The Photonics Center at Boston University Teams With Marenghi & Co. to Launch Three Companies

in College of Engineering, News Releases, Science & Technology
April 12th, 1999

Contact: Joan Schwartz, |

(Boston, Mass.) — In an unprecedented move by a major U.S. university, the Boston University Photonics Center, in concert with the private venture firm of Marenghi & Co. has announced the launch of three new commercial corporations. Each of the companies is based on an innovative technology developed by a Photonics Center faculty member who has worked with the Center to incorporate his inventions into commercially viable products. The professor and the Center are partners, sharing in the management and development of the company.

The three companies are: PhotoSecure, Inc., which is developing products based on novel proprietary photo-chemistries designed to protect the health and safety of the public by detecting trace amounts of key pathogens in food and water. Other photo-chemistries are being developed to assure the safety of “critical” products such as pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications, as well as automobile and aircraft parts. These technologies were discovered by Dr. Guilford Jones II and Dr. Dingxue Yan. PhotoSense, Inc., which has developed “Smart Skin,” sensors and systems with a broad range of medical and industrial applications in including non-invasive patient monitoring, orthopedic rehabilitation, and automotive passenger safety. “Smart Skin” patents were awarded to Dr. James E. Hubbard, Jr. and Dr. Shawn E. Burke.
PhotoDetection Systems, Inc., which has developed patented advanced medical imaging systems (Positron Emission Tomography) for detecting the recurrence and staging of cancer, characterizing the severity of cardiac emergencies, and diagnosing brain disorders. These imaging systems are based upon the work of Dr. William A. Worstell and Dr. Valery Zavarzin.

“The launch of these companies is another important milestone in the fulfillment of our mission,” says Photonics Center Director Don Fraser. “We are charged with focusing and accelerating the commercial development of advanced photonics technologies by combining ideas from within and outside the University with the expertise and resources necessary to create real products and real businesses. This is a critical step forward in our efforts to redefine the relationship between industry and academia.”

John Marenghi of Marenghi & Co. is a co-founder and chairman of all three of the new companies. “The incubation of these companies within the Photonics Center has been, and will continue to be, vital to their success,” says Marenghi. “By providing the business and technical support and know-how to move some very creative ideas into marketable products and real companies, both the Center and the university have taken a bold step in defining a new role for academia. In the true Terriers spirit we are going for a hat trick!”

Profiles of the three companies and background on the Photonics Center are attached.

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