The key ingredient for medtech innovation

Mon, 12/03/2012 - 10:42am
Mass Device

SmartCells founder Todd Zion says getting a life science company from concept to commercialization depends on 1 key ingredient: A safe place for a good idea, like MIT's pioneering Venture Mentoring Service.

MIT Venture Mentoring Services

In 2003, Todd Zion was a PhD student at MIT with a great idea for a new way to calculate insulin dosage in diabetic patients. By 2011 he had started a company called SmartCells, secured funding and sold the company to Merck (NYSE:MRK) for $500 million.

SmartCells raised about $9 million along the way to fund development of its insulin formulation. But for Zion, the most important ingredient in SmartCells' success wasn't funding, product development or even the business plan.

"It was about having a safe place to go with a good idea," Zion told


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