Innovative ideas awarded $1.8 million in funding
From an innovative multi-channel scaffold to enhance neural regeneration to a magnetic 3-D printed ear splint to treat congenital ear deformity, 11 new biomedical ideas that emerged from research across Michigan have received funding that could help them make the leap from lab to patient care.
More than $1.8 million in funding has just flowed to the teams developing these concepts from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences Innovation Hub. MTRAC, as it’s known, is managed by Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI), a unit of the U-M Medical School’s Office of Research, with funding from U-M and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
Projects from across the state were selected for funding by MTRAC’s Innovation Hub team to accelerate their paths to market, bringing them one step closer to ultimately helping patients and their families.
Finalists for the funding, including teams from institutions outside of U-M such as Spectrum Health Innovations and Michigan Technological University, presented project proposals to the external MTRAC oversight committee at their annual meeting in downtown Ann Arbor in early January.
Those selected for funding range from reversed synchronized circuitry to treat tinnitus to a female external urinary collection device to automated brain tumor diagnosis using convolutional neural networks. Award amounts range from $75,000 to $250,000 per project, supporting mid-stage product development activities that are critical steps on the path to market.
To see all the project award winners, click here.
The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub, co-managed by the U-M Medical School’s Fast Forward Medical Innovation and the U-M Office of Technology Transfer, is a statewide program that supports translational research projects in life sciences — including medical devices, diagnostics, therapeutics, and health-related information technology — with high commercial potential. The $4.05 million statewide MTRAC for Life Sciences Hub was announced in mid-2016 by the MEDC after being approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund.
“As a statewide Innovation Hub, we are able serve life science innovators from across Michigan,” said Bradley J. Martin, Ph.D., FFMI senior director of commercialization programs. “The education, mentoring, and resources we provide help researchers take their groundbreaking biomedical innovations — innovations like those recently selected by MTRAC — to the point of commercial reality and impacting patient care.”
The statewide hub is an expansion of the previous U-M MTRAC for Life Sciences program, which began in 2013 with $2.4 million from MEDC and additional U-M funding to create a $7.5 million fund to foster biomedical innovation and entrepreneurship as a dynamic catalyst for economic growth.
“It is exciting to see the continued growth of the MTRAC Life Science Innovation Hub across the state of Michigan. The collaboration with FFMI, Tech Transfer, industry and venture capital professionals and several other stakeholders is key to the success of the program,” said Denise Graves, MEDC university relations director. “Advancing technology from within academic institutions, health systems and nonprofit research centers is challenging work that can take years. However, with the help of the MTRAC program and its resources, the path to the commercial market for these early stage technologies becomes more viable.”
Fast Forward Medical Innovation at U-M offers resources and support to world-class biomedical researchers at the university and across the state. FFMI provides groundbreaking funding programs, dynamic educational offerings, and deep industry connections that help biomedical researchers navigate the road to successful innovation and commercialization, with the ultimate goal of positively impacting human health. For more information about FFMI, click here.
U-M Tech Transfer works to enhance research discoveries, and to encourage licensing and broad deployment with existing businesses and newly-formed U-M start-ups. Tech Transfer works with researchers across campus to assess and develop promising inventions into marketing opportunities for our business and venture partners. For more information, visit the U-M Tech Transfer website.
MEDC’s Entrepreneur and Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech start-up companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more on MEDC Entrepreneurship & Innovation, click here.