Read the FFMI Newsletter online: View as Webpage
April 16, 2020
Commercialization: COVID-19
Dear Colleagues,

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Fast Forward Medical Innovation understands the challenges of furthering your important biomedical research during these unprecedented times, so we've put together a list of resources for planning and advancing your research while you're not physically in the lab.

You'll find instructional videos on commercialization concepts and industry interaction tips, funding opportunities, and links to websites that can help you continue to move your research project down the commercialization pathway.

Please reach out to FFMI team members with any questions - we are working remotely, but are still fully staffed to meet your research needs. CLICK HERE for the staff directory that includes emails and phone numbers, or contact us at
Bradley Martin, Ph.D.
Fast Forward Medical Innovation
DEADLINE EXTENDED - Frankel Innovation Initiative Accepting Proposals
The Frankel Innovation Initiative is a $20 million fund supporting the research and development of life-saving therapies at Michigan Medicine. The fund targets projects led by U-M faculty that have the potential for rapid clinical application and groundbreaking impact.

Proposals are due Monday, June 1 by 5:00pm .

COVID-19 research is very much within the scope of the Initiative's guidelines.

The $20 million gift will be used to fund five to seven projects annually, with each project receiving between $250,000 - $1 million.
Mcubed Communities Program Promotes Collaboration
Mcubed Communities is a new program that aims to stimulate large-scale team formation, allow teams to build collaborative momentum and showcase successes, and help position faculty groups to secure resources from potential unit-based or central initiatives.

Through an innovative web application, Mcubed Communities gathers and mobilizes large groups of faculty so they can work together on complex challenges.

U-M faculty from all three campuses are eligible for participation, and they can add students and staff to their communities, as well. While there is no limit on the total number of community members, each faculty member can participate in a maximum of five communities at once, with no invitations required.

Mcubed Communities puts a spotlight on the expertise and priorities of faculty at the University of Michigan. This new program will help U-M better identify its institutional strengths and achieve more readiness and coordination for strategic responses to agency calls for proposals, national emergencies, or other time-sensitive needs and opportunities.
Commercialization Education
FFMI fast PACE Fall Cohort Registration Available
The FFMI fast PACE course is a 4-week biomedical and commercialization course designed to help participants prepare a successful business case for funding and development partnerships.

Registration is now available for the Fall cohort beginning September 25. Sign up today!
Business Development
Rare Disease Day 2020
In late February, Dr. Elif Oral and the U-M Department of Internal Medicine, in collaboration with Dr. Najoua Elbourkadi of Fast Forward Medical Innovation, held the first university-wide multidisciplinary event to recognize World Rare Disease Day at the University of Michigan.

Close to 150 members of the rare disease community attended this event to interact, collaborate, and share their perspectives to accelerate the pace of discovery for those living with rare diseases. Speakers included internal and external experts in rare disease research and treatment, University of Michigan student leaders, and keynote speaker, Dr. Alan Shuldiner, Vice President at Regeneron Pharmaceutical's Genetics Center.
Out & About with FFMI
The FFMI team is excited to announce that Mike Ranella has been promoted to Managing Director of the FFMI Business Development group. Mike will oversee the strategic direction and goals for the Business Development team and handle all Human Resources and administrative matters related to the Business Development group. Congratulations, Mike!
FFMI Follow-Up
Genomenon, a  Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund portfolio company and MTRAC award winner, was named by Frost & Sullivan as the Global Company of the Year in Clinical Genomics Interpretation. Genomenon's first-in-class genomic database search engine enables full articles and supplemental datasets searches across the genomic literature - allowing geneticists, molecular pathologists, and researchers to identify disease-causing variants from genomic-sequencing datasets quickly and easily.
Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund portfolio company and MTRAC award winner  Invenio Imaging's latest data on their artificial intelligence-based laser imaging technique for real-time pathological analysis of excised tissue during surgery to remove brain tumors was recently published in  Nature Medicine.

Invenio's technology for automated pathology performed just as well as human pathologists , but performed the analysis in 150 seconds compared to the 20-30 minutes needed by the pathology laboratory to perform the same analysis.
Path of Excellence in Innovation & Entrepreneurship student, Stephen Hobson, was recently spotlighted in a video about the Path of Excellence program. In the video, Hobson talks about his project, "The First Five, Emergency Response for Everyone".
Bulletin Board
New COVID-19 Well-Being Help Center
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for Michigan Medicine faculty, staff, and learners, as well as members of the larger community, to take care of themselves.

A wealth of health and well-being resources is now available in the COVID-19 Well-Being Help Center on the new Michigan Medicine Wellness Office website.
$100K Cardiovascular Grant Competition for COVID-19
The Frankel Cardiovascular Center has announced an urgent call for a focused research effort targeting the cardiovascular impact of the novel COVID-19 virus. Both clinical and basic science proposals will be considered for the $100K grant.  DEADLINE: April 17, 2020
Michigan Drug Discovery Early-Stage Grants - Now Accepting Proposals
Michigan Drug Discovery is currently accepting grant proposals for early-stage drug discovery projects in all therapeutic areas. Up to $65,000 per award is available.

Applications will be accepted through April 20, 2020 .

The expectation is that most of the awarded funds will be used in U-M core laboratories to accelerate the drug discovery process, with $5,000 available for spending outside of the pre-approved cores.
Internal Funding to Support COVID-19 Metabolic Research
MDiabetes has announced a call for proposals for up to $50,000 to study the impact of COVID-19 on, and improve the care of, those with diabetes and related disorders. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with funding available immediately.  DEADLINE: Rolling
Fast Grants for COVID-19 Research
Foundation Relations has forwarded information about "Fast Grants" for COVID-19 research. These grants are $10k-$500k, and award decisions are made in under 48 hours. The principal investigator must already be working on a project that could help with the COVID-19 pandemic within the next six months.

Questions? Contact Joe Piffaretti at
DEADLINE EXTENDED - Michigan Medicine-PKUHSC Joint Institute Call for Proposals
The 2020 request for proposals for collaborative research through the Michigan Medicine and Peking University Health Science Center (PKUHSC)  Joint Institute deadline has been extended to May 1, 2020.

Michigan Medicine’s largest international institutional partnership, the Joint Institute, offers Discovery Awards (up to $100,000 a year for two years), Pilot Awards (up to $300,000 a year for two years), and Innovation and Bridge Awards for one-year grants (up to $100,000) to help investigative teams develop new technologies and accelerate translation of research into a product. DEADLINE: May 1, 2020
Our Collaborators
U-M Tech Transfer
To better navigate the complexities of the U-M biomedical research enterprise, visit the Research Project Lifecycle . This interactive tool provides an overview of the resources available to you, not only within the Medical School Office of Research but also across the University of Michigan.
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.