Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund
two surgeons operating

Fast Forward Medical Innovation

We create a critical pipeline between research and the biomedical innovation life cycle. 

The Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund (MBVF) invests in and supports life science startup companies with U-M licensed intellectual property – including therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, and health IT. The MBVF is a collaborative effort between the U-M Medical School’s Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI) program and the U-M College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE).

Founded based on an initial gift from the Monroe-Brown Foundation, MBVF makes seed-stage equity investments in UM life science startup companies, typically $100,000-$300,000. This evergreen fund serves to drive the university’s world-class leadership by creating a critical pipeline between research and the biomedical innovation life cycle, resulting in broad clinical and economic impact through startups.

The Fund is exclusively for biomedical startups with U-M IP. Most applicants need to successfully complete an existing U-M translational program such as CoulterMTRAC for Life SciencesNSF I-Corps. Companies interested in more information should consult with the Fund Manager.

Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund Portfolio
Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund graphic
Portfolio Companies
MBVF Akadeum logo

Akadeum Life Sciences
Ann Arbor, MI
Brandon McNaughton, CEO

Akadeum Life Sciences developed a microbubble-based platform for live cell isolation with applications including cell and gene therapy manufacturing.

FFMI MBVF arborsense logo-transparent

Ann Arbor, MI
Girish Kulkarni, President & Co-Founder

Arborsense makes wearable devices for continuous monitoring of blood alcohol content and other analytes directly from the skin.

MBVF arcascope logo

Ann Arbor, MI
Olivia Walch, CEO

Arcascope developed a platform for sleep and alertness optimization based on circadian rhythm model, for shift workers and chronotherapy applications.

FFMI MBVF brio device logo-transparent

Ann Arbor, MI
Hannah Hensel, Co-Founder & CEO

Brio’s insertion stylets minimize reliance on clinician skill for success and are designed to assist users in locating the trachea and maneuvering the endotracheal tube through the mouth, throat, and airway.

MBVF courage therapeutics logo

Courage Therapeutics
Newton, MA
Dan Houseman, CEO

Courage Therapeutics is developing new medicines for eating disorders.

FFMI MBVF endovascular engineering logo

Endovascular Engineering
Menlo Park, CA
Mike Rosenthal, CEO

Endovascular Engineering developed a thrombectomy device to treat pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.

mbvf evoq therapeutics

EVOQ Therapeutics
Ann Arbor, MI
William Brinkerhoff, Co-Founder & CEO

EVOQ offers nano-vaccine technology that is able to evoke potent anti-tumor T-cell responses that can eradicate tumors and establish long-term immunity against tumor recurrence.

FFMI MBVF flex dex surgical logo-transparent

FlexDex Surgical
Brighton, MI
James Geiger, CEO

FlexDex Surgical is an innovative medical device company bringing the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to more patients around the world by providing surgeons with tools that have the functionality of robots at the cost of traditional hand-held instruments.

mbvf genomenon

Ann Arbor, MI
Mike Klein, CEO

Genomenon’s software simplifies genome interpretation to improve diagnostic accuracy in clinical practice and speed genetic discoveries in research laboratories.

FFMI MBVF invenio imaging logo-transparent

Santa Clara, CA
Jay Trautmann, President & CEO

Invenio’s NIO imaging system enables intraoperative histology, reducing downtime in the OR and allowing examination of specimens from multiple sites in the surgical cavity.

mbvf irenix

iRenix Medical
Palo Alto, CA
Stephen Smith, CEO

iRenix offers a novel antiseptic for intravitreal injections/ophthalmic procedures.

FFMI MBVF mdi therapeutics logo-transparent

MDI Therapeutics
Ann Arbor, MI
Stephen Benoit, President & CEO

Leveraging the world-renowned research of founder Dan Lawrence in serpin biology. MDI Therapeutics has discovered a new class of small molecule inhibitors of plasminogen activator inhibitor-type 1 (PAI-1) for the treatment of fibrosis.

mbvf mountain pass logo

Mountain Pass
Ann Arbor, MI
Tom Simon, CEO

Mountain Pass Solutions (MPS) offers a fully configurable workflow management system as a SaaS product.

