High-Tech Projects Awarded $2.5 Million in Funding by MTRAC Life Sciences Innovation Hub at U-M
From novel lung cancer therapeutics to a new device for blood clot removal in stroke patients, 12 new biomedical ideas that emerged from research across Michigan have received funding that could help them make the leap from lab to patient care.
It’s part of the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences (MTRAC) Innovation Hub, a $4 million commercialization-focused program co-funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
More than $2.5 million in funding has flowed to the teams developing these innovative life science concepts through MTRAC, which is co-managed by Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI—a unit of the University of Michigan (U-M) Medical School’s Office of Research) and the U-M Office of Technology Transfer, with funding from U-M and the MEDC.
Projects from across the state were selected for funding by MTRAC’s Innovation Hub oversight committee to accelerate their paths to market, bringing them one step closer to ultimately helping patients and their families. In partnership with the MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative, award recipients will receive mentoring and market and business development support, in addition to funding, through the MTRAC program.
Finalists for the funding—including teams from Beaumont Health, Michigan State University, Spectrum Health, University of Michigan, and Wayne State 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 an imaging system that provides instantaneous histology during colonoscopies to a device to help transport patients between beds to a cell therapy device for treating premature ovarian failure in young cancer patients. Award amounts range from $150,000 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 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.
“As a statewide Innovation Hub, we are able to accelerate innovative concepts from across Michigan in the areas of biomedical devices, diagnostics, therapeutics, and healthcare IT,” said Michelle Larkin, MSE, MTRAC Program Director & Sr. Biomedical Innovation Specialist. “Every day, new projects are making their way towards commercialization. We provide researchers with the education, mentoring, and resources to successfully move their projects to the point of commercial reality and positive patient impact.”
The statewide hub is an expansion of the previous MTRAC for Life Sciences program at U-M, 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.
“The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub continues to expand and attract biomedical researchers from institutions across the state of Michigan,” said Denise Graves, MEDC’s university relations director. “MTRAC and the unique resources it provides to biomedical innovators is key to advancing these mid-stage technologies to viable commercialization. We are grateful to the oversight committee—a combined group of industry and venture capital professionals and stakeholders—who truly lend their expertise to the program’s impressive growth and success.”
Innovators from higher education institutions, non-profit research centers, and hospital systems across Michigan are eligible to submit projects for funding consideration to the MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub. The program offers two funding tiers—
Mi-Kickstart awards offer early-stage funding in the $25K-$30K range and are given quarterly, and Mi-TRAC awards offer mid-stage funding in the $100K-$250K range and are distributed on an annual basis.
FFMI offers resources and support to world-class biomedical researchers at the university and across the state. This unit at U-M 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 is responsible for negotiating and executing all agreements related to the commercialization of U-M research discoveries, whether to existing businesses or newly-formed start-up companies. U-M Tech Transfer not only works with researchers across campus to assess and develop promising inventions into compelling opportunities for business and venture partners, but also manages the university’s patent portfolio, protecting research discoveries. These activities have led to the launch of over 100 new start-up companies since 2000. More on U-M Tech Transfer, including an up-to-date list of technologies available for commercialization, can be found at the U-M Tech Transfer website.
MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & 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 commercialization. For more on MEDC Entrepreneurship & Innovation, click here.