Honors Gallery

Miniature Ion Trap Analyzer License by 908 Devices Inc.

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2017

Award Type: National

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

This technology transfer success of innovations developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is transforming how chemical analysis is conducted today.

Using ORNL’s technology, licensee 908 Devices, Inc. has taken mass spectrometry—the most widely accepted and broadly capable analytical technique used in explosives/chemical threat forensics, biotechnology research, food safety testing, and much more—and made it an elegantly simple, incredibly small, easy-to-use, and affordable tool. 908 Devices products based on the ORNL technology have demonstrated important public safety benefits in law enforcement and hazardous materials detection. Product sales are reaching revenue targets, multiple rounds of venture capital funding have totaled more than $28 million, and job growth has exceeded 70 employees in Massachusetts and North Carolina.

The success can be attributed to the excellence and creativity of individuals at both 908 Devices and ORNL. Upon learning of ORNL researchers’ developments, the ORNL Technology Transfer Division undertook significant efforts to protect the intellectual property and market it to industry. When approached by a former ORNL researcher turned successful entrepreneur who was intimately familiar with the technology, ORNL proposed an Option agreement based on the Department of Energy’s America’s Next Top Innovator Program. For a $1,000 fee, the Option agreement provided a 6-month window for commercialization to be considered. 908 Devices was formed, an exclusive field-of-use license was signed, and commercialization was underway within the next 6 months.

Thanks to the innovation and creativity of 908 Devices, ORNL’s scientific discoveries were transformed into a commercial product.

These exceptional activities included successfully securing multiple rounds of venture capital funding, conducting rigorous engineering to contain ORNL’s technology in a robust package, marketing at key industry conferences, and forming crucial strategic alliances.

Products that include ORNL technology are being used by a range of 908 Devices customers in more than 18 countries. Major U.S. customers include the Massachusetts Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Division, the U.S. Department of Defense, the New York City Fire Department, and the Hazardous Materials Committee of the Washington, D.C. metro area. Furthermore, 908 Devices is now working with the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Chemical Detector program to develop next-generation devices to detect and identify chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, and other hazards.

Thanks to this excellent technology transfer effort, a company that previously did not exist is now selling products that are keeping people safe—while employing more than 70 people and generating revenue for the regional economies of its Boston and North Carolina locations.

Contact: Dr. Mark Reeves, (865) 576-2577, [email protected]

Team Members:

Dr. Jennifer Caldwell Dr. Edna GergelĀ  Dr. William Whitten Jud Hightower Dr. Christopher Brown (908 Devices) Dr. Michael Ramsey (908 Devices) Dr. Kevin KnoppĀ (908 Devices)