Elizabeth McMath joins the Chicago Biomedical Consortium

Elizabeth McMath, senior director of new program innovation and entrepreneurship at the Chicago Biomedical Consortium. (Photo: Chicago Biomedical Consortium)

Elizabeth McMath has joined the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, a research and education collaboration of the University of Illinois Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, as the senior director of new program innovation and entrepreneurship.

McMath brings extensive experience in the evaluation of new therapies and biomedical innovation, most recently as director of global search and evaluation at Novartis. There, she built the deal pipeline for clinical stage programs addressing severe genetic diseases including innovative gene therapies as part of the former AveXis, now Novartis Gene Therapies business unit.

Bringing industry perspectives and rigorous evaluation methodologies, McMath will be responsible for driving the CBC’s analysis of cutting-edge biomedical applications sourced from member universities. Critical to these analyses is the Entrepreneurial Fellows Award program, a signature CBC program that McMath will oversee and which was developed in partnership with P33, a privately funded nonprofit charged with elevating Chicagoland’s innovation economy and driving inclusive economic growth.

“Chicago’s life sciences ecosystem is poised to grow rapidly, and the expertise housed at the CBC will be integral. As a partner to CBC’s mission to inclusively grow Chicago’s life sciences ecosystem, we are excited for Dr. McMath to lead the Entrepreneurial Fellows program and help fund some of our best potential applications. Applying industry frameworks to early science commercialization and working with our great scientists will help ensure that the region retains the value of our world class research,” said Brad Henderson, CEO of P33.

The CBC helps commercialize university life sciences projects with $250,000 Accelerator Awards that help traverse the biotech “Valley of Death” between government and venture capital funding. To pick the most promising university projects, the CBC’s Entrepreneurial Fellows, supervised by McMath, perform industry grade due diligence, and confirm funding recommendations with a volunteer board of venture capitalists from 14 different Life Sciences funds. With McMath’s guidance and VC feedback, EFs learn to evaluate academic projects from an industry perspective, a critical skill in Chicagoland’s growing life sciences sector.

The EF program seeks to retain some of the best early career, biomedical research science talent — a diverse group of MDs, PhDs, PharmDs — to work in Chicago’s biotech sector. Fellows receive a generous salary and benefits as they learn on-the-job to evaluate the potential of academic projects to translate to society and US Healthcare markets. After their fellowship, fellows have pledged to work in the Chicagoland ecosystem, building Chicagoland’s life sciences capabilities. By building an inclusive program, P33 and CBC intend to seed the Chicago life sciences ecosystem with diverse life sciences talent.        

Prior to Novartis, McMath advised life sciences companies on commercialization and growth strategy at bioStrategies Group, a Chicago-based, boutique consulting firm. McMath received a doctoral degree in genetics from the University of Wisconsin and completed her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University.

Launched in 2006, the CBC is funded by the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust and represents an unprecedented collaboration across three universities each of which is its own biomedical colossus: the University of Illinois Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago  

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