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Success Stories

The following are selected examples of development of technologies licensed through MIT:


Akamai, Cambridge, MA

Akamai was formed to exploit patents and software relating to managing traffic on the internet and that were developed in part at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science. Beginning with improving basic page download performance, it has gone on to creating the world's largest distributed computing platform in existence, fundamentally changing the way the Internet works. Akamai routinely handles between 10-20% of total Internet Web traffic-- up to fifty billion hits every day.


Alkermes (AIR), Cambridge, MA

With financing from Polaris Venture Partners, Advanced Inhalation Research, Inc. was a private company started in 1997, focused on developing pharmaceutical products based on pulmonary drug delivery technologies jointly created at MIT and Penn State University. The innovative AIR pulmonary delivery system was initially published in Science. Research at AIR aimed at treating respiratory diseases as well as advancing systemic delivery of complex macromolecules via the lung. The proprietary technology is based on the formulation of drugs into comparatively large low-density particles, which can then be inhaled into the deep lung through a small, convenient delivery device. Delivery advantages of the AIR system include a wide dosage range, high delivery efficiency, and ease of use. In early 1999 Advanced Inhalation Research was acquired by Alkermes, a leading developer in the drug delivery and small molecule formulation industries. Alkermes is headquartered in Cambridge, MA and currently collaborates with several of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, including Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly & Company, to better enable product delivery to the market.


AmberWave, Salem, NH

Founded by MIT professor Eugene Fitzgerald, AmberWave Systems was established to exploit the advantages of "strained silicon" as a material for semiconductors. This specially enhanced silicon material has improved properties than lead to semiconductor devices with both higher speeds and lower power consumption. The technology is a natural extension of well-known and familiar CMOS manufacturing methods, thus enabling established device manufacturers to reach high-volume production quickly and economically. AmberWave has a large portfolio of related IP licensed from MIT as well as additional technology developed within the company.


BioTrove, Woburn, MA

BioTrove is a MIT spinout and licensee providing micro-and nano-scale platforms for the advancement of life science and drug discovery research. BioTrove's OpenArray(tm) SNP and transcript analysis applications combine the best attributes of real-time PCR with microarrays on one platform. RapidFire(tm) Lead Discovery service provides label-free, microliter-scale assay development and screening of intractable targets.


Dimensional Photonics International, Burlington, MA

Developed by an MIT Lincoln Laboratory scientist, accordion fringe interferometry (AFI) is a technique which uses laser light interference patterns projected on a three dimensional surface or object to rapidly characterize that surface in three dimensions. AFI is a disruptive technology which enables the non-contact measurement of objects with speed and accuracy never before obtained by conventional dimensioning equipment. AFI measurement technology is applicable to objects over a wide range of sizes and shapes and utilizes relatively simple and low cost sensors along with proprietary software techniques to extract the dimensional information needed. The technology is well protected with a series of patents held by MIT and licensed exclusively to DPI. The company has expanded the initial licensed portfolio of IP with additional technology developed during the product design.


Elesys North America Inc.

In the fall of 1996, NEC Technologies, Inc., a Media Laboratory Sponsor, recognized the possibility of using electric-field technology developed by Professor Neil Gershenfeld (Director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms) to sense the presence, position, and mass of the occupant sitting in the front seat of a vehicle. In 2002, after successfully jointly developing and delivering product to the automotive industry, the technology license was assigned to Elesys North America Inc., a joint venture formed by NEC and Honda Motors. The technology is being used in vehicles from domestic and foreign manufacturers as automatic airbag suppression systems in order to reduce the risk of fatality and injury, due to airbag deployment, of a child seated in the front passenger seat. These requirements are a recent mandate of NHTSA for all vehicles beginning in the 2006 model year.


Indian Immunologicals Ltd

Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) is a biotechnology company in Hyderabad, India that has the goal of "affordable immunity with technologically superior biologicals." In 2004 MIT licensed to IIL a human antibody production technology developed at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. IIL plans to use this technology to develop an inexpensive rabies vaccine. India alone experiences over 30,000 deaths a year from rabies. Most of the population of India cannot afford the rabies vaccine that is currently on the market.


Integra, Plainsboro, New Jersey

Based on tissue engineering research at MIT, INTEGRA® Dermal Regeneration Template is the first and only FDA approved tissue engineered product for burn and reconstructive surgery. INTEGRA® is a bilayer matrix that provides a scaffold for dermal regeneration. INTEGRA® aids the treatment of burn patients in two ways. When a patient is first treated, it is available without delay and functionally closes the excised wounds immediately without the need to create donor site wounds. It also serves as a template to generate "neodermis," a dermal-like tissue that readily accepts very thin epidermal autografts.


Genzyme, Cambridge, MA

Work done at MIT on the localization and characterization of the Wilms' Tumor gene 1 (WT1) has led to worldwide marketing of diagnostic tests and kits by Genzyme Genetics through its sublicensees: Otsuka Pharmaceuticals; BML, Inc.; and IPSOGEN. Wilms' tumor is a type of kidney cancer that affects children. In addition, WT1 is substantially over-expressed in up to 80 percent of adult leukemias and in several solid tumors. Corixa Corporation licensed MIT's Wilms' tumor antigen for use in the development of a WT1 vaccine that generates a T cell response capable of killing leukemia cells. Corixa signed a multi-year agreement with Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd., to develop and commercialize a potential cancer vaccine for the treatment of multiple forms of cancer including leukemia, myelodysplasia and melanoma.


