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U-M Center for the Discovery of New Medicines awards seven new grants

Female chemist at work in laboratory. (stock image)

ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan Center for the Discovery of New Medicines has awarded early-stage funding for seven new drug discovery projects by faculty from across U-M.

Six of the projects focus on treating disease including heart failure, runaway cell division in cancer, hypertension, Crohn's disease, a genetic heart disorder and neurological damage. A seventh project aims to improve agents used in positron emission tomography, or PET scanning, which doctors use to evaluate tumors and other tissues.

"The diversity of these latest projects speaks to the breadth and depth of the university's translational research programs and the great entrepreneurial spirit at U-M to move biomedical knowledge toward improving the life of patients," said Vincent Groppi, the center's director.

This marks the ninth round of funding since the center launched in 2012 as a partnership between several campus units to provide mentorship and early-stage support for drug discovery projects.

Including these latest seven projects, the center has invested nearly $1.75 million in 52 projects. They, in turn, have gone on to secure more than $17 million in federal grants and other support. Several projects have received patent protection or have been licensed by a commercial partner.

The grants—of up to $50,000 each—primarily support work in four university core laboratories: the Center for Chemical Genomics and Center for Structural Biology at the U-M Life Sciences Institute, and Pharmacokinetics Core and Vahlteich Medicinal Chemistry Core at the College of Pharmacy.

The latest grants were awarded to:

Together, the Center for the Discovery of New Medicines and its affiliated cores help guide researchers through the many stages of the drug discovery process—from validation of a drug target to optimizing drug safety and effectiveness for human clinical trials.

The center is funded by the Office of the Provost, College of Pharmacy, Life Sciences Institute, Comprehensive Cancer Center and, at the Medical School, the Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Pathology and an endowment for the basic sciences. Its executive committee includes senior researchers and administrators from the U-M College of Pharmacy, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical School and Life Sciences Institute.

The deadline for the next round of grant proposals is Friday, April 20. For more information and to apply, visit cdnm.lsi.umich.edu.