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The iBIO Institute Announces Honorees of 10th Annual iCON Awards Dinner

By Business Wire News   


The iBIO Institute today announced its four iCON Awards Honorees for the tenth annual iBIO Institute’s iCON Awards which is considered by many to be the region’s most prestigious honor for life sciences educators, researchers and civic visionaries. The iCON Awards celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding innovators and leaders whose work provides the basis for biotechnology developments worldwide.

The 2016 Civic iCON Award honoree will be given to the Honorable Richard M. Daley, whose commitment to the life sciences community in Chicago and Illinois was instrumental in the economic growth and development of the community. The Mayor’s dedication to STEM education and building a strong startup ecosystem are legacy items from the International BIO Conventions the City of Chicago hosted during his administration. These programs have become the bedrock for our community.

Mayor Richard M. Daley was the 54th Mayor of Chicago. He was elected in 1989 and served 22 years, retiring in 2011. Currently Mayor Daley is the Executive Chairman of Tur Partners, LLC, a global based investment firm.

In addition to his role at Tur, he also serves as Of Counsel to Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, an international law firm based in Chicago; a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy; a Director on the board of the Coca-Cola Company and Diamond Resorts International; a member of the International Advisory Board for the Russian Direct Investment Fund; and a senior advisor to JP Morgan Chase and the Brookings Institution to help cities identify and leverage their greatest economic development resources.

“Mayor Daley’s leadership helped establish Chicago and Illinois as one of the top life sciences communities,” said Warren Ribley, president and CEO of iBIO and the iBIO Institute. “As legacies from the BIO Conventions, hundreds of startup companies have received critical support and tens of thousands of students have been exposed to STEM based careers in our industry.”

In honor of the tenth anniversary of the milestone event, the iBIO Institute is presenting a new award, the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, recognizing a pioneering entrepreneur who is a risk taker and visionary leader.

The first to receive the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award is Dr. Norbert Riedel. Dr. Riedel is currently president and CEO of Aptinyx, and was formerly president and CEO of Naurex, which was acquired by Allergan in 2015. Dr. Riedel has also contributed to the growth of the Illinois life sciences community through his leadership on corporate and non-profit boards. Prior to Naurex, Dr. Riedel served various roles at Baxter International including corporate Vice President and Chief Scientific and Innovation Officer.

“I can’t think of a more deserving honoree for the first Entrepreneurial Excellence Award,” said Linda Friedman, Sr. Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary at Astellas Pharma US, Inc. and Chair of the iBIO Institute Board. “I have seen firsthand Dr. Riedel’s commitment to building successful startups in Illinois, and his dedication to seeing the Illinois community and education system grow as well.”

The 2016 iCON Innovator Award will be presented to Dr. Milan Mrksich, the Henry Wade Rogers Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry and Cell and Molecular Biology at Northwestern University.

Professor Milan Mrksich is considered a world leader in engineering materials for applications in the life sciences. He was a pioneer in developing an inexpensive process based on semiconductor technology for controlling the shapes, positions and functions of living cells, with applications in drug discovery. And he founded Chicago-based SAMDI Tech, Inc., which is the leader in providing label-free assay technology to the global pharmaceutical industry. He directs a laboratory of 20 predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.

“I am honored to receive this award from the iBIO Institute, which has a stellar record of past awardees who are accomplished life science innovators,” said Professor Mrksich.

And the fourth iCON award is the Knowledge Builder Award which will be given to Kathleen Molenhouse, a science specialist for grades 6th-8th at Anne Keller Regional Gifted Center. Science is her favorite subject to teach because she enjoys encouraging her students to dissect animals, mix chemicals and build roller coasters. Everyday, Ms. Molenhouse encourages her students to not only be involved with Science but STEM as a whole; she puts this belief into action by showing her students the connections between her classroom work and how it applies in the real world.

“I am thrilled to be accepting this esteemed award,” said Molenhouse. “It is heartening to see the iBIO Institute acknowledge the importance of exposing young students to the real-world applications of scientific concepts. By enabling students to receive real-world experience with technology, we will inspire the next generation of innovators.”

For more information on the iCON Awards Dinner, including ticket/table registration and sponsorship opportunities, please visit The tenth annual iBIO iCON Awards Dinner will take place September 22 at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

About iBIO Institute

The mission of the iBIO Institute is to orchestrate business leadership in delivery of world-class educational programs and job-creating new technology ventures. The Institute’s EDUCATE Center delivers science and math programs for teachers and students, thereby inspiring the next generation of innovators and helping restore America’s leadership in technology education. The Institute’s PROPEL Center increases the number and success rate of early-stage life sciences companies in Illinois. And most recently, the Institute launched Patient Advocacy Collaboration Translation (PACT), a collaborative initiative among patient centered organizations, academic medical research centers and industry to improve health outcomes.

To learn more about the iBIO Institute and its programs, visit

iBIO Institute
John Conrad


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