Luminus Devices, Inc., Woburn MA

Edison's incandescent light bulb may have lit the 20th century, but MIT scientists hope to change that in the 21st. LED technology offers the promise of efficient, low cost illumination that uses substantially less power than conventional electric lighting. That was why Luminus Devices, Inc., a company created by a group of M.I.T. researchers in 2002 who pioneered photonic lattices, set out to commercialize and disseminate this technology. Crystallized in a license deal, MIT and Luminus combined efforts led to dramatic advances in solid state light emitting devices and applications.


Matritech, Newton, MA

Matritech was formed to exploit MIT patents on detection of nuclear matrix proteins in body fluids for detection of cancer. Their NMP22 BladderChek® Test is a simple urine test for bladder cancer which replaces an invasive, uncomfortable and expensive test. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed the BladderChek® Test to be equal or superior to the standard invasive test in detection of bladder cancer. Other cancer diagnostics based on nuclear matrix proteins are in development, including a test for cervical cancer designed to replace the often-misleading Pap smear.


Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, MA

Founded in 2001, Momenta Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company based on more than 12 years of research developed in the MIT laboratories of Dr. Robert Langer and Dr. Ram Sasisekharan. Momenta specializes in the sequencing and engineering of complex sugars for the development of improved versions of existing drugs, the development of novel drugs and the discovery of new biological processes. Sugar molecules play critical roles in regulating biological processes and pathways within the human body. By enabling detailed chemical and structural analysis of complex sugars, a more complete understanding of cellular functions, diseases, and drug actions can be obtained. Areas of research at Momenta Pharmaceuticals include cardiovascular/thrombosis, glycoprteins, oncology, and non-invasive delivery of drugs. The company's most advanced product candidate is M-Enoxaparin, a technology-enabled generic version of the most widely prescribed low molecular weight heparin (LMWH), Lovenox®. Momenta is also applying its technology to characterize glycosylated proteins, or proteins containing sugars. Momenta's novel product, M118, is a LMWH designed to provide improved anti-clotting activity in treating thrombosis in acute coronary syndromes. Momenta's proprietary methods are also used to improve the bioavailability, safety, and ability to deliver larger drugs through non-invasive pulmonary routes. Momenta Pharmaceuticals completed its public offering in 2004, and currently has a patent estate of over 100 patents and applications.


OmniGuide, Cambridge, MA

OmniGuide was founded in 2000, in part, by MIT professors Yoel Fink, John Joannopoulos, and Edwin L. Thomas. Building upon work done by the founders on the design and construction of omnidirectional dielectric mirrors, the company's vision was to develop revolutionary hollow-core photonic bandgap optical fibers that could be tailored for use in long haul telecommunications, spectroscopy, medical devices, and in other industrial applications. By bridging research and commercial development via an exclusive patent license, OmniGuide was able to achieve, for the first time, waveguiding of light in air at a wide range of wavelengths.


Ossur, Aliso Viejo, CA

Ossur has developed an advanced, microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee, called Rheo Knee, in collaboration with the Media Laboratory at MIT Rheo Knee uses advanced magnetorheological (MR) actuator technology and special software to learn the movements of the user and adjust swing and stance resistance accordingly. This allows amputees to walk with a natural, stable gait, even when walking on uneven ground or steps. Rheo Knee was voted one of the last year's most amazing inventions by Time Magazine, and Fortune Magazine featured it Rheo Knee in an article as one of the best products of 2004. The technology on which Rheo Knee is based was originally licensed by MIT to Flex-Foot, Inc., which was acquired by Ossur in 2000.


Promega, Madison WI

Researchers in David Page's laboratory at the MIT-affiliated Whitehead Institute have spent years studying the Y chromosome. From this work has come the discovery that male infertility can result from specific deletions on that chromosome. Promega has licensed this technology and commercialized a kit to detect many of these deletions. This kit is being used by researchers to help patients understand the underlying cause of their infertility and their treatment options.


WeatherData, Wichita, Kansas

"StormVision" is a commercially available software tool, based on FAA funded research at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, which predicts the motion of line storms on a time scale of 20-120 minutes. Previous methods for predicting the motion of storms became inaccurate in approximately 20 minutes. Dr. Marilyn Wolfson, the principal investigator of the project, explained the problem with conventional forecasting is that it predicts the motion of the envelope, or edges of a storm by extrapolating from the movement of the individual cells inside it. This method does not predict accurately past approximately 20 minutes because some cells decay, and others grow, and the growth of new cells often does not occur in the direction in which the existing cells had been moving. To illustrate the problem, Dr. Wolfson gave an example of a Dallas, TX storm where the individual severe weather cells had been moving northeast at 21 knots, while the storm envelope was moving southeast at 34 knots. A prediction based on the motion of cells within the envelope would be many miles in error in just a few minutes. These kind of errors are especially significant when you are concerned about how the approach and departure corridors to a major airport will be affected by a local moving storm front. The invention, aptly named the Growth and Decay Tracker, was first disclosed in September 1997. A large number of trial runs on stored weather radar data improved the modeling and confirmed the prediction benefits of the invention. A promising test was conducted six months later at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in March 1998 for FAA officials. Shortly thereafter, the first non-exclusive commercial license was executed with WeatherData, a 38 person company based in Wichita. WeatherData has since added this software as a product called "StormVision" into its suite of weather information services, and has announced a number of subscribers to the service, including dispatchers at Ryan International Airport in Wichita.


Zeiss Meditec

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a fundamentally new imaging modality invented and developed by Professor Fujimoto's group at MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics. This technology has been widely adopted by ophthalmologists in the form of instrumentation from Zeiss Meditec that enables completely non-invasive visualization of live retinal structure in cross-section. This form of "optical biopsy" has become a powerful diagnostic tool for detection of glaucoma damage and macular degeneration at a much earlier stage. LightLab Imaging Inc. has recently developed a new product that expands the application of OCT technology to in vivo imaging of cardiovascular plaques.