Davidson Foundation Awards $7.35 Million for Healthcare, Biotech Innovation in Michigan

The University of Michigan and Henry Ford Health System have announced grants totaling $7.35 million from the William Davidson Foundation to accelerate the application of discoveries and innovations in biotechnology and health care.

The U-M Medical School was awarded $2.9 million over three years in support of its Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI) initiative and $1.45 million over two years for programs in the university's Office of Technology Transfer and Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) in the U-M College of Engineering. The funds will enable FFMI to more deeply engage faculty and "mine" for promising projects, broaden its efforts to promote healthcare innovation and create education, training, and mentoring opportunities for inventors and entrepreneurs. The Office of Technology Transfer, which provides commercialization services for discoveries derived from U-M research, will use its portion of the grant to launch a Digital Discovery Center that supports the development of software, data, and other digital innovations. And CFE will use its funds to launch the MGoForward program, which will provide strategic follow-on mentoring, training, and technical support to graduating students whose start-ups show market potential.

"We are committed to being a force multiplier for biomedical innovation in the state of Michigan and on the world stage," said FFMI executive director Kevin Ward. "This investment by the Davidson Foundation will help us more quickly bring new technologies and innovations to patients and families and nurture a culture of commercialization and entrepreneurship for tomorrow."

The foundation also awarded a three-year, $3 million grant to Henry Ford Innovations to establish the William Davidson Center for Entrepreneurs in Digital Health, which will work to incubate new technologies and companies focused on digital healthcare applications and platforms, nurture digital healthcare leaders through a fellowship program, and foster entrepreneurial talent in southeastern Michigan.

"One of our main goals is to generate digital health solutions that transform medicine," said Mark Coticchia, vice president and chief innovation officer for the Henry Ford Health System. "We are developing the next generation of precision digital applications and platforms and validating their clinical functionality and value."