During lockdown, Asalyxa Bio’s chief scientific officer Lola Eniola-Adefeso was one of the only people still working in Ann Arbor, where most work and scientific research was shut down to protect against the spread of COVID-19. Eniola-Adefeso was still working because she was one of a few scientists working on a treatment that could benefit the sickest COVID-19 patients, the ones who suffer from Acute Repiratory Distress Syndrome and cytokine storm. Eniola-Adefeso’s employer, new Ann Arbor biotech startup Asalyxa Bio, recently announced seed funding for its neutrophil targeting drug delivery technology to advance to first in-human trials next year. The tech can be used to target certain cells to treat Acute Repiratory Distress Syndrome, including the variety found in COVID-19 patients.
The University of Michigan School of Information is seeking organizations to host student projects in the 2020-2021 school year. Organizations from all industries – corporate, non-profit, governmental, health, and research institutions – that seek impact and access to high-caliber students are invited to propose a project.
Universities everywhere are trying to trim budgets and plan for virtual instruction in case of a second wave in the Fall 2020 semester, but where does that slack come from? In the case of schools where staff is at essential levels already or there are unavoidable cutbacks or furloughs, can software help remaining faculty and staff do more with less?
What is happening with the newest cohort of tech and life science startups spun out of intellectual property invented at the University of Michigan? We’ve heard in recent times that the university has poured resources into programs for students interested in turning inventions and software into startups rather than taking a traditional job after graduation, but it seems spotty which majors and areas of the university are involved beyond computer science. We recently were introduced to several new startups navigating the entrepreneurial process straight out of college, and wanted to bring you the story of one small company and how it navigated through the maze of startup development from within the academic environment. It’s just one path to entrepreneurship in a growing tech and startup scene in Michigan, but one that is often hidden behind closed doors.
Sure, there are braille tablets these days that are pretty amazing. They translate several words or lines of text from websites into raised braille dots on a physical surface that scrolls through the web, opening up the world to those who can’t view the content of computers and the internet through traditional screens. But there are challenges. According to Alex Russomanno of new Ann Arbor startup NewHaptics, current braille tablets are limited to small quantities of text at a time, they’re incredibly expensive to manufacture, and they don’t have any way to translate images or graphs. This leaves the blind locked out of visual content, maps and graphs on computers.
The third annual University of Michigan Data for Public Good Symposium, which runs 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020 in Ann Arbor, will feature presentations on ways in which students, faculty, staff and community members have worked together to analyze and assess data to benefit others. The event includes a presentation by industry partner Data Driven Detroit, which provides accessible high-quality information and analysis to nonprofit organizations, foundations, universities, and businesses to support data-driven decision-making in the city.
Happy Valentine’s Day! If you’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a little tech twist, this year you can send an augmented reality valentine to a child at Mott’s Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor using Spellbound AR’s new AR valentines.
Rebecca Cunningham, the University of Michigan Interim VP for Research with Tech Transfer and Kelly Sexton, Associate VP for Research at Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships at U of M TechTransfer, held a panel this week at Celebrate Invention on a milestone year for the University of Michigan developing inventions, research, and startups from work done by faculty and researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. TechTransfer is the licensing office that helps researchers and faculty at the University of Michigan who develop inventions and new business ideas spin off intellectual property with proper licensing from the University of Michigan. This year, according to Cunningham, the University of Michigan has developed 502 new inventions, 198 patents, 232 licenses and options with industry, and founded a record 22 new startups.
Every Time The Bell Rings, a Startup Gets Its Wings: Venture Accelerator’s Diane Bouis Talks Connecting New Ann Arbor Startups
In a maze of buildings on the University of Michigan’s North Campus in Ann Arbor, the Venture Accelerator, startup hub for intellectual property spun off by the Office of Tech Transfer from research and faculty at the University of Michigan, sits quietly on the block that used to be owned by Pfizer. Diane Bouis, Innovation Program Manager at the Venture Accelerator, helps these new ventures find resources and space in the many labs and offices housed in the building where the Venture Accelerator hosts new companies. The Venture Center, Accelerator, and Office of Tech Transfer work in close conjunction here to support baby startups in life sciences in particular to get out into the world.
Young entrepreneurs are pouring out of tech towns these days. If the towns are lucky, they retain many of them now that the Midwest and other places outside Silicon Valley are reviving and affordable spaces to grow a business. The University of Michigan, ranked #1-rated ecosystem for undergrad student entrepreneurs by Princeton Review, is leading the way in this shift in startup culture across the U.S.. That’s why successful serial entrepreneurs like Jim Price were brought on board, to mentor the next generation of founders. Price is Entrepreneurial Studies Faculty & Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, and he’s a big connector and mentor for young entrepreneurs starting out in Ann Arbor, with a background that spans coasts, tech and engineering, and teaching. He’s also a really fun guy we’ve watched help shift the entrepreneurial environment in Ann Arbor through generous mentorship, so we caught up with him in his office at the University of Michigan to ask him what led him to Ann Arbor and what trends he’s seeing these days in business and entrepreneurship.