In this blog post, Jonathan Lui*, Managing Director for the Center for Advancing Innovation, clears up some confusion and gives a sneak peek into CAI’s newest competition, the Freedom from Cancer Startup Challenge.
We’re the CAI, not the CIA. It’s ok. We get that a lot!
While seemingly dissimilar, there are several important items the CIA has in common with us. Let’s clarify.
Wikipedia.com’s definition of the CIA:
“The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the United States federal government, tasked with gathering, processing and analyzing national security information from around the world, primarily through the use of human intelligence (HUMINT).”
Wikipedia.com’s definition of the CAI:
“The Center for Advancing Innovation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Bethesda, Maryland focused on accelerating technology transfer and commercialization.”
We do have few things in common with the CIA: the use of human intelligence to gather, process, and analyze information from around the world, in the CIA’s case to protect and prevent bad things from happening; and in the CAI’s case to proactively launch good things. CAI was created with a mission to identify breakthrough federally-funded inventions and maximize their commercial potential to create high-growth companies, amplify and galvanize entrepreneurial ecosystems, and produce knowledge-based jobs.
The United States has encountered a moment of truth, a point in time where the courage and skill of our people should be put to the test. There is a real chance that, despite our many advantages, we will lose our innovation lead through self-inflicted wounds. CAI’s analysis has shown that across the United States alone, more than 150,000 federally-funded inventions are available to be commercialized yet many are collecting dust due to seemingly insurmountable barriers. At the CAI, we diligently work to change the status of these promising inventions, bringing them to market in order to impact the world in areas where we need them most. In particular, the world needs new cancer treatments. The cost of cancer globally is nearly $1 trillion dollars; in the US, by 2020, cancer will cost $158 billion. Drugs alone cost on average $256,000 per patient, per year, and cost of care is estimated to increase by 30% by 2020. Approximately 20% of $131 billion in the US federal R&D expenditures are spent yearly on cancer research to address this issue.
CAI under the Microscope
By pairing mature and de-risked inventions with aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs, CAI overcomes barriers to commercialization and accelerates technologies to market. CAI has orchestrated four startup challenges to date: the Breast Cancer Startup Challenge, the Neuro Startup Challenge, and the Nanotechnology Startup Challenge in Cancer, each with the National Institutes of Health, as well as the SPACE RACE, carried out with NASA. Through these challenges, CAI has trained more than 2000 entrepreneurs and launched over 58 startups, including the award-winning OneTest Diagnostics, Angio360, Pro-Arc Diagnostics, and Oncolinx, winner of the world’s largest startup investment prize ($1M from the state of New York). CAI startups are impacting many areas, including breast cancer, brain disorders, rare diseases, nanoscience, digital health, renewable energy, security, and more. In our newly launched competition, CAI is our endeavoring our most ambitious goal to date: creating 100 new companies to free the world from cancer.
Freedom from Cancer: Making the Impossible, Possible
To drive commercialization of cancer inventions, CAI has teamed up with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s biologics arm, to launch the Freedom from Cancer Startup Challenge (FCSC). The FCSC seeks to improve the standard-of-care for cancer treatments, reduce the economic burden of cancer treatment costs, and alleviate the pain and heartache of loved ones with cancer by commercializing cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices. Cancer is not simply one disease. Cancer is a group of diseases with numerous causes, which are largely mysterious at the molecular and cellular level. There is no silver bullet, and there is no magic pill to “cure” cancer. Liberating the world from cancer will require a multidisciplinary approach, wherein teams of scientists, engineers, business people, and attorneys with entrepreneurial spirit create solutions to the many pain points in the cancer space. One team is not enough. The 100 winning teams from the FCSC will be greater together than they would be alone. Together with top inventions and passionate founders, these teams have the potential to truly defeat cancer.
Calling all Innovators
The Freedom from Cancer Startup Challenge is offering a unique opportunity for universities, hospitals, and federal labs to include their most promising cancer treatments and portfolios in the competition. After analyzing technology entries from around the world, CAI and our world-class selection committee will choose 100 inventions to make available for licensing by FCSC winners. Interested organizations and inventors can submit their invention(s) on the CAI submissions webpage here: http://www.thecenterforadvancinginnovation.org/submit-inventions.html
CAI isn’t just looking for the best ideas. We are looking for the most talented people, whom have the “Entrepreneur DNA” to build sustainable and impactful companies. Participation in the FCSC and other CAI challenges is free and virtual. Answer the call, organize your team, and enroll today.
Jonathan Lui, Managing Director, CAI