May 8, 2017
Upcoming Events :
Bench to Bedside: Creating Impact Through Therapeutic Innovation

May 10, 2017
4:00pm, reception to follow
Palmer Commons, Great Lakes South
RSVP here

May 11, 2017
lunch to follow
NCRC, Bldg. 10, Research Auditorium
RSVP here
Two Separate Events!
On Wednesday, May 10, faculty and staff will hear  Dr. Philip Low, Ph.D., Director of the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery and Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, present his own work and talk about his successful entrepreneurial activities. This event is part of our approved CME series.

On Thursday, May 11, Dr. Low will deliver a scientific talk that will include Purdue's drug discovery initiative and the pathway from scientific discovery to a therapeutic or technology available to a patient.

FFMI is holding this event in partnership with the Michigan Center for Therapeutic Innovation and the Center for Discovery of New MedicinesCLICK HERE to learn more and RSVP. Please RSVP separately for one or both sessions. 
Writing a Commercialization Plan

May 10, 2017
NCRC, Bldg. 300, Rm. 372
Faculty and staff are invited to attend this Lunch & Learn where BBCetc's Michael Kurek will discuss "Writing a Commercialization Plan." SBIR/STTR applicants must know their market size, characteristics, customers, and competitors and how their innovation addresses an unmet market need. Find out how to approach these topics and what information you'll need to determine the financial projections and impact of your product. RSVP to Diane Giannola at giannola@umich.edu
Biomedical Innovation Cup 2017 
May 17, 2017
Marriott Eagle Crest,
Auditorium 2
1275 South Huron Street
Biomedical researchers and potential investors can attend this annual event, hosted by Paul Riser from TechTown Detroit, that helps prepare a select group of MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub teams for launch to market. The teams will take the stage to pitch their innovations to the "sharks" of the investment world at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium. CLICK HERE to RSVP.
Biomedical Innovation Office Hours
CLICK HERE for locations and to schedule an appointment 
Students, faculty, and other U-M innovators get quick and easy advice for a wide range of issues, including startups, early tech development, strategizing business plans, intellectual property, and other entrepreneurial concerns. Office hours are hosted in collaboration with the Zell Lurie Institute and the U-M Office of Tech Transfer.
May 2017 Biomedical Innovation Cup
Shark Tank-style competition highlights MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub-funded research

2016 Winners
Cagri Besirli, M.D., Ph.D. and Kevin Pipe, Ph.D.
Join Fast Forward Medical Innovation at the Biomedical Innovation Cup, as a select group of Mi-TRAC teams pitch their innovations to the "sharks" of the investment world at the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium.

Wednesday, May 17
Marriott Eagle Crest
Auditorium 2
1275 South Huron Street

CLICK HERE to RSVP for this FREE event

The path to market for a new biological product is challenging. It's not enough to have a deep knowledge of the science, innovators must be ready to step into the spotlight, showing stakeholders and potential investors clarity of vision and passion.

Hosted by Paul Riser, M.B.A., Managing Director of  TechTown Detroit, this annual event helps prepare a select group for MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub teams for launch to market.

This year's pitches...

FibrosIX LLC
Development of a Highly Potent Inhibitor of the Rho/MRTF/SRF Pathway As a Novel Oral Therapeutic for Scleroderma

ECM Technologies
Electrocardiomatrix (ECM): A New Method for Detection of Cardiac Arrhythmias

MedigenixBio Inc.
Preclinical Data Package for a Small Molecule Inhiitor of PAI-1

CellScope Retain: The easy wide-field retinal imaging system
Providing Early Detection of a Leading Cause of Blindness

EVOQ Therapeutics
A Novel Nano-Vaccine Technology for Cancer Immunotherapy

And our judges...

Bench to Bedside: Creating Impact Through Therapeutic Innovation
Purdue University's Philip Low, Ph.D., to present lectures on May 10 and May 11

Please join Fast Forward Medical Innovation, in partnership with the Michigan Center for Therapeutic Innovation (MCTI) and the Center for Discovery of New Medicines (CDMN), to welcome Dr. Philip Low, Ph.D., Director of the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery and Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Low will give two talks that highlight his work and entrepreneurial experience. Please RSVP separately for one or both sessions. 

"Considerations in Starting a Drug Company: What I've Learned from Founding Four"
Wednesday, May 10
4:00pm, reception to follow
Palmer Commons Great Lakes South
This event is part of our approved CME series
RSVP here

"Liquid-targeted Imaging and Therapeutic Agents for Multiple Human Diseases"
Thursday, May 11
11:00am, lunch to follow
North Campus Research Complex, Bldg. 10, Research Auditorium

CLICK HERE  for more information.
Omary Named Chief Scientific Officer, Executive Vice Dean for Research

On April 27, the U-M Board of Regents appointed Bishr Omary, M.D., Ph.D., as the university's new Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice Dean for Research. He will begin in his new role on Monday, May 1. 

In this new role, Dr. Omary will work closely with key stakeholders to develop and implement a robust strategy to foster excellence in biomedical research and clinical translation to improve disease prevention and treatment, in addition to promoting fundamental basic science research.

He will facilitate the formation of new strategic partnerships across the Medical School and  main university campus, and support and advocate for existing partnerships. He will also serve as a key member of the Michigan Medicine leadership team and assist with recruiting and retention efforts, faculty workforce planning, and facility and capital planning for the research enterprise.

