Good friend and colleague Robert Langer, ScD, Institute Professor at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony on Friday, February 1.
Bob is America’s greatest modern day inventor. Working with Polaris alone, he has helped to build 18 companies covering 33 therapeutic areas with the potential to improve the health of some 2.5 billion lives. See blog post by Polaris Partner Terry McGuire.
Bob has impacted the work and lives of many of our CEOs and Partners. Below please find testimonials from a handful of those he’s touched.
See White House Ceremony
Additional Background on Bob’s Career
- New York Times: Hatching Ideas, and Companies, by the Dozens at M.I.T.
- Bloomberg: Vibrating Gel May Give New Voice to Throat-Cancer Patients
Congratulations to Bob on receiving the National Medal of Technology and Innovation! Bob is certainly brilliant and creative, but what really makes him stand out is his approach to people. Despite his significant accomplishments, Bob is profoundly humble. He values the ideas of others, even those much younger and less experienced, and he is always open to alternative ways of thinking. This makes Bob incredibly powerful as an innovator, mentor and collaborator. Bob’s contributions go beyond his specific and very significant innovations in science and technology. He is one this generation’s most influential transformers of the way in which we innovate with a focus on collaborative academic science as well as close relationships between academia and industry. I feel incredibly blessed to have worked with Bob throughout my career across multiple companies, and I look forward to our future endeavors.
Partner, Polaris Partners
Bob continues to be one the most important, positive influences on my career; something I’m sure is the case for so many other alumni from the Langer Lab. He instilled in all of us a confidence and optimism that any problem can be solved if attacked with passion and integrity. As a consequence, many who graduated from his lab feel an obligation to tackle big problems facing society. He also inspired many other academics to translate their discoveries to industry. My humble congratulations to my mentor on this important day.
Co-Founder, Living Proof
Partner, Polaris Partners
The opportunity to work closely with Bob on several new ideas and companies has been one of the highlights of my entrepreneurial career. We spent many early mornings at Johnny’s Diner in Newton brainstorming on big opportunities that require non-obvious solutions. The best times are when we have a problem that does not seem solvable and with Bob it gets solved. There is never any doubt in his mind that we will figure it out. Bob’s influence over the years has had a profound impact on how I approach difficult but important problems—the truly BIG ideas. His impact goes beyond his brilliance—it is Bob’s positive attitude and creative spirit that has inspired so many throughout the world. He is an amazing guy with a great personality. Good friend always and one of a kind. Bob is truly one of the treasures of the US. My congrats to him on this award. Bob deserves it.
Co-Founder and Board Member
Arsenal Medical and 480 Biomedical
General Partner, North Bridge Venture Partners
Congratulations to Bob Langer from the BIND Biosciences team on this well-deserved honor! BIND’s roots are in Bob’s seminal 1994 Science paper describing long circulating nanospheres and their potential applications in medicine. Starting with this visionary paper, Bob has played a key role in the research and development of BIND’s Accurin therapeutic platform culminating in our lead product, BIND-014, which is showing great potential in clinical studies to become an important new cancer treatment. As a Director, friend and mentor, Bob’s guidance has been invaluable to BIND’s success. Bob’s steadfast focus on the patient always points the way in guiding decisions at BIND. Bob’s ongoing support, advice and encouragement to BIND are the cornerstone of the important emerging field of nanomedicine. Bob, we look forward to continuing to work with you to translate your pioneering science into life-saving medicines.
BIND Biosciences Team
Beyond science and company building, Bob impresses me as a great human being. He never ceases to amaze me with his rapid response to questions and willingness to help. He is incredibly helpful on all issues ranging from scientific questions, company building, bouncing off ideas, and making introductions. He sets the highest standard for the kind of partner an entrepreneur can hope for! Congratulations from all of us at Cerulean!
Bob is so much more than one of our founders; he is a leader and mentor to our world-class scientific team as well as a tremendous inspiration to every employee at Living Proof. His approach to solving problems and out-of-the-box thinking extends far beyond the lab and influences all of us in our daily work as we seek to be truly disruptive in the beauty industry. I speak not only for myself, but all of us at Living Proof, when I say we are so proud and honored to work with Bob and send him all our congratulations on this special achievement.
CEO, Living Proof
Besides his obvious stature as one of the preeminent inventors and scientists of his day, Bob remains an amazingly responsive company founder always thinking about the next innovation. The example of Pulmatrix, which has followed a circuitous path from bio defense to infectious disease to inhaled drug delivery to novel pharmaceuticals, Bob has offered his help at every turn with a spontaneity and “let’s keep moving” attitude all the while able to roll in any direction to advance the science of the company. We’d like to offer our sincere congratulations to Bob on this remarkable achievement. I’m sure if I sent him a message of congrats he would reply within 5 minutes as he has always done on our technical queries. Enjoy the much deserved Presidential recognition and honor.
Bob Langer’s vision for remote delivery of drugs almost 20 years ago occurred at a time before anyone considered mobile or electronic healthcare solutions. This innovative vision for wirelessly programmable, precise delivery of therapy continues to inspire everyone at MicroCHIPS. Our company’s mission is a reflection of Bob’s own commitment to integrating technology and medicine to improve people’s lives. His legacy of companies, patents and breadth of research demonstrates his innovative thinking and impact on society.
Bob’s positive and “nothing is impossible” attitude is contagious and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this Medal. Congratulations!
Bob, you’re a force of nature—an unusual blend of genius, kindness, vision, insight and judgment; the combination of which the world sees once or twice every century or two. Your profound impact on improving human lives has changed the world and I expect your reach will touch billions of lives during your own lifetime. The world is fortunate to have you especially those of us that have gotten to know you well and benefited from you mentorship.
Co-Founder and Board Member
BIND Biosciences and Selecta Biosciences
Bob Langer is one of those true rarities – a combination of extraordinary intellect, passion and accomplishment packaged in an approachable, humble and delightful persona. We are so proud and inspired by his thoughtful engagement on our board; the benefits that we derive having Bob as one of our founding scientists at Seventh Sense Biosystems are incalculable. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition as a leading entrepreneur, scientist and teacher.
CEO, Seventh Sense Biosystems
Dream big dreams… Bob Langer has taught all of us at T2 Biosystems that breakthrough innovations occur when you combine the best group of people in the world with an unwavering belief that you will succeed. Bob has been instrumental in keeping us focused on the most significant unmet needs in healthcare which often means that innovation is needed and success is uncertain. Bob is never uncertain about success and his confidence has inspired our team to overachieve. Bob has made significant and direct contributions to T2 Biosystems based on his broad scientific knowledge but his unique ability to simplify complex problems has often enabled the biggest breakthroughs. Bob’s contributions have gone well beyond science and our products. He has helped our company attract a great team of scientists, engineers, advisors and investors. His optimism and demonstration of support has been motivational to the team, especially when solutions to difficult problems are not certain. Bob is always available, always responsive, and humble beyond belief. He is a critical member of our team; a role model to be followed; and the source of big dreams at T2 Biosystems.