September 2014

FFMI team members will be at the MICHBIO EXPO, September 30-October 1 in Detroit at the Motor City Casino. Going? Contact Nick DeHaan at to set up a meeting.
FIH to NDA in 5 Years:
The Calistoga Pharmaceuticals Story
5:00pm, Thursday, Sept 18
Research Auditorium, Bldg 10
CLICK HERE for more details and to RSVP for this FREE BioArbor event

Navigating the Rough Waters of the Regulatory Environment
5:30pm, Wednesday, Sept 24
South Atrium, Bldg 10
CLICK HERE for more details and to register for this FREE FFMI event

Medical Innovation: Your Guide to Making an Impact
2:00pm, Tuesday, Oct 7
CLICK HERE for more details and to register for this FREE FFMI session

MCubed Symposium
8:30am-4:30pm, Thursday, Oct 9
Rackham Auditorium
CLICK HERE for more details and to register for this FREE event

Celebrate Invention!
3:00pm-6:00pm, Tuesday, Oct 28
Ballroom, Michigan League
CLICK HERE for more details and to register for this FREE annual event hosted by the U-M Office of Technology Transfer



One-two punch designed to knock out most dangerous brain cancer


University of Michigan first in nation to implant device for tricuspid valve replacement   


Old drug may be used in new way to prevent diabetes' complications   


Machine that keeps lungs alive outside the body tested  


U-M Medical School

UMMS Office of Research

Medicine at Michigan

U-M Business Engagement Center

U-M Tech Transfer

Innovate Blue

U-M Main Page


U-M Drug Licensed to Genzyme Receives FDA Approval

Cerdelga, a treatment for Gaucher disease type 1 developed at the U-M Medical School and licensed to Genzyme Corp., has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  


Cerdelga represents the first class of chemical entities conceived and developed at U-M to achieve FDA approval. An oral medication, Cerdelga offers an alternative to intravenous enzyme replacement, the other approved Gaucher disease treatment.

The strategy of treating Gaucher disease by inhibition of glycolipid synthesis was proposed by the late Norman Radin, Ph.D.,a U-M neurochemist, more than 40 years ago. The work directly leading to Cerdelga began 25 years ago when James Shayman, M.D., a nephrologist trained in lipid biology and pharmacology, sat down with Radin and began their collaboration.


Their shared work continued at least until 1995 after which Radin retired, but research continued by the Shayman group to design, synthesize and test glycolipid synthesis inhibitors. That included a series of "proof of concept studies" in experimental models of lysosomal storage diseases. Patents covering these compounds and related inventions were licensed to Genzyme, a Sanofi company, in 2000 for clinical development.


Gaucher disease is an inherited disorder that affects many of the body's organs and tissues. More than 10,000 patients worldwide are diagnosed with Gaucher disease.


"On a personal level, the success of this research program has been tremendously gratifying," Shayman said. "The FDA approval of Cerdelga provides further motivation for me and my collaborators to bring other drugs through the pipeline."


UMHS Partnering with IBM

Critical care pilot program to test clinical viability of big data analytic platform  

University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) leadership recently approved a big-data analytic platform purchase from IBM, alongside a product development partnership with IBM Research, targeting clinical decision support tools for critical care.

The approval is for a critical care pilot program, facilitated by the U-M Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care (MCIRCC) that will test the clinical viability of its analytic methodologies coupled with the IBM technology. The volume, variety, and velocity of patient data generated with critical care delivery provides the ideal test environment to push the platform's capabilities. If successful, this clinical decision support tool could transition beyond critical care into comprehensive hospital to home care models.

The goal of this platform is to support scalable translational research and real-time product development to deploy solutions within UMHS and to external customers that are precise, predictive, proactive, and personalized for high impact.  This has the potential to greatly impact the institution's other industry partnerships, grant opportunities, and most importantly patient care.

The proposal was a joint effort between MCIRCC, Medical Center Information Technology, Medical School Information Services, Fast Forward Medical Innovation, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, the Medical School Office of Research, U-M Hospitals and others.