FFMI MBVF onl therapeutics logo-transparent

ONL Therapeutics
Ann Arbor, MI
John Freshley, President & CEO

ONL offers a first-in-class therapy to protect the vision of patients with retinal disease, using a Fas inhibitor designed to protect against retinal cell death.

mbvf parabricks logo

Exited – acquired by Nvidia

Ann Arbor, MI
Mehrzad Samedi, CEO and Co-founder

Parabricks helps companies and researchers sequence whole human genomes 48x faster than conventional next-generation sequencing pipelines saving on computation costs with faster throughputs.

FFMI MBVF ripple logo-transparent

Ripple Science
Ann Arbor, MI
Peter Falzon, Co-Founder & CEO

Ripple Science offers program management software for recruiting subjects for academic or industry studies.

Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund Team
John Seamans headshot John Seamans, MSE
Investment Advisory Board Members

The Investment Advisory Board (IAB) is comprised of 7-10 members and advises on all investment decisions. IAB members include individuals with domain expertise, successful venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and other investors in healthcare and biotech. Members do not have an official U-M appointment or specific ties to existing U-M funding programs (one representative is appointed to the IAB by the U-M Investment Office). The IAB is operationally independent from the Deal Flow Council. IAB Board Members are:

  • Amit Aysola, MSE, MBA – Managing Partner, Create Health Ventures
  • Sundaresh Brahmasandra, PhD, Biotech Entrepreneur, VP Strata Oncology
  • Rafael Castilla, JD, Director MINTS, U-M Investment Office
  • Dan Estes, PhD, General Partner, Frazier Life Sciences
  • Brian Gallagher, MS, PhD, Biotech Investor & Entrepreneur
  • Rekha Hemrajani, MS, Life Science CEO & Board Member
  • Dan Kidle, BBA, MBA, Partner, Arboretum Ventures
  • Jason Lettman, MBA, Partner, Lightstone Ventures
  • Julia Owens, PhD, Biotech CEO, Advisor & Board Member
  • Ellen Sheets, MD, MBA.., Healthcare Exec, CEO SeQure Dx
  • C.R. Sincock, Investor & Entrepreneur, AvFuel, Transhuman Capital
UM Hospital at Night Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund
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
startups funded since launch (1 exited)
investments since launch
35:1 leverage: $35+ of follow-on funding for every $1 of MBVF investment
in funding raised for all companies combined
Frequently Asked Questions

Any U-M startup that has a U-M license/option and has a biomedical or healthcare focus is eligible to receive funding. Since this is an early-stage venture fund we fund at the angel or seed level, and in some case at the Series A stage. We do not make our first investment in rounds later than the Series A stage.

Yes, you can still apply while the licensing is still in progress. The final funding is contingent on obtaining the license/option.

Yes, you can still apply while the company formation is in progress. The final funding is contingent on company formation, and proof of business entity registration is required.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. It is highly recommended that you contact the program manager before applying. Once we receive a company’s application, we’ll begin the initial due-diligence process (about 4-6 weeks). Select teams will be recommended to present to the external Investment Advisory Board (IAB). During this time, companies have to address issues raised by the Board and the Program Manager as they perform further due diligence (4-8 weeks). In most cases, companies are funded after addressing feedback from the introductory meeting with the Board. Typically, the entire process takes 2 to 4 months.

Sorry, at this moment we are not considering student-IP owned startups from U-M.

Since most companies are very early-stage, we want to keep the terms as simple and easy as possible. We are open to using a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) agreement or a convertible note. In cases where syndicates are being formed, we are happy to follow the lead investor’s term sheet subject to certain provisions.

"FFMI's fastPACE commercialization course helped us learn a lot of the basics and develop our first business model canvas. Several years later, the Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund provided investment and valuable connections, including introductions to potential collaborators. We are now exploring optimizing the timing of immunotherapy and other conditions with U-M researchers."

Olivia Walch, PhD
Adjunct Research Investigator, Neurology;, CEO, Arcascope
Olivia Walch headshot
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.