MIT's Deshpande Center Announces Spring 2006 Research Grants

Center Bridges the Gap Between MIT Laboratories and Marketplace By Combining Financial Support With Access to Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (March 27, 2006) -- The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT today announced it is awarding $500,000 in grants to seven MIT research teams that are currently working on discoveries that could revolutionize drug development and delivery, surgical procedures and trauma care, safety products in sports and water purification processes, among others.

Founded three years ago, The Deshpande Center serves as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting leading edge MIT research and increasing the impact of MIT technologies in the marketplace. Since its inception, the Center has funded 51 projects with over $6M in grants. Nine projects have "rolled out" as independent startups, having collectively raised over $40M in outside financing from top tier VCs.

The spring 2006 grant recipients are:

Fast discovery of ion-channel targeting drugs: Angela Belcher and David Clapham
This nanotechnology–based approach to monitoring key proteins could open up new drug markets worth billions.

Medicine delivery method for bladder disorders: Michael Cima
A new device to provide medicine over a period of time that treats bladder disorders from incontinence to interstitial cystitis to cancer.

New compound stops bleeding instantly: Rutledge Ellis-Behnke
A new transparent compound that stops bleeding instantly, including during operations, providing the potential to revolutionize surgery and trauma care.

Implant coatings for sequential drug delivery: Paula Hammond
“Smart” drug coatings that can conform to medical devices of any shape (e.g. stents, bone implants, pills and micro particles) and that allow the release of multiple drugs at varied times could make multiple surgical procedures and drug-dosing schedules a thing of the past.

New method for water purification: Amy Smith
The creation of a new incubator to test for bacterial contamination in water sources within developing communities.

Next-generation data transformation tool: Michael Stonebraker
A data transformation technology that will allow for various formatted data to be converged into a centralized database.

Improved safety helmets: Laurence Young
The creation of a new safety helmet to help reduce the number of localized head injuries children and adults receive in sports and industrial-related accidents.

“The real-world implications of MIT research are critical to improving way of life worldwide. The purpose of the Deshpande Center is to bring these innovations out of the lab by bringing the gap often created when discoveries are noted to have potential, but require additional resources to prove their viability,” said Charles Cooney, faculty director of the Deshpande Center. “To date, our efforts have successfully begun supplying a badly needed missing ingredient in the innovation ecosystem – one that must be nurtured and sustained to generate growth in employment and competition in a dynamic economy. We look forward to working with this list of grant recipients to bring their research to fruition.”

Each spring and fall, the Deshpande Center awards $50,000 Ignition Grants, which funds proof-of-concept explorations, and Innovation Grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 to help recipients assess and reduce the technical and market risks associated with their innovations. In addition to financial support, the Deshpande Center 's network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academic and legal experts helps recipients assess the commercial potential of their innovations and make decisions that accelerate progress toward the development of a business plan or licensing strategy. All projects are featured at the Center's annual IdeaStream Symposium at MIT, which is sponsored by several leading firms including Accenture, Choate Hall & Stewart and Qualcomm, being held this April 13, 2006.

About the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation

The Deshpande Center is part of the MIT School of Engineering and was established through an initial $20 millions gift from Jaishree Deshpande and Desh Deshpande, the co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks. It serves as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting leading-edge research and bridging the gap between the laboratory and marketplace. The Deshpande Center supports a wide range of emerging technologies including biotechnology, medical devices, information technology, new materials, “tiny technologies” and environmental innovation.