I am pleased to announce the formation of the Weill Cornell Medical College Daedalus Fund for Innovation, an exciting new program designed to advance early stage applied and translational research projects that have commercial potential. The core objective is to bridge the post-discovery/pre-commercial development gap and accelerate meritorious projects to the point at which they would be considered “partnership ready”, i.e., attractive opportunities for collaboration and partnering with industry, and strong candidates for licensing.
I believe that Weill Cornell has a unique opportunity—indeed, one might say a special obligation—to foster and expedite the development of nascent discoveries that can benefit the public. The Daedalus Fund is an expression of our commitment to ensure that greater numbers of research projects and promising new technologies at WCMC progress to the point where they become viable investment-grade opportunities and, ultimately, we hope, new therapies that will benefit patients and society at large.
As you know, establishing proof-of-concept is considered essential to attract investment and development partners from industry and the venture community. The Daedalus Fund will provide support for key critical path experiments aimed at generating the kind of proof-of-concept and validation data necessary to build value around embryonic technologies and early stage research projects, which will help us to grow the number and quality of industrial partners and collaborations with industry.
Initially, recipients of Daedalus funding will be selected once per year through an internal RFP process. In order to help us select the most promising projects for funding in the most unbiased manner possible, I am appointing an independent advisory committee comprising recognized scientific and thought leaders drawn from the biopharma industry, the venture capital community and the Weill Cornell faculty. I am delighted that our colleague, Dr. Hazel Szeto, has agreed to serve on the advisory committee. Other members of the committee will be announced shortly.
The advisory committee will utilize well-established, stringent criteria to help select the most competitive and impactful proposals for funding. The committee will also help to oversee and assess progress of the funded projects, which will be milestone-driven and designed to reach specified value-inflection points. In order to be eligible for funding, one must have a faculty appointment at WCMC and be a full-time employee of the Medical College.
Two-page pre-proposals for the first round of the Daedalus Fund will be accepted through February 19, 2014. In order to apply, please download the complete Daedalus Fund Guidelines, eligibility criteria and application. The members of the advisory committee will also be posted here, as will announcements of Daedalus Fund awardees.
The Daedalus Fund will be managed by Larry Schlossman, head of our office of BioPharma Alliances and Research Collaborations. If you have any questions about the Daedalus Fund or the application process, please don't hesitate to contact Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to maximum participation in this new program aimed at helping you to progress and translate your research. I encourage you to apply for funding and wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.
Laurie H. Glimcher, M.D.
The Stephen & Suzanne Weiss Dean
Provost for Medical Affairs
Weill Cornell Medical College