MicroCHIPS Cashes In $16M

When he entered the graduate program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology eight years ago, John Santini looked forward to a career as a professor. But, over time, Santini’s ambitions changed.

Working alongside MIT professors Michael Cima and Robert Langer, Santini developed a silicon chip implant capable of delivering drugs in a controlled manner at a precise time. The culmination of that work is MicroCHIPS Inc., an intelligent drug delivery startup.

“As our technology continued to advance and as we continued to achieve really great results, we saw the commercial promise,” says Santini, the president and chief scientist of the Cambridge, Mass.-based company. “At that point it was very clear that this was what we were going to do, and what I wanted to do.”

Founded in 1999, MicroCHIPS recently took in $16 million in fresh capital in an oversubscribed Series B round. IDG Ventures led the round, with IDG Managing General Partner Michael Greeley taking a board seat.

Greeley, who formerly worked with MicroCHIPS founding investor Polaris Venture Partners, says the investments of IDG and Polaris in the most recent round accounted for roughly half of the funds initially sought and made reaching the undisclosed target amount easy.

“We went – very targeted – to a handful of potential co-investors,” Greeley says.

The remaining money came from Care Capital LLC, Boston University Community Technology Fund (CTF) and Intersouth Partners, all of which have life science and biotechnology focuses.

MicroCHIPS is built around a fingernail-sized silicon chip outfitted with hundreds of tiny drug-containing reservoirs. The implanted chip can either be preprogrammed or wirelessly controlled to release the appropriate amount of drug into the bloodstream at precisely the right moment and can contain enough drugs for a year of treatment.