WhiteCityNews Podcast with Gretchen Johnson, President & CEO, TRACT Therapeutics, Inc.


I had the chance to sit down with Chicago serial entrepreneur, Gretchen Johnson. We talked about her new company TRACT Therapeutics, how a unquenchable desire for challenge has driven her career, and Gretchen shares her advice to current and would-be entrepreneurs.

Framing Up Capital Efficiency In Early Stage Biotech

Originally posted on Forbes


Capital efficiency has become a mantra at Atlas, one shared by a number of other early stage biotech investors. It’s a term often repeated in discussions about building young companies, and yet it has become clear that there’s no consistent definition of what the term means.

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5 considerations for potential bootstrappers


Dreams of starting your own business are often filled with fantasies of coming up with a great idea, and venture capital firms fighting to fund it for you.

But as Bill Reichert of Garage Technology Ventures puts it: “The odds of raising venture capital are equal to the odds of getting struck by lightning while standing on the bottom of a swimming pool on a sunny day.”

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Growing an Illinois VC community, our neighbors may provide a model



A July 5th article in Crain’s Chicago, “Plant venture seeds with Midwest capital” claimed that all of the seeds are in place to make Chicago a hub of entrepreneurial innovation.

Illinois does have globally competitive universities; big corporations investing in innovation; a raft of business incubators and accelerator programs; serial entrepreneurs eager to mentor and mentoring programs to leverage this new pool of entrepreneurs; government partners willing to lend a hand; recognized Chicago-grown companies drawing investor interest and serving as a proving ground for young talent; and enthusiastic early stage investors who want to help founders develop their ideas.

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How an inventor’s trying to cut the cost of making biological drugs

Therapeutic Protein's CEO, Sarfaraz K. Niazi

Therapeutic Protein’s CEO, Sarfaraz K. Niazi

The 2010 Affordable Care Act created a shorter licensing path for lower-cost versions of cell-derived drugs called biologics. Sarfaraz Niazi is working to get among the first of these substitute drugs called biosimilars approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A former Abbott Labs scientist and University of Illinois at Chicago professor, Niazi is founder, chairman and CEO of Therapeutic Proteins International LLC in Chicago. He shares how he’s taking the cost out of manufacturing biological drugs and provides advice on being a better inventor.

Read the interview on BlueSky Innovation

Funding Options for Life Science Companies

Are you thinking about what you need to fund your company? Where do you start? Funding is not “one size fits all”. Every company has to approach their pathway to funding with a unique approach. Join our fundraising experts for an in-depth discussion of what options you have for funding and how to decide which paths are right for you and your company. We’ll have a specific focus on life science focused companies and technologies and the funding choices available.
-Jeremy Halpern, Nutter McClennen & Fish
-Yumin Choi, HLM Venture Partners
-Paul Hartung, Cognoptix, Inc

What you should do, after your first big exit…



As exits have been flowing nicely again the past few years, many of the entrepreneurs I work with have experienced their first big exit.

I refer to this moment as when you find that you have life changing money in your bank account, which I like to call “fuck you money.” You now can do whatever you want with the rest of your life.

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