“PROPEL provided me access to advice and coaching from a world-class executive which would have not been available to me otherwise. This helped me to focus my attention and resources on the critical challenges and activities to move the company forward in a manner meaningful to outside investors. I would strongly recommend PROPEL to any start up CEO.”

- Andrew Cittadine
CEO, American BioOptics


PROPEL is a group of programs aimed at increasing the number and success rates of life sciences startups in Illinois. Industry initially led the development of PROPEL through generous support from Abbott/AbbVie, Astellas Pharma US, Inc., Baxter International Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America. Today, PROPEL has strong support from the broad life sciences community encompassing the three pillars of financial support: corporate/industry; private foundations; and public/government. In the last several years, funding sources include: iBIO, corporate partners (listed above), grants from the Searle Funds of The Chicago Community Trust, the City of Chicago and Illinois DCEO.

PROPEL helps guide the development of formation-stage and early-stage life sciences companies by providing entrepreneurs with access to specialized resources and expertise to prepare them for early-stage funding. Industry, academia, service professionals, entrepreneurs and government agencies connect to create and support a vibrant entrepreneurial community in Illinois and throughout the Midwest through PROPEL programs.

PROPEL programs include:

Past and current PROPEL participants include:

  • Formation-stage and early-stage companies
  • Industry segments within therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, other healthcare-related products with intellectual property, biochemicals, industrial biotech products and agricultural-biotech products and processes