Digital Health, Therapeutics Startups Selected for George Shultz Innovation Fund Finals

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The George Shultz Innovation Fund invests up to $250,000 in promising startups. (Image credit:

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago has announced the companies selected for the George Shultz Innovation Fund’s Fall 2022 cohort.

The George Shultz Innovation Fund, administered by the Polsky Center, provides up to $250,000 in co-investment funding for early-stage technology companies from the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab and the Marine Biological Laboratory.

“Founding and backing ventures takes inherent passion,” said Ozge Guney Altay, director of investment strategy at the Polsky Center, “and it’s passion that drives our programmatic efforts and enables us to bring our deep tech ventures to… positioning for success.”

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The mission is to help researchers transform their innovations into ventures that advance cutting-edge technologies, generate significant financial returns, and have a lasting impact on humanity.

The four participating teams receive guidance and dedicated support from the Polsky Center, business experts, an advisory committee, and student Innovation Fund Associates trained in venture capitalism.

Fall 2022 includes:

Alnair therapeutics // Alnair Therapeutics is developing a highly specific, lactate-targeted drug delivery platform for precision oncology.

  • Team: Xiaoyang Wu, CEO and CSO (Associate Professor in the Ben May Division of Cancer Research); Emily Chen, CFO (level MBA)

INOFFA therapeutics // INOFFA Therapeutics is developing a technology based on human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells to restore natural ovarian function in women with primary ovarian failure.

  • Team: Ayman Al-Hendy, CEO and Scientific Director (Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology); Mohammad Ghasroldasht, COO (postdoctoral researcher at Al-Hendy Lab); Farzana Begum Liakath Ali, CSO (postdoctoral researcher at Al-Hendy Lab); Hiba Alkelani, CMO (Clinical Research Coordinator at Al-Hendy Lab).

Riptide therapeutics // Riptide Therapeutics is developing a novel therapeutic targeting telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) as a therapeutic sensitizer for cancer treatments.

  • Team: Stephen KronScientific Director (Professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology; Grant Frost, Commercial Director and Chief Chemist (Postdoctoral Fellow at Kron Lab); Karl ScheidtScientific Director (Professor, Department of Chemistry and Department of Pharmacology at Northwestern University)

Adion // Adiona is a digital health startup using novel algorithms developed at UChicago to translate wearable data into insights about symptoms that can help family members more easily care for someone with dementia at home.

  • Team: Jim MastrianniChief Physician and Science to lead (Professor of Neurology at UChicago Hospital and Director of the UChicago Memory Center); Josh Kim, CEO and General Manager (student, UChicago Economics, Dougan Scholar at Booth); Varun Patel, COO (UChicago Molecular Engineering and Neuroscience Alumni; MS student, UCSF/Berkeley Translational Medicine); Katherine Sylvester, CTO (student, Yale Statistics and Data Science)


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