Business Development
Dr. Aki Morikawa in the clinic talking to a patient

Fast Forward Medical Innovation

We work to enable and catalyze productive academic-industry partnerships, leveraging U-M faculty innovations to improve healthcare.

The Fast Forward Medical Innovation Business Development (BD) team facilitates all forms of Academic-Industry collaborations. We utilize expert understanding of research contracting, budget, and negotiating to strengthen industry relationships and ensure successful project execution.

FFMI BD Research Pipeline graphic

Collaborators can use this searchable database to find U-M faculty members whose expertise aligns with their needs. Additionally, they can explore faculty-proposed project ideas and access information on available lab and clinical resources. If you are interested in working with industry and would like to be featured on this dashboard, please complete this brief survey or reach out to the BD team directly at [email protected]. We look forward to working with you!

Faculty Resources

The BD team provides 1:1 support to faculty researchers and study teams based within the Medical School who have an interest in collaborating with Industry. We help to identify partnerships and maintain clear communication with the sponsor from project conception through execution. We provide business guidance to faculty to ensure alignment of expectations, reduction of risk, and overall partnership structures that are win-win for the company and the PI.

Keep Watching

Learn more about how the Business Development team helps researchers work with industry and other external partners, towards the ultimate goal of impacting patient health.

Business Development Educational Videos YouTube Playlist

What are the different ways of working with industry on my research?
There are many ways that our faculty can partner with industry sponsors all along the translational research pipeline including consulting, other sponsored activities (OSA), sponsored research, Investigator Initiated Trials, and Industry Initiated Clinical Trials. The FFMI BD team is here to help facilitate the successful execution of each of these different types of partnerships.

graphic flow chart describing Business Development

Should I negotiate the budget and contract for my industry project?
We recommend a team approach when engaging and negotiating with industry. Although it is not required to work with the FFMI BD team when negotiating, we are here to support all aspects of crafting a win-win deal between your research team and the industry partners.

Can the FFMI BD team help me with ITT concepts with industry?
The FFMI BD team provides support to meet the specific needs of your project. We can provide company contacts, or help to negotiate deals for sponsorship, access to study drugs, or in-kind services such as sequencing. Reach out to the FFMI BD team to explore your options.

Why do industry partners want to work with academic researchers?
Industry partners work with academic researchers who have specific expertise, tools, or resources that complement their in-house capabilities and support their strategic goals.

Financial support for research
One of the biggest benefits of working with industry is the financial support they provide for your research. This alternate funding stream can be key as federal funding is becoming more and more competitive to obtain.

Access to investigational drugs, devices, assays, and data
Working with Industry may help you gain access to new drugs, devices, or assays to test in your lab. By working with Industry on developing products, you may also gain access to important data from these products that may support your research goals.

No, only personnel with Regental Signature Authority, such as ORSP or U-M Legal, can sign on behalf of University of Michigan. Therefore, any legal document with the intention to bind the University of Michigan to an obligation should not be signed by U-M research faculty or staff.

Yes, there are many ways to work with industry that yield benefits for both parties. These fee-for-service agreements can generate preliminary data which may support future sponsored research opportunities.

No, a conflict of Interest (COI) does not mean a University of Michigan investigator cannot work with industry. Any potential conflicts should be reviewed and managed by the Medical School’s Regulatory Affairs Office ([email protected]).

Yes, consulting is allowed. Typically, companies compensate investigators for their professional expertise to guide strategy or interpretation of results. University of Michigan has policies that govern consulting activities. Please watch our video to learn more or contact the FFMI BD team to facilitate.

Yes, the terms of these deals determine what type of agreement and potential committee reviews would be required. Please watch our video or visit the Data & Biospecimen Sharing website.

Partnership Opportunities

The BD team serves as liaisons between our external partners and University of Michigan Medical School faculty, helping navigate the many world-renowned departments and programs available at Michigan Medicine.

Work With Us

FFMI bd work with us graphic
University of Michigan Collaboration Network: Opioids
screenshot of collaboration network visual

Michigan Medicine is at the forefront of partnering with sponsoring organizations on clinical trials, advancing healthcare in Michigan and around the world. View the video below to learn more about the University of Michigan’s clinical trial enterprise. 

medical_campus_aerial Business Development
2023 was another record-breaking year of biomedical innovation at the University of Michigan, and Fast Forward Medical Innovation is thrilled to be part of the rich ecosystem of innovation resources that contributed to this impressive accomplishment.
View Our 2023 Impact Report
Invention Reports
Industry Research Awards
New Business Startups
License/Option Agreements
Meet the FFMI Business Development Team
FFMI Mike Ranella Mike Ranella, MBA, MPH
Business Development Senior Director

Research Areas: Immunology, GI & Hepatology, Pulmonary, Digital Health, Human Genetics, Cardiovascular
FFMI BD Emilija Mitrikeska Emilija Mitrikeska, MD
Associate Director, Business Development

Research Areas: Clinical Oncology, Cell-based Therapy, Solid Tumors, Liquid Tumors, Biomarkers, RNA Therapeutics
FFMI Shelby Unsworth Shelby Unsworth, PhD
Associate Director, Business Development

Research Areas: Basic Oncology, Developmental Therapeutics, Dermatology, Psychedelics, Ophthalmology, Data & Biospecimans
FFMI Ingrid Qemo Ingrid Qemo, PhD, MBA
Industry Alliance Manager - Business Development

Research Areas: Diabetes, Neurology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Sleep Medicine, Basic Oncology
Fast Forward Medical Innovation
Business Development Testimonial

"I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to work closely with the FFMI Business Development group. They listened carefully to my team and gained a full understanding of our research priorities and interests. Using that information, they leveraged industry connections to create brand new research partnerships that have accelerated our research and have been essential to the growth of our Initiative. Mike and Shelby are now integral members of our team and continue to advance our research in new and exciting ways!”

Steven A. Goldstein, Ph.D., Collegiate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Co-Director, Exercise and Sport Science Initiative
headshot photo of KEN KOZLOFF, PH.D.
Contact Us
North Campus Research Complex (NCRC)
Building 520, 3rd Floor
2800 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800
Phone: 734-615-5060
About Us
Fast Forward Medical Innovation is a unit of the Medical School Office of Research, where our mission is to foster an environment of innovation and efficiency that serves the Michigan Medicine research community and supports biomedical science from insight to impact.