January 2016





Trials and Tribulations of a Small Medical Company: Are You Ready?

TODAY! Thursday, January 14


Taubman Health Science Library, Room #5000

David Sarment, President of Xoran Technologies and former faculty member of the U-M School of Dentistry, will discuss the trials and tribulations of a medical startup within a university 


Please RSVP to receive your FREE lunch! 


University of Michigan launches new app that tailors cancer cure

Study: positive results for new oral drug for pulmonary hypertension

Heart disease risks rise with Asian gene

U-M Medical School

UMMS Office of Research

Medicine at Michigan

U-M Business Engagement Center

U-M Center for Entrepreneurship

U-M Tech Transfer

Innovate Blue

U-M Main Page


Deadline Tomorrow - Act Now! Fast Forward GI Innovation Fund RFPs

Take advantage of this exciting funding opportunity for GI research!

The Fast Forward Gastrointestinal (GI) Innovation Fund is a three-year, $500,000+ fund supported by a donation from entrepreneur alumna Mary Petrovich and matched by the Medical School's Department of Internal Medicine and its Division of Gastroenterology as well as the College of Engineering, where Ms. Petrovich received her undergraduate degree.

The Fund will support early-stage research that may have future impact on GI patients. It will be used for key research commercialization activities such as those related to technology validation and establishing proof-of-concept, including pilot funding support for preliminary studies or development activities that will lead to broader GI product applications. Importantly, the fund seeks to engage interdisciplinary teams of researchers that leverage ideas and technologies across medicine, engineering, public health, and other key units engaged in biomedical research.

There are two tiers of funding available. Tier I awards will be in the range of $25-$50K and fund projects that address a discrete milestone that is critical to the advancement of research to the point of product development. Tier II awards will be $75-100K and fund projects with specific milestones for proof-of-concept and later-stage translational studies (ranges are estimates and actual funding levels will be project-specific). 

CLICK HERE for the Tier I Award RFP
CLICK HERE for the Tier II Award RFP 

For more information, contact Casey Wegner, FFMI Senior Business Analyst, at   

Computer-Aided System Automates Coronary Angiogram Analysis 

New computer platform aims to help doctors better diagnose heart disease 

Coronary heart disease is the single largest cause of death in the United States. Cardiologists perform millions of coronary angiograms each year to determine the presence and/or severity of blockages (stenoses). Currently, examining coronary angiograms largely relies on visual examination by physicians, making interpretation prone to human error.
Prior work suggests that cardiologists may incorrectly assess the severity of a stenosis in up to 20% of cases. These assessments drive critical decisions regarding the need for additional testing, restoring blood circulation to the heart with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), or bypass surgery. As a result, some patients are exposed to unnecessary, invasive procedures while other patients fail to receive appropriate treatments.
Although techniques like Quantitative Coronary Angiography (QCA) are available to assist cardiologists in interpreting coronary angiograms, these existing tools still require significant human input, create time delays that disrupt workflow, and consume substantial resources.
University of Michigan faculty Kayvan Najarian, Ph.D., and Brahmajee Nallamothu, M.D., M.P.H., are developing a system to utilize advanced image processing and machine learning techniques to analyze coronary angiograms independent of human input.
"This fully-automated computer platform would be a notable "turn-key" innovation," says Dr. Najarian. "It could lead to new quality review and decision-support tools that are scalable and cost-effective, while at the same time promoting novel educational and support resources that will result in increased surgical accuracy."
Preliminary results show that the new platform has the potential to zero in on a specific part of the vascular tree for more intense study, estimate the width of the blood vessels, and quantitatively identify the presence and percentage of stenoses in each blood vessel.
"MTRAC provides the critical support we need to develop this digital health technology," says Dr. Nallamothu. "It gives us the ability to refine the system, validate it against a larger database of coronary angiograms, create a proof-of-concept product, and formalize our industry partnership."
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 coronary angiogram analysis computer platform is just one of 11 projects in the 2015 cohort funded by MTRAC. In 2014, the program funded 11 teams for early commercialization development.

Congratulations Latest Kickstart Awardees! 

Five awards for developing early proof of concept! 

FFMI recently announced five new awardees for its Kickstart early-stage funding program.

Kickstart Awards, made possible by the U-M Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences Program (MTRAC), enable Medical School research faculty to develop proof of concept for innovative technologies. This award is aimed to enhance the commercial potential of a technology to the point of translation and possible inclusion in MTRAC or other research funding programs.

The new Kickstart teams include:

Dr. Alon Kahana, M.D., Ph.D.
Lacrimal stent with opening to improve draining efficacy and reduce infection

Dr. Alex Donneys, M.D., M.S.
Microscopic video surveillance systems

Dr. Marc Peters-Golden, M.D.
Inhaled SOCS-containing liposomes for treatment of inflammatory lung diseases

Dr. Jimo Borjigin, Ph.D.
Electrocardiomatrix (ECM), a new method for analysis of cardiac electrical signals 

Dr. Kevin Ward, M.D. and Dr. Mark Burns, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Droplet-based microfluidic rheometer for real-time viscosity monitoring of blood coagulation 
Millendo Therapeutics Secures Funding to Expand Clinical Trials
U-M start-up company focuses on endocrine disorder drug development 
A U-M start-up company co-founded by Dr. Gary Hammer, M.D., Ph.D., has announced the next step in its evolution. Millendo Therapeutics, formerly Atterocor, has secured $62 million in funding to expand clinical trials of the drug ATR-101. Hammer's lab found that ATR-101 selectively kills adrenal cancer cells with little effect on other cells in the body. A phase 1 clinical trial of ATR-101 in adrenal cancer is ongoing. The new funding will support testing in other related adrenal diseases, including Cushing's syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

In addition, Millendo announced an exclusive license agreement with AstraZeneca for the development and commercialization rights to test a new compound for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.

