MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub

The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences Innovation Hub is a statewide program supporting translational research projects in life sciences with high commercial potential, with the ultimate goal of positively impacting human health. Innovators from all schools at the University of Michigan, other institutions of higher education, non-profit research centers, and hospital systems across Michigan are eligible to submit projects for funding consideration.

The program offers early-stage funding opportunities through Kickstart and MTRAC, our funding program for mid-stage commercialization projects. The program has awarded millions of dollars in funding over the past four years.

The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub is co-managed by Innovation Partnerships and U-M Medical School’s Fast Forward Medical Innovation Program. It has an operating budget of $2M, with half of the funds coming from the State of Michigan’s Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) and the remainder coming from participating institutions. The program reinforces the commitment of the MSF, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and U-M to entrepreneurship as a dynamic catalyst for economic growth, allowing for greater collaboration and ultimately increasing the number of start-ups, jobs, industry licenses, and investment for Michigan.

KICKSTART EARLY-STAGE FUNDING

Kickstart Awards are a part of the MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub – a statewide program that accelerates the transfer of technologies from Michigan’s institutions of higher education to the private sector for commercialization.

Made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub, the U-M Medical School Office of Research, and the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), Kickstart Awards offer early-stage funding to biomedical researchers across the state of Michigan. This award is aimed to enhance the commercial potential of a technology owned by any Michigan-based non-profit to the point of demonstration of utility and possible inclusion in the MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub or other research funding programs.

The Kickstart Awards offer funding up to $42,500, with all awarded projects requiring a cost share from the investigator/institution. Proposals are reviewed and awarded semi-annually, with the next RFP opening in March and proposals being due in May.

All interested researchers must complete a pre-submission application before submitting a full proposal.

Proposals must address a discrete milestone that is critical to the advancement of research to the point of product development. This milestone will increase the commercialization potential of the overall research project to the point where it can be considered a strong candidate for further translational research funding and ultimately commercialization. Examples include in-vivo testing, prototype development, beta development and testing, or drug-candidate pre-clinical work.

MTRAC MID-STAGE FUNDING

MTRAC Awards are a part of the MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub – a statewide program that accelerates the transfer of technologies from Michigan’s institutions of higher education to the private sector for commercialization. Made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and co-managed by University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships and Fast Forward Medical Innovation, the awards provide mid-stage, translational research funding and resources for proof-of-concept and late-stage translational studies with a high potential of commercial success.

MTRAC Awards offer funding up to $250K, with all awarded projects requiring a cost share from the investigator/institution. They are given once a year in March, with the call for proposals deadline in January. Award winners receive regulatory guidance, business plan development, and mentorship from industry and investment experts.

Projects funded by MTRAC Awards enhance the internal innovation pipeline for long-term success in commercialization. And while invention reports and IP licensing are important milestones for MTRAC projects, positive impacts to human health – as well as job creation – are the ultimate measures of success.

AWARD TIMELINES

MTRAC and Kickstart awards are part of the University of Michigan MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub, a statewide program that supports translational research projects in life sciences with high commercial potential.

Kickstart Early-Stage Funding Awards

Funding Range: Up to $42,500
Request for Proposals: Opens March 2022
Deadline: May 1, 2022

MTRAC Mid-Stage Funding Awards

Funding Range: $100,000 – $250,000
Request for Proposals: Open Now
Deadline: January 7, 2022

MTRAC and Kickstart Statewide Awards Impact

MTRAC Statewide Project Award Recipients – Download Previous Award Recipients PDF
Faculty Innovators and Successful Projects –  Link to Biomedical Innovation Portfolio

MTRAC OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

The oversight committee consists of industry and investment experts who will provide consultation and mentoring to awarded teams.

