U-M Therapeutic Innovation Fund

The Michigan Center for Therapeutic Innovation (MCTI) and Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI) offer a five-year, $2.5 million fund created to accelerate the discovery and translation of therapeutic candidates at the University of Michigan.

The fund supports the discovery and optimization of small molecule lead compounds for projects with a specific, novel, and testable drug discovery hypothesis. Selected projects receive funding and resources from MCTI in the areas of assay development, drug design, cell biology, medicinal chemistry, structural biology, and pharmacology (up to $100,000 in value for each award for one to two years). The fund is jointly administered by MCTI and FFMI.

An advisory committee of recognized drug discovery and development experts review and select projects for funding, and MCTI and FFMI partner to assign funded teams with experienced mentors to guide each individual project.

Six teams from two U-M schools have won funding in this cycle to take their research on potential new medicines to the next level. The winners are:

Joseph Holoshitz, Internal Medicine – Rheumatology
Orally available small molecule lead for rheumatoid arthritis and other bone-damaging conditions

Peter Higgins, Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology
Optimization of novel Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitors for anti-fibrotic activity and gut selectivity in the mouse Salmonella model of intestinal fibrosis

Zaneta Nikolovska-Coleska, Pathology
Small molecule Mcl-1 inhibitors for the treatment of cancer

Peter Arvan & Ming Liu, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, & Diabetes (MEND)
Pro-insulin Dimerization Surface Protectors (PDSPs)

Yali Dou, Pathology
Targeting SET domain of MLL family histone methyltransferases

Nouri Neamati, Pharmacy/Med Chem
Development of First-in-Class SHMT2 and MTHFD2 inhibitors


Have questions about the U-M Therapeutic Innovation Fund? Contact Ester Fernández-Salas, MCTI Managing Director, at esterf@umich.edu or 734-998-8301, or Visha Krishnan, FFMI Senior Business Analyst, at kvisha@umich.edu or 734-764-2891.