Roundup: Swift Biosciences, ONL, Application Deadlines, & More

Here’s a look at innovation news from around Michigan:

Challenge Detroit, a leadership and professional development program that takes fellows from around the country and places them at a local partner company for a year, is now accepting applications for its 2016-2017 cohort. For the first time since the program’s inception in 2012, Detroit-area companies have the opportunity to participate by nominating an existing employee to become a fellow. Challenge Detroit accepts college‐educated applicants from across disciplines and levels of experience. The deadline to apply is March 6.

—Ann Arbor’s Swift Biosciences has partnered with San Diego-based Silicon Biosystems Menarini on a new product to help oncologists access genomic information locked within formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples. Tim Harkins, the CEO of Swift Biosciences, said in a press release that Silicon Biosystems Menarini has “revolutionized the analysis of FFPE samples by enabling researchers to perform [genetic testing] from samples that previously could not be sequenced.”

Silicon Biosystems will combine its DEPArray System, capable of isolating tumor and normal cells from FFPE materials, with Swift Biosciences’ sequencing technology, allowing researchers to test samples that contain small amounts of damaged or fragmented DNA, the companies said. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

DTX Launch Detroit is accepting applications to its 10-week summer startup accelerator for college students and recent graduates. Launch Detroit teaches budding entrepreneurs how to find customers, test ideas, create business plans, and hone pitches. A free informational session will be held at TechTown Detroit on Feb. 24 for those with questions about the program; click here to RSVP. The deadline to apply for the program is April 22.

—The Mobile Technology Association of Michigan is spearheading the creation of an online trade show, where those working on connected cars can develop business relationships. The Connected Vehicle Virtual Trade Show “booths” will remain online for an extended period of time so participants can find collaborators and understand the various value propositions being highlighted. Those interested in participating have until Feb. 19 to register for a booth, which can be customized and changed in real-time throughout the life of the project.

—The professional development organization Inforum is now accepting applications for its inGAGE Master Class for women entrepreneurs. Patti Glaza and Paula Sorrell will teach the class, helping participants assess their ventures’ strengths and challenges, and introducing them to potential investors. The next class will run April-September; click here to apply.

—Earlier this month, ONL Therapeutics received an orphan drug designation from the FDA for ONL1204, an experimental treatment for retinal detachment. In a press release, ONL said it’s the only company that has secured orphan status for a retinal detachment drug. Clinical trials for ONL1204 are expected to get underway some time this year.

—The University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies is on the hunt for companies to present at the upcoming Michigan Growth Capital Symposium. Any early- or mid-stage startup seeking funding can apply for a 15-minute slot to pitch an audience of potential investors. Thirty-five companies will be showcased, and the deadline to apply is March 10.

—Every winter semester, the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Impact partners with a Detroit-based nonprofit on a project that helps the partner organization tackle pressing challenges. This year, the Social Impact Challenge focused on the Police Athletic League’s (PAL) Kids at the Corner redevelopment campaign to transform the former home field of the Detroit Tigers into a youth sports center. Teams of students participating in the challenge pitched ideas to help PAL complete the project.

Team “Eye of the Tiger” won the top prize and $2,500 for its proposal to preserve the site’s history through corporate and alumni sponsorships, social media awareness campaigns, enhanced sports leagues for boys and girls, and co-hosted community events. The groundbreaking for the new Detroit PAL facility is planned for April, and the team will continue to work with the facility through the end of the school year.

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