Edited by Dawn R. DeTienne and Karl Wennberg
Chapter 3: When silos collapse, what happens to the seeds? A case study of the diffusion of people and ideas when a firm’s research programs are cancelled
ImmuLogic was incorporated on 26 March 1987 by its founder, Malcolm L. Gefter, a tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a leader in the field of immunology. ImmuLogic’s products focused on long-term and permanent treatments for common allergies, on possible applications to autoimmune diseases, and later on the development of vaccines to neutralize the effects of substance abuse. The fundamental science behind these commercial applications had been developed by Gefter and several colleagues at MIT beginning in the early 1980s. For most of its twelve-and-a-half-year history ImmuLogic was considered a success story. Despite being unprofitable, it was a favorite among analysts as it was cash rich. It was also full of potential, with multiple products showing promise in various stages of clinical trials. In its latter years, however, the loss of a key alliance partner in a merger shakeout and several disappointing results in late-stage clinical trials led to the rapid demise of this once-celebrated firm. Thus, with shareholder approval, on 25 August 1999 ImmuLogic ceased operations and began the board-recommended process of liquidating its assets.
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