Still River Systems Inc. change its name to Mevion Medical Systems Inc. ahead of its push to get its proton therapy device, the Mevion S250, to market.
The Littleton, Mass.-based firm’s move marks its shift from a research & development company to a commercial manufacturer, according to a press release.
Proton therapy delivers therapeutic doses of radiation to tumors. Because the systems are so large and expensive it’s not widely available, a situation Mevion aims to change.
"Years of intense and focused research led to the development of a breakthrough high-energy proton source, the world’s first superconducting synchrocyclotron," co-founder and chief technology officer Kenneth Gall said in prepared remarks. "This innovative design allowed us to dramatically reduce the size, cost and complexity of proton acceleration, while preserving all of the treatment benefits of proton therapy."
"Today we feel confident that we can expand our focus from strictly R&D to full product commercialization. Given this important moment in our history, we think it is appropriate that we mark this transformation with a new name and identity," added CEO Joseph Jachinowski.
Back in 2009 when it was still know as Still River Systems, the company drummed up $33 million from investors for what it then called the Monarch250. Backers involved in that round included Venrock Associates and existing investors Caxton Health and Life Sciences and CHL Medical Partners. Still River added another $11.5 million to its coffers this year, from seven un-named investors.
The technology behind the system is the subject of a pair of lawsuits filed by the Mass. Institute of Technology. The school alleges that it holds the rights to the work of MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center research engineer Timothy Antay. MIT avers that Antay conceived one or more of the inventions in the patent, according to court documents.
In July 2004, the school entered into a licensing contract with Still River in which the company would sponsor a certain amount of research by the school, according to court documents. MIT invoiced the company $888,436 three years later but never received payment, according to court documents. The school wants the court to order the company to pay the fees.
The school also entered into a license agreement in August 2006 with the company for the MIT patents for proton radiotherapy, according to court documents. Still River did not make certain milestone payments for the licensed technology and the school subsequently terminated the deals involving the payments, MIT alleged.
Still River entered into a deal to install a “proton radiation system with a small, high-energy proton therapy accelerator for a number of entities,” MIT alleged. The the school wants the court to bar the company from conducting any business with the product, which allegedly relies on MIT’s patents.
Both sides agreed to have a third-party "special master," appointed by the court, mediate the dispute, according to court documents.