder: Stephen Miller

Founders: Steven E. Johnson, Ming Zhao

Founder: Colby Thaxton
Co-Founder: Chad Mirkin

Founder: Neil Kelleher
Co-Founder: Phil Compton

Founder: Richard Silverman
Co-Founder: Pfizer

Founder: Neil Kelleher
Co-Founder: Regan Thomson

Founder: Andrew Mazar
Co-Founders: Thomas O’Halloran, Andrey Ugolkov

Founder: Vadim Backman
Co-Founders: Hemant K. Roy, Hariharan Subramanian

Founder: Phillip Messersmith

Founder: Thomas Meade

Founders: Cheng Sun, Hao Zheng

Founder: Olga Volpert
Co-Founder: Jack Henkin

Founder: Thomas Meade

Founder: Vadim Backman

Founder: Thomas O’Halloran
Co-Founder: Chandler Robinson

Founder: Karl Scheidt
Co-Founder: Raymond Bergan

Founder: Richard Silverman
Co-Founders: Dmitri Krainc

Founder: Jack Henkin
Co-Founders: Andrew Mazar, Olga Volpert

Founder: Guillermo Ameer
Co-Founders: Melina R. Kibbe, Antonio Webb

Founder: Thomas O’Halloran
Co-Founder: Robert Schotzinger

Northwestern Partners in Entrepreneurship

Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO)

INVO catalyzes the translation of Northwestern innovations to benefit the public and promote economic growth. In order to maximize that outcome, Northwestern follows important principles when licensing university technology.

NewCures Fund

NewCures is a Northwestern initiative that focuses on accelerating biomedical research from early discovery stages to more advanced clinical stages for the benefit of the patients. The NewCures Fund aligns with existing resources to propel promising therapies towards commercialization.

Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) advise and assist faculty and students who are launching startups and commercializing IP. They are a resource for developing business concepts, making contacts with the market, connecting to investors, and forming organizational frameworks.

Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC)

The CBC stimulates collaboration among researchers at Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and others to accelerate discovery that transforms biomedical research and improves the health of humankind.