U-M reports record number of inventions in FY ’23

September 15, 2023
Groups of people mingling around tables at a Celebrate Invention event. Image courtesy: Celebrate Invention

Research led by the University of Michigan generated a record 580 new inventions last year and launched 25 startup companies ranging in scope from innovative therapies for the treatment of fibrosis to technologies that aid in substance abuse monitoring.

U-M President Santa J. Ono announced the university’s fiscal year 2023 research commercialization metrics at the annual Celebrate Invention event hosted Sept. 14 by Innovation Partnerships, a unit based in the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Innovation Partnerships, the university’s central hub for research commercialization activity, also reported 145 new U.S. patents and more than 300 license and option agreements with industry during the last fiscal year.

“These developments make clear that the University of Michigan is an exceptional place for both basic research and applied R&D,” Ono said. “The scale of our inventions, the reach of innovations and the sum of overall impact is just phenomenal.

“I’m so proud of the countless ways that the team at Innovation Partnerships assists and strengthens our researchers and faculty on the commercialization journey, and as inspired as I am of their work so far, I’m truly excited about their impact in the days ahead.”

Auricle, a startup company with a device designed to alleviate tinnitus—a condition that affects up to 15% of adults in the United States—launched with the help of Innovation Partnerships in fiscal year 2023.

Another startup that launched last year is Decimal Code, a medical coding company aiming to utilize artificial intelligence to automate medical billing and optimize repayment effectiveness. Officially founded in spring 2023, the research team began working with Innovation Partnerships with their first invention disclosure in 2018 and have since utilized the resources provided by the unit, including licensing, patent protection, funding support, mentoring and more.

U-M startups had more than $786 million in capital fundraising and liquidity events as they continue to evolve their technologies for broad societal use. Eight U-M projects and startups were represented at Celebrate Invention, where they demonstrated their research commercialization efforts and positive reciprocal effects on the regional economy.

“Celebrate Invention is a wonderful time for us to honor our U-M inventors and recognize their efforts to move research discoveries to the marketplace, where they can save lives, improve the human condition and enhance societal well-being,” said Kelly Sexton, U-M associate vice president for research and innovation partnerships.

“At U-M, we have incredible research strengths across disciplines—ranging from medicine, engineering, social research and design to business, environmental sciences and beyond. This provides an unparalleled opportunity for our community of innovators to work collaboratively and solve the many significant challenges facing our world today.”

Innovation Partnerships also continues to expand its financial support of U-M startups through venture capital provided by the Accelerate Blue Fund, the evergreen venture fund managed by the unit.

Since its inception, the fund has grown to have more than $15 million under management and deployed $2.75 million of investment capital into 14 startups. For every $1 of Accelerate Blue Fund investment, U-M startups have raised $36 from other investors. In just two short years, the fund has elevated the positive, economic impact of U-M’s research enterprise across the region.

“The University of Michigan is a global leader in academic research and innovation, and in order for us to continue pushing the frontiers of knowledge and discovery, it is vital that we embrace and promote a culture that recognizes and supports faculty who are committed to translating their work for broad societal impact,” said Rebecca Cunningham, U-M vice president for research.