DEVICE

Arik Anderson
NeoLight

Jenny Barba, MBA, MHSA
BioVentures Investors MedTech Funds

David Casimir, JD, PhD
Casimir Jones

James Eadie, MD
Sante Ventures

Suraj Mudichintala
Arboretum Ventures

Gene Parunak
In2being, LLC

Jeff Rinvelt
Renaissance Ventures Capital Fund

Kelly Sexton, PhD
University of Michigan

THERAPEUTICS, DIAGNOSTICS, IT

Anurag Agarwal, PhD
Osage University Partners

Richard Douglas, PhD
Genzyme Coporation (formerly)

Dave Gregorka
Baird Capital

Reda Jaber, MD, MBA
Emergent Holdings

Kenneth S. Kilgore, MS, PhD
Johnson & Johnson

Gary Krishnan, PhD
Eli Lilly & Company

Bradley Martin
University of Michigan

Ed Pagani, PhD
University of Michigan

Dave Repp, MS, MBA
University of Michigan

KICKSTART OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

The oversight committee consists of industry and investment experts who will provide consultation
and mentoring to awarded teams.

Drew Bennett
University of Michigan

Joseph Jankowski
Henry Ford Health System

Michelle Larkin
University of Michigan

Matthew Okoneski
Michigan State University

Scott Olson
Wayne State University

Ed Pagani
University of Michigan

Jaideep Rajput
Stryker

Frank Urban
Michigan State University

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the process for submission of proposals?

Proposals will be accepted from investigators at any Michigan institute of higher education, non-profit research center and hospital system.

The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub offers two funding tiers – Kickstart awards offer early-stage funding up to $42,500, and MTRAC awards offer mid-stage funding in the $100-250K range. Kickstart awards are given semi-annually, with proposals for these early-stage awards due on May 1. MTRAC awards are given once a year, with proposals for these mid-stage awards due in January.

The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub is using the University of Michigan’s Competition Space to manage the proposal submission process for both Kickstart early-stage and MTRAC mid-stage awards. Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of scientific-merit, potential health care impact and significance, the potential for commercialization, and the likelihood of obtaining further support. It is highly recommended to contact Michelle Larkin, Acting Commercialization Program Director, at michcote@umich.edu or 734-763-0614, to discuss your proposal before submission.

What kind of projects will be funded?

The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub provides resources to support translational projects in the life sciences with high commercial potential. Funding focuses on four specific market segments, or “verticals”: devices, diagnostics, therapeutics and healthcare IT. Kickstart early-stage awards fund preliminary studies, development activities, and milestone setting. MTRAC mid-stage awards include funding for proof-of-concept and late-stage translational studies, regulatory guidance, business plan development and mentorship from industry and investment experts.

What will budgets for selected projects be like?

Project budgets depend on the scope of work and technology. Funds dispersed depend on achievement of prospectively agreed upon milestones, which are project specific.

Note that all budgets will require a 50% cost share from the investigator/institution to be placed into a cost-share account prior to project initiation. For example, for a proposed project budget of $40,000, 50% ($20,000) will be provided by the sponsor and 50% ($20,000) will be provided by the investigator. Cost-share options may include departmental/institutional funds, grants, donors or foundations, etc. Contact Michelle Larkin, Acting Commercialization Program Director, Innovation Partnerships, at michcote@umich.edu or 734-763-0614, for details related to budgets, cost share options, indirect costs, etc.

What can the budget go toward?

The budget amount can be used towards research and development materials, supplies, and equipment; animal purchases, housing, and care; contract and consultancy services; and salaries. Large capital equipment purchases are not allowed. The total amount of salary support requested will be considered when analyzing the competitiveness of each proposal. Salary support is expected to be less than 25% of the total budget. Limited exceptions to this guideline will apply, such as when extensive software development is required.

Who will determine what projects are funded?

The MTRAC Oversight Committee comprises global biotech business experts, as well as leaders in translational science and tech transfer from the participating institutions across Michigan.

The Kickstart Oversight Committee comprises experienced leaders in translational science commercialization and technology transfer from the participating institutions across Michigan.

MTRAC HUBS ACROSS MICHIGAN

For more information contact MTRAC Acting Commercialization Program Director at 734.763.0614 or email Michelle Larkin.