CLICK HERE to read the full press release.
Procter & Gamble Supports New Undergraduate Research Program
Real-world laboratory participation enhances learning  
U-M undergraduate students in introductory biology and chemistry courses are getting hands-on lab experience as they perform cutting-edge research in the context of faculty-led research projects.
Dr. Thomas Schmidt, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., worked with Dr. Deborah Goldberg, B.A., Ph.D., and other colleagues at the U-M Authentic Research Connection (ARC) to develop the concept of Authentic Research and bring it to the classroom. This innovative idea transitions learning from following textbook exercises into working with a U-M faculty research lab to design and carry out experiments.
The first student cohort began in the Winter 2015 semester in Dr. Schmidt's introductory biology lab with a focus on the human microbiome-the countless microscopic organisms that live on and in the body. Students studied the relationship between fiber and the gut microbiome by sampling their own fecal microbiome before and after taking fiber supplements in order to determine the impact of fiber on microbiome function and composition.
"Authentic Research is a strong convergence of teaching and research goals," says Schmidt. "At the same time that students are getting hands-on research experience, they are also laying the groundwork to take the research to the clinical level. The bottom line is that we're working to improve people's health."
Introducing Authentic Research to the biology course is made possible by funding from three sources. Procter & Gamble and the University of Michigan Host Microbiome Initiative (HMI) provide funding focused on the research expenses. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) $1.5 million grant supports the educational side of the courses. The HHMI grant also provides funding for two introductory chemistry courses that began in Fall 2015: "Want to Experience Cutting Edge Technology?" focuses on projects in solar power and batteries, and "What is Snow Chemistry?" offers projects in snow chemistry and climate change.
Funding Opportunity:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Register now for early access to the RFP! 
The 2016 Massey Foundation TBI Grand Challenge will fund integrated science teams that can develop innovative solutions to improve outcomes after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis. Up to $500,000 will be available to fund diagnostic, device, therapeutic, or health information technology solutions.
About the Two-Day Event
The program starts with an in depth "TBI State of the Art" symposium on January 22, where you will hear from:
  • James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., U-M Medical School
  • Col. Todd E. Rasmussen, M.D. - Director of DOD Combat Casualty Care Research Program
  • A. Tamara Crowder, Ph.D. - U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Neurotrauma Portfolio Manager
  • Sergeant First Class Joseph Cicchillo 
  • Sarah Wade and Army Sergeant Ted Wade - Sarah Wade is the wife of retired Army Sergeant Edward "Ted" Wade
  • Other U-M faculty and partners
Day 1 will conclude with a networking session and will be followed by the release of an RFP on January 23.
To be considered for funding you must attend the two-day event. CLICK HERE to register.
Who Can Apply?
The Grand Challenge is open to all U-M faculty and staff. We encourage researchers from all disciplines to apply in collaboration with a U-M physician who can provide a clinical perspective on the problem.
Please note that MCIRCC can help connect you with clinicians, engineers, and other disciplines who are interested in severe TBI research.
If you have any questions, please contact Bria Wiltshire at

There's Still Time - Act Now!  

Coulter proposal deadline extended to February 1 

Have a technical innovation idea that could improve patient care? The U-M Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program is pleased to announce the 2016 Call for Proposals.

The deadline for proposal submission is Monday, February 1.

The U-M Coulter Program is funded through proceeds of an endowment from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and supports collaborative translational research projects that involve co-investigators from any engineering department and a clinical department.  

The goal of this program is to accelerate the development and commercialization of new medical devices, diagnostics, and other biomedical products that address unmet clinical needs and lead to improvements in health care.

Projects are supported and mentored by a team of industry experienced experts who proactively work to accelerate Coulter Program objectives of developing new product concepts to the point of partnering with industry or forming start-up companies with follow-on funding to commercialize new products envisioned from translational research efforts. Funding does not require cost-sharing of salaries.

Distinctive aspects of the Coulter Program include business assessment work that dovetails with technical milestones for each project.

Specific benefits to each project include:
   * Business development support
   * Intellectual Property advice
   * Regulatory guidance
   * Follow-on funding guidance
   * Mentorship from Oversight Committee
   * The C3i training program
To learn more, visit the Coulter Program website or download the Proposal Application & Instructions.
For questions, please contact Thomas Marten, Coulter Program Director, at or (734)647-1680.   

Find Research Funding for Your Projects 

Informative workshop offers funding tips 

Interested in being more organized and efficient about identifying research funding? The Finding Research Funding workshop will teach you techniques for searching funding databases and setting up alerts.

Friday, January 22, 2016
NCRC, Building 16, B001E

If you can't make the session, be sure to visit the Research Funding & Grants Guide to schedule a personalized research funding search consultation with the information experts at the U-M Library.

CLICK HERE for more information and to register. 

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.