April 2020

U-M Tech Transfer and the Fight Against COVID-19

On behalf of the entire U-M Tech Transfer team, we hope this letter finds you and your loved ones well.  The situation we face today would have been unimaginable for many of us just weeks ago. As COVID-19 has changed the way we work and live, the U-M Tech Transfer team has been giving considerable thought as to how we can best assist in the fight against COVID-19.

What started with equipment drives for front-line health care workers and efforts to help  flatten the curve has quickly evolved into a coordinated series of initiatives to support the U-M community of innovators in their work to combat this pandemic.

We are finding new ways to support our U-M researchers doing COVID-19 research, move relevant technologies into the marketplace more quickly, and assist our startup companies during these challenging times.

We encourage you to join us at our COVID-19 website for more detail on these initiatives, but below are a few examples of our recent activities:


Whether your U-M startup company is pivoting to assist in the COVID-19 fight or pressing forward in these challenging times, members of the U-M Venture Center team are on call to help. Please visit our COVID-19 Business Resource List and reach out with any questions you might have concerning funding, support services, or suggestions on relevant resources that have yet to be listed. We will update the page as new information is received.


Over the past several years, U-M Tech Transfer and the Business Engagement Center have built a considerable network of startups, entrepreneurs, innovators, and venture capitalists.  We are now working to leverage this network in service of the fight against COVID-19. Presently, we are surveying Michigan’s manufacturing base to identify those that are able to collaborate with UM on the development of emerging sources of PPE and other devices useful in combatting COVID-19. 

We will continue to use our position as a connector in the regional innovation ecosystem in order to advance innovations to the clinic and assist our front-line health care professionals. If you have thoughts as to how we might be able to help, please contact us at  


If you are a researcher at the University of Michigan pursuing work that may help in the fight against COVID-19, we are here to help. Please reach out to a member of the Tech Transfer team today to discuss how we might be able to assist.

For more information on the U-M Office of Research response to the COVID-19, please visit their COVID-19 page.


Given the number of inbound requests we have received from companies interested in sponsoring and collaborating on research with U-M’s growing SARS-CoV-2 research community,  we have created a COVID Research Collaboration Proposal Form.  If you represent a company that would like to connect with members of our newly-forming U-M SARS-CoV-2 research community, we ask that you please complete this form so that we can ensure that you are routed to the appropriate research group(s).


We have begun to aggregate technologies that we believe may be of value to researchers and front-line health care workers engaged in the COVID-19 fight, with an emphasis on those that are available open-source and open access. From a 3D printable face shield design to a high-throughput assay for the accurate and rapid measurement of viral mutation rates, we believe we have technologies that can be of real value today. You can find the COVID-19 portfolio on our website. We will be adding to it over the days to come as we consider the evolving needs of those working toward a cure and managing the care of those with the disease.

Lastly, I would just like to say how incredibly proud we are to support some of our nation’s most brilliant scientists and innovative, driven entrepreneurs. This is truly a time that great public research institutions like the University of Michigan were made for, and we're honored to play a role as inventors like Lola Eniola-Adefso work to advance the development of a drug delivery system to treat Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and U-M startups like Ripple Science leverage their platform to support those running COVID-19 vaccine trials.

These times are certainly challenging, but the innovations that we see every day give us reason for optimism. As always, we are inspired to demonstrate how world-class university research can fuel a region and solve the world’s biggest challenges. Now, more than ever.


Kelly B. Sexton, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Research - Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan