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The University of Michigan values the robust and diverse partnerships with industry, foundations, and philanthropists that enable discoveries to become drugs. The university’s entrepreneurial culture encourages collaboration with external partners who share a commitment to treating human disease.

A Unique Opportunity

Across U-M, a range of departments connect researchers to external partners. The Michigan Drug Discovery team works closely with scientists developing early-stage projects in order to leverage the many resources available.

Campus Commercialization Partners

Michigan Drug Discovery works in close collaboration with the following partners at U-M to turn exciting discoveries into the medicines of tomorrow. Representatives from these partners sit on our Executive Committee.

Innovation Partnerships

Innovation Partnerships is the University unit responsible for the commercialization of University research discoveries and reports to the U-M Office of Research. The office enhances these research discoveries to encourage licensing and broad deployment with existing businesses and newly-formed U-M start-ups. Innovation Partnerships has earned a reputation for performance among the top 10 of all universities.

Our team offers a full set of services to U-M faculty ensure effective technology transfer:

    • Invention reporting facilitation
    • Patenting and other protections
    • Start-up assistance
    • Licensing assistance
    • Offer support and guidance to expedite decisions by internal and external partners
    • Advise interested parties on U-M policies & procedures including conflict of interest issues

Fast Forward Medical Innovation

The mission of Fast Forward Medical Innovation is to make biomedical innovation and entrepreneurship a natural academic behavior that speeds our University’s ability to move great ideas to patient impact. As such, FFMI provides a front door for accessing and navigating the rich biomedical innovation ecosystem at the University of Michigan for our faculty, trainees, and students, as well as industry partners.

Realizing that innovation is more complex than just that “Aha moment,” FFMI offers programs that span:

    • Idea funding
    • Mentorship
    • Innovation-commercialization education
    • Business development activities with industry


We also work to understand industry needs and seek opportunities to develop strategic research and development partnerships that bring long-term added value.

Business Engagement Center 

The Business Engagement Center is industry’s front door to the University of Michigan.

The center designs, builds, and catalyzes partnerships between companies and university faculty and students, to advance shared research and education goals.

The BEC supports companies by:

    • Helping discover joint research projects and leveraging faculty expertise
    • Finding lab space/specialized facilities
    • Uncovering technology/commercialization opportunities
    • Introducing companies to professional development opportunities across all campuses
    • Connecting employees with U-M advisory boards
    • Identifying strategic giving possibilities


Venture philanthropists who understand the tremendous potential benefits both to future patients and to U-M are key supporters of early-stage research.