Will the Real SLIM Please Stand Up?
Melissa Sherman, PhD, founder and CEO of MOBILion Systems, shares the company’s journey over the last five years – from a sketch on a piece of paper to launching at ASMS 2021.
Can you tell me a little about your background and the founding of MOBILion Systems?
By training, I am a polymer chemist. But my corporate career, which has spanned the past 25 years, has focused on building businesses. I've always had a passion for the business side of things – and I’ve worked in a variety of areas, including technology, regenerative medicine, surgical products and the apparel industry (our startup was featured in Wired magazine in 2000 as a disruptive fashion business). I really love growing something from nothing, and this is part of the reason I was so excited to have the opportunity to build MOBILion.
I was introduced to the technology via IP Group, which is an early-stage technology investor that forms long-term partnerships with research institutes to help guide disruptive science in a commercially viable direction – from proof of concept to commercialization. I initially worked with IP Group to build their US business, and once we had the US team in place, we set out to scout disruptive technologies from a handful of universities and federal laboratories. And that’s where I first came across structures for lossless ion manipulation (SLIM) – the platform technology behind MOBILion’s first high resolution ion mobility (HRIM) product, MOBIE – which was being developed by Richard Smith and his research group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. I wrote the investment thesis and told IP Group it was something I thought would have a tremendous impact on the life science tools industry. Our early stage financing milestones included sponsoring research to achieve technical proof of concept and building early prototypes. I was so excited by the possibilities of this technology, I left IP Group in 2017 and became the founding CEO of MOBILion – the rest is history.