Golden Ticket Competition

This competition provides one year of free lab and office space at Bakar Labs at the University of California Berkeley to awardees with emerging genetic medicines delivery technology that may be applied to CF.

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As part of its Path to a Cure initiative, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is sponsoring a Golden Ticket competition with the University of California, Berkeley's Bakar Labs, a life science-focused incubator. Researchers with emerging genetic therapy delivery technologies that may work in CF are encouraged to apply. Winner(s) will be awarded one year of free lab and office space at Bakar Labs in Berkeley, California.

In addition to lab and office space, companies will have access to the extensive resources of the CF Foundation that have successfully de-risked therapeutic development, including scientific experts and advice, lab/research tools and techniques, an extensive patient registry/database, clinical trial design support, and the Therapeutics Development Network of more than 90 clinical trial sites in the U.S. These resources are intended to support companies as they innovate in CF genetic therapies and to provide a testing ground for additional diseases.

This is the second year of the Golden Ticket competition — one previous winner, Nosis Bio, was later awarded funding to progress their work in precise targeting of relevant cells in the lung.

Applications will be accepted through June 14, 2024 via the Bakar Labs CF Foundation Golden Ticket application page.

Building on a Legacy of Progress in Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a recessive, genetic disease caused by mutations in the gene that produces the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein; it can affect people of any racial or ethnic group. Close to 40,000 children and adults are living with cystic fibrosis in the United States and a total estimated 105,000 people have been diagnosed with CF across 94 countries.

In people with CF, mutations in the CFTR gene cause the CFTR protein to become dysfunctional and unable to move chloride to the cell surface. Without chloride, mucus in various organs including the lungs and pancreas can become thick and sticky, leading to infections, inflammation, respiratory failure, malnutrition, and other complications. 

While many people with CF have experienced incredible improvements in their health because of CFTR modulators, the disease — for which there are more than 1,700 disease-causing mutations — can be caused by some mutations that can’t benefit from these treatments. People who have two nonsense mutations (also known as “x” or stop mutations) or other rare mutations that don’t produce any CFTR protein are such examples. In addition, for some people whose mutations are eligible to take modulators, they may choose not to take a modulator because side effects are too severe. As a response, the CF Foundation created its $500 million Path to a Cure to accelerate treatments and drug development for the underlying cause of the disease and to ultimately deliver a cure for all people with cystic fibrosis, regardless of their mutations.  

Policies and Guidelines 

This competition is open to life science entrepreneurs who are developing and intend to commercialize genetic therapies for cystic fibrosis or related technologies to deliver, enable, or accelerate such therapies. 

  • Companies with university affiliation are eligible; so are companies that have no university affiliation. 
  • Both incorporated teams and teams that have yet to incorporate are eligible. 
  • Companies seeking seed-stage through Series A funding are eligible. 
  • Companies for which a Golden Ticket will significantly impact their ability to advance their company are encouraged to apply. 
  • Lab space shall be used by the winning company as its primary site of operations. 
  • Shortlisted applicants must be available to present to the judging panel virtually.  


  • Applications will be accepted through Friday, June 14 via the Bakar Labs Golden Ticket application page.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be notified on or around July 3.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to present virtually to a select group of CF Foundation and Bakar Labs on Tuesday, July 16. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held at Bakar Labs on Tuesday, July 30.

For More Information 

For more information about the Golden Ticket Competition, reach out to Maria Wang at

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