November 2014


Transforming Medicine Through Innovation and Design Thinking 

12:00pm-1:00pm, Wednesday, November 19

Dow Auditorium, Towsley Center

RSVP for this FREE event.  


Working with Industry: How, When, & Why? 

5:30pm-7:30pm, Wednesday, December 10

NCRC Building 10, Room G063-G064 

CLICK HERE for more details and to RSVP for this FREE FFMI event. 


The Secrets of Non-Disclosure Agreements

12:30pm-1:30pm, Wednesday, December 17



for more information and to register for this FREE FFMI session.  


IP In-Depth: Patenting Strategies for Biomedical Research Discoveries 

5:30pm-7:00pm, Wednesday, January 14


CLICK HERE for more details and to RSVP for this FREE FFMI event. 

James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., Dean of U-M Medical School, received the Flexner Award given by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the nation's highest honor for medical educators

U-M researcher uses stem cells to fight Alzheimer's

U-M researchers provide first peek at how neurons multitask

Scientists restore hearing in noise-deafened mice, pointing way to new therapies

SBIR Award, $1M Investment Get ONL Therapeutics to Clinical Trials

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


Personalized Funding Consultation

One-on-one consultation planning with an expert can help move your innovation to the next level

Whether you're exploring commercialization opportunities, or you have an early-stage venture, a Personalized Funding Consultation with an FFMI commercialization expert can help you plan, secure funding, and advance your innovation.


If you're a U-M Medical School researcher with a proof-of-concept technology or early-stage biomedical venture, a Personalized Funding Consultation can help improve your ability to license or secure capital by offering funding matchmaking and SBIR/STTR proposal support.


"This new service allows our team to work one-on-one with faculty to assemble a package of funding information and resources tailored to their unique objectives," notes Kevin Ward, FFMI Executive Director. "This is just another example of how FFMI is working to "fast forward" medical innovations, bringing the University of Michigan one step closer to our ultimate goal of positively impacting human health."


CLICK HERE to learn more about Personalized Funding Consultation.


Proctor and Gamble Surprises U-M With Partnership Award

Award spotlights U-M's successful collaboration with Proctor and Gamble

Procter and Gamble hosted its Connect + Develop Partner Dinner on October 20 to recognize key P&G collaborators in the academic and private sectors. U-M was one of only four institutions - the only U.S. institution - to win the "Public/Private Partnership" category. The award came as an unexpected surprise for U-M! 


Helen Neville, R&D Vice President, P&G, spoke about U-M's growing partnership with P&G. "We began working with Michigan in earnest in 2011. This award recognizes the superb collaboration with the Business Engagement Center and Corporate Relations to create the right platform for collaborative research. Michigan's strategic approach to industrial partnerships places it on the forefront of university-industry engagements in the U.S. In May, we completed a progressive master collaboration agreement that has catalyzed research collaborations that span not only multiple colleges on campus, but also impact all of P&G's businesses. The University of Michigan's strength in interdisciplinary collaborations, their progressive approach to business engagement, and the personal passion of key university leaders for fruitful collaborations are at the core of our successful partnership." 


Cancer Treatment Start-Up Preparing to Launch

MTRAC program with new approach to EGFR inhibitors fills an unmet need 

Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) drives cancer progression in a large number of solid tumors. EGFR inhibitors are a common, accepted therapy, but do not work for everyone-especially someone who has an EGFR-driven, TKI resistant tumor. Though patients may respond to treatment initially, these patients will develop resistance within a year.


U-M researcher Mukesh Nyati, Ph.D., is part of a team working to find a more effective therapy than the current Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) inhibitors for the treatment of lung and colorectal cancers. They are receiving early commercialization funding from FFMI's Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences (MTRAC) program.


"EGFR activity is important for driving tumor growth, but the protein itself is essential for the cell survival," says Nyati. "We found that degrading EGFR kills cancer cells, so our solution is to specifically target EGFR for degradation by blocking EGFR dimer formation. We have developed Disruptin and two small molecules that are selectively effective in inducing phosphorylated-EGFR degradation. Our goal is to help patients who currently have no long-term cancer-treatment options because of their EGFR-TKI resistant tumors."


Nyati and his team found that this approach is selective and effective against EGFR-driven tumors, including TKI-resistant tumors.


"MTRAC (Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences Program) funding and guidance has helped us to determine the milestones to fill gaps in the technology and form the best team to successfully move our research to the next level," says Nyati.


