CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (April 8, 2004) -- In the first transactions fulfilling its promise to bridge the gap between university research and commercialization, The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology today announced the formation of a new biotechnology company and the licensing of new semiconductor memory cell technology based on primary research funded by the Center.
Pervasis Therapeutics, a new medical device technology company founded by an MIT research team developing new ways to integrate biomaterials with drugs and cells, raised $500,000 in seed financing from Polaris Venture Partners and Flagship Ventures. At the same time, The Deshpande Center also announced a second MIT research team has licensed a new memory-cell technology to a nanotechnology company in order to develop semiconductor nanostructures for new, high-performance "nano-enabled" computational systems.
The deals were among the announcements made at the Deshpande Center's Third Annual IdeaStream Symposium that connects researchers with the business community and showcases leading-edge MIT research that will likely make an impact in the marketplace in wide-ranging areas such as wireless communications, medical devices, drug discovery, digital imaging and more.
"By infusing university research with proven entrepreneurial management expertise and critical research funding, we look forward to seeing these and other technologies make a beneficial impact on the marketplace," said Krisztina Holly, Executive Director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. Professor Charles L. Cooney, Faculty Director of the Center, added, "It's exciting to see grant recipients such as Bob Langer and Vladimir Bulovic demonstrate the viability of our mission to accelerate university innovations toward commercialization."
Integrating Biomaterials, Drugs and Cells to Treat Disease
Pervasis Therapeutics was co-founded by MIT Professors and researchers Bob Langer, Elazer Edelman, Jay Vacante and Helen Nugent and based on research made possible by an October 2002 Innovation Grant from the Deshpande Center. The seed financing will be used to further develop the team's research on the integration of biomaterials with drugs and cells and to initiate development of a new generation of medical devices that will be used to treat vascular and other complex diseases.
"Pervasis will break new ground in combining cell biology, drug delivery, and biomaterials," said Prof. Edelman, the Cabot Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at MIT/Harvard Medical School. "We are focused on complex human diseases that are currently untreatable, and the support of the Deshpande Center and top-tier investors reflect on the importance of what we are trying to accomplish."
Nanotechnology Enables New, Higher Performance Semiconductors
MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Professor, Vladimir Bulovic, and MIT Chemistry Professor, Moungi Bawendi developed a new memory-cell invention that has been licensed to a nanotechonology startup. The two professors had been collaborating on research combining organic chemistry and quantum dot technology when funding from a Deshpande Center Ignition grant in the spring of 2003 enabled them to focus on a commercial application for their work.
"The Deshpande center provided us with a technical framework in which we were able to explore our idea, present it to a community with both technological and business savvy, and identify a commercial interaction that would allow the idea to be developed," said Prof. Bulovic.
Bulovic and Bawendi came up with a means to develop better-performing, "non-volatile" semiconductor memory that would answer the demand for more powerful, smaller, faster computing systems. Their method uses self-assembly to manufacture a persistent, nano-scale memory cell in an inexpensive organic production system. Among the possible applications for the technology are the next generation in the evolution of flash memory used in personal computers, digital cameras and numerous other consumer products.
About Pervasis Therapeutics
Pervasis Therapeutics' mission is to develop medical devices that harness the natural regenerative properties of tissues. Research conducted in the laboratories of our founders and consultant’s points to a clear path for the creation of the next generation of combination devices. By bringing together advances in cell biology, drug delivery, and biomaterials, Pervasis will address complex human diseases, starting with vascular disease. Robert Langer, Elazer Edelman, Jay Vacanti, Helen Nugent, and Polaris Venture Partners founded Pervasis. The company is currently based out of the offices of Flagship Ventures in Cambridge, MA.
About Polaris Venture Partners
With over $2 billion under management, Polaris Venture Partners is a partnership of experienced venture capital investors and technology executives. Polaris assists entrepreneurs in building exceptional information and medical technology companies. Polaris-backed companies include: Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM); Allaire Corporation; Aspect Medical Systems (NASDAQ: ASPM); Centra Software (NASDAQ: CTRA); deCODE Genetics (NASDAQ: DCGN); Paradigm Genetics (NASDAQ: PDGM). Former Polaris-backed companies have included: Advanced Inhalation Research (AIR) (sold to Alkermes), and Solidworks (sold to Dassault Systúmes). The company has offices in Boston and Seattle. More information about Polaris Venture Partners is available at www.polarisventures.com.
About Flagship Ventures
Founded in 1999, Flagship Ventures is an entrepreneurship and venture capital firm comprising a family of funds: OneLiberty Funds, AGTC Funds and NewcoGen Group. Flagship currently invests from $400 million in funds raised in 2000, and manages a total pool of committed capital approaching $600 million. The Flagship Ventures team consists of 31 professionals focused on creating, financing, and building companies in the life science, information technology, and communications sectors. Extending over a period of 20 years, Flagship's entrepreneurship and investment experience comes from founding over 30 successful new ventures while funding and building over 100 more. More information about Flagship Ventures is available at www.flagshipventures.com.
About the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation
Dedicated to supporting leading-edge research and bridging the gap between the laboratory and the marketplace, the Deshpande Center was created in 2002 to serve as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting the research of MIT faculty and students, and facilitating collaboration among entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, innovative businesses, and MIT faculty. Part of the school of engineering, the Deshpande Center supports a wide range of emerging technologies including biotechnology, information technology, new materials, tiny tech, and alternative energy development.