Academic medical research often paves the way to discovery of the next generation of therapies and medical devices. Translating this vast potential of research discoveries into commercially relevant applications is often limited by a lack of funding for certain intermediate stages of development. There are a number of groups and programs that have tried to address this ‘translational funding gap.’ At the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), the “UM Ventures Seed Grant Program” was designed as one solution.
The UM Ventures Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) at UMB leads and manages the fund for the program, which was set up in 2014. In the past four years, 50+ grants were awarded to UMB inventors to enable them to complete critical work such as building prototypes of new medical devices and gathering proof-of-concept experimental data on new therapies.
“One of the greatest hurdles for a biotech or medical device researcher is obtaining the early-stage funding necessary to help make the leap from promising translational research to a serious commercialization project,” says Phil Robilotto, Chief Commercialization Officer with OTT. “Our Seed Grant Program is playing an important role in jumpstarting inventors who are on the forefront of medical technology innovation.”
The most recent award grantees show promise in a few intractable areas of healthcare: safer and more effective radiology treatment for cancer patients, early-stage lung cancer diagnosis and a much-needed therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
Following is a window into some success stories that began with UM Ventures Seed Grants. If you are a UMB inventor with an invention disclosure and a commercially promising program, contact the OTT at email@example.com learn about additional funding opportunities.
Read more about the 3 recent seed investments UM Ventures made at UMB.