Questions about this new partnership with IBM? Contact Janene Centurione at


GlaxoSmithKline Request for Proposals

Deadline Friday, October 10

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is inviting U-M investigators to submit proposals for funding by the company's Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) program.   

Funded DPAc projects will operate as a joint team, with GSK and
U-M investigators working toward shared goals and with open sharing of information and data. GSK is looking for projects with a specific and testable drug development hypothesis that, if successful, would deliver therapeutic benefit to patients.

Proposals can be in any disease area and based on any treatment modality, be it small molecule or biopharmaceutical. GSK will undertake projects starting from early screening to late lead optimization, and the company is open to a wide range of possibilities that have progressed beyond the exploratory and technology platform stages.

Investigators are invited to submit their one-page, non-confidential proposal via UMMS Competition Space by Friday, October 10, 2014 for competitive consideration by the GSK DPAc leadership team.

More details can be found at the RFP webpage, or questions can be directed to Stephanie Morley of the FFMI Business Development team at

November 19 Save the Date!  

FFMI hosts Uday Kumar, M.D., from Stanford University and Third Rock Ventures

Mark your calendars for November 19 as the Fast Forward Medical Innovation team welcomes Dr. Uday Kumar for an event titled "Transforming Medicine Through Innovation and Design Thinking."

Wednesday, November 19
Dow Auditorium, Towsley Center
FREE box lunch

"Design thinking" in biomedical innovation is a problem-solving process that puts the patient first. Dr. Kumar will discuss his experience as a clinician who saw problems in practice, and then developed an innovation framework by analyzing the needs of his patients. It will be an informal Q&A session where he will also dive deeper into the challenges and rewards of being a clinician-inventor, and how he made the leap to becoming an entrepreneur.  

RSVP for this FREE event.


MTRAC Year Two Update  

29 New Applications and 11 Kickstart Projects Funded  

The U-M Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences (MTRAC) program recently closed its second annual RFP, with 29 new proposals submitted.  


Projects range from a device for stroke emergency treatment to a glaucoma decision support tool to a cancer therapeutic. Project teams will now spend the next few months preparing their "pitches" for presentation to the MTRAC oversight committee in January.

Kickstart, MTRAC's "early-early stage" program has funded 11 projects, and the year one class of MTRAC teams are progressing through their milestones, such as participating in training sessions like the recent "Value Proposition" class offered by FFMI's Commercialization Education program.  


"Project teams are progressing nicely," noted Brad Martin, Commercialization Program Director. "We have a few that will be forming companies in the near future."

Questions about MTRAC? Contact Brad Martin at


New! Digital Badges 

Highlight your latest research commercialization training achievements

FFMI is participating in a pilot digital badging initiative designed to build and support the continuing education and professional development of the U-M Medical School's research community.

Digital badges recognize U-M faculty who are actively exploring the commercialization potential of a biomedical technology. In this pilot phase, faculty who successfully complete our i2i: Early Stage Technology Development course will receive a Research Commercialization - Explorer badge issued by the UMMS Office of Research and managed by Credly.

Digital badges complement your formal training by emphasizing a more complete picture of your skill set. They make meaningful achievement and experiences visible to anyone, anywhere, anytime on the web including current employers, instructors, peers, and communities of shared interest.  


You can easily manage your badges digitally by adding them to your online CV or email signature, and by sharing and displaying them with your network through platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Questions about digital badges offered by the U-M Medical School? CLICK HERE for more details or contact

About Us 

The Fast Forward Medical Innovation team at the University of Michigan Medical School works to accelerate innovation and commercialization of research at its inception, collaborate with commercial partners via novel models, and enhance medical education by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship at all levels. We help UMMS faculty and strategic partners collaborate, with the ultimate goal of accelerating research and technology to improve human health. To connect, email us or call 734-615-5060.
Office of Research
Fast Forward Medical Innovation is part of the Office of Research, where our mission is to foster an environment of innovation and efficiency that serves the U-M Medical School community and supports biomedical science from insight to impact.