To learn more about Dr. Omary, read the full announcement.
On the Road with FFMI 

FFMI Managing Director, Connie Chang, M.B.A., presented an overview of FFMI and the FFMI fastPACE commercialization education program at the International Anesthesia Research Society meeting on Saturday, May 6. The talk covered the unique characteristics of biomedical commercialization, the key elements of the commercialization process, the core components of the FFMI fastPACE course such as value proposition analysis and customer discovery, and ideas on developing and implementing the course at attendees' home institutions.
Latest News from Project Teams Who Received FFMI Funding, Training, and Support

MTRAC funding awardees receive Center for the Discovery of New Medicines mentoring
Two MTRAC award winners will receive formal mentoring from the Center for the Discovery of New Medicines (CDNM) Mukesh Nyati, Ph.D., and Dipankar Ray, Ph.D., are both working on early-stage cancer projects. This is the first time the CDNM has offering formal mentoring to projects it hopes to support with grant funding in the future. CLICK HERE to read the full article.

MTRAC team receives follow-on funding
MTRAC award winners Kayvan Najarian, Ph.D., and Brahmajee Nallamothu, M.D., won a $100K American Heart Association Data Grant for "AngioAid," a computer-based platform interpreting coronary angiograms.

Article highlights Kickstart-funded project
SecondLook Series™ is a  Kickstart award-winning project developed by Michael Hortsch, Ph.D. This educational tool fosters self-review and evaluation, and is expanding beyond Histology to include mobile applications for musculoskeletal anatomy, neuroanatomy, and oral radiology. CLICK HERE to read the full article. 
MTRAC Awardees Featured in New Michigan Video Abstracts Podcasts  

MTRAC award winners Michael Sabel, M.D., and Melvin McInnis, M.D., present their projects in the new Michigan Video Abstracts podcasts, which will be officially released on June 1, 2017. A draft version of the publication is  available online here  

Michigan Video Abstracts (MVA) is looking for more researchers who would like to feature their work via short (approximately 4-7 minute) video podcasts on their new online publication. The goal is to use these videos as a vehicle for researchers to share their work with the public and other scientists (especially those who may be outside of their primary discipline). MVA staff will record and edit each production.

If you are interested in contributing and/or would like more information, please email
Congratulations to Mark Cohen, M.D. and U-M Medical School for Award Nominations 
Deshpande Innovation Awards Announces Finalists

This year's Deshpande Symposium Awards applications hit record numbers with the five awards drawing 33 nominations from both large and small institutions in the US and Canada. 

MTRAC funding award winner Mark Cohen, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology, Director of Endocrine Surgery Research, Director of the Medical School Path of Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, was selected as one of the top 3 finalists for the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Advancing Innovation and Entrepreneurship. U-M Medical School is one of three finalists for the Excellence in Curriculum Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award.  

Finalists will highlight their accomplishments at a poster session during the Awards Ceremony on June 13th, when the final selection will be announced. 
New Website for Funding Information

Looking for funding opportunities? A new website is now available through the Michigan Medicine Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations which provides a listing of all open RFPs listed in previous weekly reports. The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations is a centralized office that helps to foster relationships between Michigan Medicine and companies and private professional foundations. 
Potential Novel Therapeutic Targets Fibrosis
New drug inhibits protein to improve fibrotic disease treatment

Fibrosis is the formation of a fibrotic matrix of connective tissue as a response to injury or damage. It may refer to scarring as part of the normal healing process, or excessive tissue deposition that can eventually lead to organ failure.
Fibrosis is a common end-stage pathologic outcome of many diseases including systemic sclerosis, pulmonary hypertension, renal hypertension, cardiac hypertension, myocardial infarction, alcoholic liver disease, and nonalcoholic hepatic steatosis. Unfortunately, fibrotic disorders are largely resistant to treatment and take a very significant toll on patients, their families, and health care spending.
Daniel A. Lawrence, Ph.D., is developing a drug that will inhibit the growth of a fibrotic matrix and significantly improve treatment options in a number of clinically important settings, including fibrotic diseases of the lung, kidney, and heart. He is specifically targeting Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), a protein that acts as the principal inhibitor of both tissue plasminogen activator and urokinase plasminogen activator (proteins involved in the breakdown of blood clots, and in the resolution of the fibrotic matrix).
"Numerous studies have shown PAI-1's role in normal physiologic processes, such as thrombolysis and wound healing," says Dr. Lawrence. "PAI-1's expression is also directly linked to obesity and insulin resistance, which are known to be primary drivers of fibrotic disease. This suggests that PAI-1 contributes directly to pathology, and that inhibiting it may be an effective approach to treating a wide variety of diseases, especially where fibrosis is a significant component."
Developing effective small molecule PAI-1 inhibitors as a therapeutic agent presents a challenge because of the complexity of the PAI-1 mechanism and because of its relative instability. To address these issues, Dr. Lawrence developed a unique screening platform that has identified lead compounds that inhibit PAI-1 in complex environments like blood and tissues.
"MTRAC funding has enabled us to continue our studies and test compounds that inhibit PAI-1 in fibrotic disease models," said Lawrence. "Our goal is to generate the data we need in order to advance this project to the point where we can obtain a license for this technology from the University of Michigan and move the project to our start-up company, MedigenixBio, Inc."
The University of Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) for Life Sciences Innovation Hub is supported by the U-M Medical School, U-M Tech Transfer Office, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and works to "fast forward" projects that have a high potential for commercial success, with the ultimate goal of positively impacting human health. The PAI-1 inhibitor project is just one of 11 projects in the 2017 cohort funded by MTRAC. In 2014, the program funded 11 teams for early commercialization development, while 11 teams were funded in 2015, and 12 projects were funded in 2016. Dr. Lawrence will be presenting the PAI-1 inhibitor project at this year's FFMI Biomedical Innovation Cup.

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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.