The MTTC has featured hundreds of entrepreneurs in its Conferences and Platforms and has provided seed funding to dozens of others. All have received some level of coaching and mentoring. Many attribute their subsequent success at least partly to the support of the MTTC. You can read testimonials from our participants or browse their executive summaries in our Virtual Incubator website, but here we list summaries of some of our most prominent successes.
Some MTTC Life Sciences Success Stories by Abigail Barrow, MTTC – presentation at the Early-Stage Life Sciences Technology Conference 2014
Scott Gallager, received $40,000 from MTTC in the spring of 2007. He used the fund to validate the “swimming behavior spectrometer (SBS)” which is a rapid, broad-spectrum early warning system for the detection of toxins in water. The project supported the collaboration with RTDC (Regional Technology Development Corporation) which has proceeded with the formulation of a new start-up company called Petrel Biosensors located in Woods Hole. Petrel will develop the next generation SBS using embedded processing and microfluidics to produce an instrument that is affordable and available for global sales.
Lumos Catheter Systems
Brookline-based Lumos Catheter Systems, Inc. is developing a new device relying on fiber-optic technology to illuminate catheters which will help doctors make better placements in their patients. Farhad Imam, M.D., invented this technology while working with infants at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. He won an MTTC Investigation Award in the spring of 2007. His company is presently looking for seed investment to complete preliminary studies for 510(k) marketing and sales approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Neil Heffernan from WPI won $40,000 in 2006 from MTTC to test and improve his ASSISTment system. The ASSISTment system is a web-based intelligent tutoring system that assesses student’s knowledge base while assisting them in their learning goals. It provides teachers, and parents, immediate, day-to-day feedback on students’ progress, making it easier to offer individualized instruction to help students master concepts they may be struggling with. To date, development of the system has been supported by more than $9M in funding from the NSF, the Department of Education, and other federal agencies. Heffernan has won several awards for his work and has applied for four new patients.
Connective Orthopaedics is a Woburn based company specializing in soft tissue repair in sports medicine applications, with the ultimate goal of healing the torn, native ACL. One of the founders, Dr. Martha Murray, from Children’s Hospital Boston, won an MTTC Investigation Award and used the funds to develop a working prototype. After further progress made with CIMIT and NIH funding, $4M was raised from Norwich Ventures. The potential of the technology to improve clinical outcomes for soft tissue injuries has been demonstrated and reported in both the scientific and clinical communities over the last decade.
Solasta Corporation, which is developing thin film photovoltaics based on coaxial nanotube technology, won a $25,000 grant from the MTTC in 2006, which they used to demonstrate the light-conducting capabilities of their novel materials. Co-founder Michael Naughton of Boston College, also participated in other MTTC programs to support the creation of new start-up companies. In part as a result of this combination of innovative technology, expert coaching and raised profile, Solasta has been the recipient of several million in Series A funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers as well as significant DOE/NREL grants for product development.
Trophos Energy, a Somerville company, works with industry partners, research and education institutes, and government agencies to explore and develop projects and applications where long-term, maintenance-free power sources are of value. Co-founder, Peter Girguis from the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, won an MTTC award in 2007. He used these funds to develop a beta version of a wireless mesh sensor power supply in a terrestrial environment. A microbial fuel cell deployment in the Boston Harbor has gained interest from a major marine telecommunications company. Based on positive results, Girguis also hopes to gain three major grants from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
Atanse was founded by Dr. Miles Cunningham, a researcher at McLean Hospital. Dr. Cunningham has created instrumentation and methods that will enable more precise, better targeted drug delivery to specific brain areas for the treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative disease. The MTTC funded the development of a working prototype of a new instrument and its initial testing on an animal model. With a manufacturing partner, Dr. Cunningham secured an SBIR award that will support the final stages of development of the Intracerebral Microinjection Instrument device, including FDA approval. The company has recently recruited a seasoned entrepreneur to lead the company and is seeking additional funding. Atanse is readying two years worth of preclinical animal data to support initial 510(k) applications.
Promethean Power Systems
Sorin Grama, from MIT, has come a long way since he won an MTTC Assessment Award in 2006 for his project “Synergetic Power Systems”. He spent the $5K identifying market and customer needs in India for the Solar HVAC Booster. By 2008, he formed Promethean Power Systems in Cambridge MA, which has developed a solar-powered refrigeration system for commercial cold-storage applications in off-grid and partially electrified areas of developing countries.
Hepregen Corporation, is commercializing a core technology that was developed by MIT Professor, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia, in collaboration with Dr. Salman Khetani, former post-doctoral fellow in Bhatia’s lab. Drs. Bhatia and Khetani co-invented the microliver platform, HepatoPaC®. Proof of concept funding from the MTTC and MIT’s Deshpande Center was used to show the commercial viability of the technology. The pharmaceutical industry is the initial target market segment for HepatoPaC®where it will be used as a platform to conduct sophisticated screening of compounds in development. Hepregen has recruited experienced management and raised several million in venture capital funding. The company has also secured $2.5 million in grant funding from the NIH and the NSF.
In 2005, Dr. Trudy Morrison from the UMass Medical School, won an MTTC award for her project “Development of Virus-like Particles as a Vaccine for Newcastle Disease Virus”. Since then, Morrison has been able to demonstrate that virus-like particles, based on Newcastle disease virus proteins can be used as a platform for the development for the of human vaccines. Novavax has licensed exclusive worldwide rights for the development and commercialization of parmyxovirus vaccines incorporating certain Virus-Like-Particles (‘VLP’).