MTRAC is supported by the U-M Medical School, the U-M Tech Transfer Office, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and works to "fast forward" projects with a high potential of commercial success, with the ultimate goal of positively impacting human health. The EGFR inhibitor project is just one of 11 projects in the 2014 cohort funded by MTRAC. And the program recently closed its 2015 RFP, with 29 new proposals submitted for consideration for early commercialization development funding.


U-M "Celebrate Invention 2014"  

U-M toasts the past year's exciting, innovative projects 

The U-M Office of Technology Transfer recently hosted its annual Celebrate Invention with 300 movers and shakers from Southeast Michigan. Remarks by President Mark Schlissel, VP for Research Jack Hu, and Associate VP Tech Transfer Ken Nisbet kicked off the lively reception. Guests included U-M inventors who have contributed to discoveries, issued patents, and technology licenses during FY14, as well as U-M Deans, Officers, Faculty & Staff, and commercialization partners from the community. U-M Medical School had 133 total inventions in FY14.


The group gathered in the Michigan League Ballroom to learn more about our latest innovative projects, including these from U-M Medical School:

  • The QuickStick: A Device and Method for Measuring Simple and Recognition Reaction Times from James A. Ashton-Miller, Hogene Kim, Ph.D., James T. Eckner, M.D., and James K. Richardson, M.D.
  • Combined Auditory-Somatosensory Treatment for Tinnitus from Susan Shore, Ph.D., Seth Moehler, and David Martel
  • ONL Therapeutics Therapy to Reduce Vision Loss from David Zacks, M.D., Ph.D., Anna Schwendeman, Ph.D, Rae Sung Chang, and Lee Kian, M.D., Ph.D.
  • MCIRCC 2014 Grand Challenge: Sepsis Innovation Portfolio from joint principal investigators from the U-M Medical School and College of Engineering

In addition to showcasing these innovations, the Medical School's James Shayman and the late Norm Radin were honored with the U-M Tech Transfer Impact award for their work on a drug to treat Gaucher's disease. 


FFMI Sees 20% Increase in Industry Award Dollars 

The final numbers are in and the news is exciting! FFMI saw a nearly 20% increase in industry award dollars from 2013 to 2014. The number of unique sponsors has also increased by over 8% over similar industry programs.    


The major categories driving the increase include research, clinical trials, and investigator-initiated trials. 


Six U-M Faculty Elected to Prestigious Institute of Medicine

U-M Faculty recognized for their major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health

University of Michigan experts in genetic and statistical analysis, Lou Gehrig's disease, head and neck cancer, health policy, and nursing are among the new members of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.


The U-M faculty include:

Goncalo Abecasis 

Dr. Carol Bradford, MD 

Dr. Eva Feldman, MD 

Dr. Mark Fendrick, MD 

Susan Murphy 

Kathleen Potempa, Ph.D. 


CLICK HERE for more details. 


MCubed Launches Donor-Funded Diamond Program

With over $1 million in gifts, a new phase of the MCubed research funding program recently launched, broadening the scope of U-M's unique initiative to advance bold work that crosses traditional academic boundaries.

In the MCubed Diamond program, named after the shape of the tokens qualifying researchers will receive, individuals or organizations pay for a project that a faculty member will steer. Donors fund MCubed projects on topics that are important to them, and the funders of these projects can be anyone - alumni, foundations, or companies.

Seven Diamond projects were announced as part of the launch: two projects relating to health, education, and improving economic outcomes for women and children in developing countries, and five projects using big data sets beyond the healthcare and medical fields. New projects will be announced on a rolling basis. Unlike the pilot phase of MCubed, no matching funding from researchers or their departments is required. Diamond cubes are fully financed by the external organizations. Just as in the previous incarnation of the program, the money the researchers receive-$60,000 for each cube-pays for a student's or postdoctoral researcher's salary to conduct the research.

"We're ecstatic about opening this phase of the program," said Mark Burns, MCubed director. "It gives our faculty another opportunity to push forward high risk/high reward research that might not otherwise get funded. And it gives anyone in the world the chance to have U-M researchers work on their projects."

MCubed is U-M's unique interdisciplinary research funding experiment designed to encourage new collaborations and innovative projects. Since it started in 2012, the program has given more than $13 million in early-stage grants to more than 200 trios of researchers.

All Medical School faculty will receive an MCubed Diamond token. CLICK HERE for more details.

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.