Press release

iBIO Announces Honorees of 13th Annual iCON Awards

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The Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO) today announced the honorees of the thirteenth annual iCON Awards – 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 life sciences developments worldwide.

Tickets/table registrations and sponsorship opportunities are now available for purchase on iBIO’s website. Funds raised at the iCON Awards ceremony supports the mission of iBIO’s EDUCATE Programs, a 501(c)3 public charity, which orchestrates business leadership in delivery of world-class educational after-school programs and summer STEM camps for girls grades 3-8 in underserved Illinois schools.

“This year’s iCON Award honorees are leaders and innovators in their respective fields,” said Walt Johnston, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Astellas Pharma US, Inc. and Chair of the iBIO Board. “They embody the spirit of the awards by dedicating their own talents and resources to worthwhile pursuits that better the lives of others.”

The 2019 iCON Entrepreneurial Award honoree is Paul Edick, Chairman and CEO of Xeris, a public specialty pharmaceutical company leveraging novel formulation technology platforms to develop and commercialize ready-to-use, liquid-stable injectables. This award recognizes a pioneering entrepreneur who is a risk taker and visionary leader.

Mr. Edick joined Xeris Pharmaceuticals as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in January 2017. Prior to joining Xeris, Edick was a Founding Partner of 3G Advisors, a consultancy to the pharmaceutical, healthcare and healthcare investor communities. In addition, Mr. Edick served as the Chief Executive Officer of Durata Therapeutics from 2010-2014 and has held the post of CEO at a number of other pharmaceutical companies, including Ganic Pharmaceuticals and MedPointe Healthcare, Inc. Mr. Edick currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Milestone Pharmaceuticals Inc. Mr. Edick has also previously served on a number of pharmaceutical and healthcare company boards, including Interim Therapeutics, PDL, BioPharma, Neos Therapeutics, NewLink Genetics Inc., Circassia Pharmaceuticals plc, Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Amerita Inc., and Informed Medical Communications.

The 2019 iCON Innovator Award will be given to Dr. Martin Burke, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Associate Dean for Research at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. This award recognizes those scientists who demonstrate leadership potential at the frontier of knowledge in the life sciences and conduct research that is anticipated to enhance economic development in the State of Illinois.

Dr. Burke’s group has pioneered the field of molecular prosthetics, including the development of an automated Lego-like platform for democratizing small molecule synthesis. Dr. Burke has received a number of honors and awards, including the Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry from the American Chemical Society and has garnered praise for excellence in teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Burke is also the founder of four biotechnology companies: REVOLUTION Medicines, Ambys Medicines, Sfunga Therapeutics and Cystetic Medicines.

“Illinois is one of America’s leading research universities, and Dr. Burke truly is one of our campus icons. Whether developing a new way to synthesize molecules, creating a network of maker labs on campus, launching a company, or encouraging students to think creatively about the future, Dr. Burke’s persistence and energy are remarkable—and contagious! He exemplifies the spirit of innovation that is a hallmark of Illinois research, and we are proud of his many contributions to the broader scientific community and to the state, the nation, and the world,” said Susan A. Martinis, Interim Chancellor for Research, University of Illinois.

The iCON Knowledge Builder Award will be presented to Rebecca Voight, a teacher at Andrew Cooke Magnet Elementary School in Waukegan, Illinois. Ms. Voight is a member of the Instructional Leadership Team and has led the school’s engagement with the STEMgirls camp program for the past three years. Rebecca Voight has a Masters of Education in Curriculum from Lesly University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a B.A. in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University.

“The iBIO EDUCATE Center’s programming brings the life sciences industry together to inspire teachers and young students,” said John Conrad, president and CEO of iBIO. “As we recognize this year’s iCON Award honorees, we are working to develop the next generation of life science innovators here in Illinois.”

For more information on the iCON Awards Dinner, please visit The thirteenth annual iBIO iCON Awards Reception will take place September 26 at The Chicago Botanic Garden.

About iBIO

iBIO represents the 85,000 life sciences jobs in Illinois. The iBIO iCON awards supports the mission of iBIO’s EDUCATE Programming, a 501(c)3 Public Charity, which orchestrates business leadership in delivery of world-class educational after-school programs and summer STEM camps for girls grades 3-8 in underserved Illinois schools.

To learn more about the iBIO and its programs, visit