Michigan’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Receives Nearly $1 Million to Support High-Tech University Researchers

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Michigan Strategic Fund approves support for Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization programs across the state

LANSING, Mich. – May 19, 2020 – In an effort to further grow Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and support high-tech research, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) today announced the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) awarded $950,000 to Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Programs across the state.

MTRAC programs supported by the MSF today include:

“We are already seeing how COVID-19 is affecting our state’s economy,” said Fred Molnar, vice president of MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative. “This support from the MSF will ensure our state’s researchers have the resources they need to bring valuable high-tech innovations to market as Michigan continues to move toward recovery and can continue to reinvigorate Michigan’s economy in the years to come.”

MTRAC supports the acceleration of technology transfer from Michigan higher education institutions, non-profit research centers and hospital systems for commercialization of competitive-edge technologies in the key areas of agriculture-biology, advanced computing, advanced transportation, life sciences and advanced materials. The MTRAC program is supported by funds from the MSF and administered by the MEDC, with additional funding coming from partner institutions.

To date, MTRAC programs have received 745 proposals, funded 336 projects, developed 64 startup companies, licensed 49 technologies to industry partners and secured more than $249 million in follow-on funding. At the 2019 International Economic Development Council annual conference, MTRAC received a Gold Award in recognition of the program’s commitment and success in supporting innovative high-tech research and strengthening Michigan’s business climate.

A recent success out of the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Life Sciences program is Fifth Eye, a startup that has developed technology to interpret a patient’s electrocardiogram and detect future instability before a patient shows any signs of distress. Made up of a team of nurses, physicians, data scientists and computer scientists from the University of Michigan, Fifth Eye was awarded funds in 2015 that allowed the team to meet critical milestones as it built out the technology. Since then, Fifth Eye has raised more than $11 million in investment capital. Another recent example of the program’s success is CiBO Technologies, an MTRAC Agriculture-Biology Innovation Hub awardee. CiBO, developed by Dr. Bruno Basso, is a science-driven software company that uses integrated and proprietary data and crop models to analyze the productivity of farmland. The company has received more than $61 million in investments since it received support from the MTRAC program.

“We’ve seen incredible success from our MTRAC programs over the years, and today’s funding announcement is a testament to Michigan’s continued dedication to high-tech researchers and the many partners involved,” said Denise Graves, university relations director for the MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative. “Paving the way for these technologies to reach the commercialization phase not only boosts Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, but also serves as a way to retain and attract talent to our state.”

MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more information on MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation, please visit www.michiganbusiness.org/entrepreneurship.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.