About Us

Company History

MagneSensors was founded in 1997 as a joint venture spin off of two San Diego companies, Biomagnetic Technologies and Quantum Magnetics.  MagneSensors was formed to commercialize a powerful magnetic sensor technology based on high temperature superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs).  MagneSensors is an entirely separate company and has ownership of all the patents, processes, proprietary information, and processing facilities related to high temperature SQUID technology. 

“the firm was saying the system is a prototype instrument but I feel it is a commercial grade instrument”

“the contract resulted in the best results among all the contracts I have ever monitored”  

NASA’s written review of MagneSensors’ Phase II SBIR 

The high temperature SQUID technology was developed at Biomagnetic Technologies from 1987 to 1997 with substantial government funding along with internal R&D funding.  The technology was broadly patented, published in Nature, and led to numerous invited presentations in the U.S. and abroad.  

In its early years from 1997-2002, MagneSensors developed superconducting magnetic sensors suitable for use in commercial and military environments.  Funding was primarily through government contracts including those from NASA, U.S. Navy, National Science Foundation and subcontracts from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  

There were also commercial sales of magnetic sensor chips to IBM and the Navy.  While the initial emphasis was on sensor development, we also built and delivered instrumentation, including a novel instrument for the non-destructive evaluation of sub-surface cracks in aircraft for NASA. 

In 1999 MagneSensors received a research contract from Shimadzu Corporation for magnetic assay studies.  The high quality data led to a second contract and the development of a first generation magnetic assay prototype instrument the following year.  MagneSensors retained all rights to the instrument and technology.  

The magnetic assay results were so encouraging that company focused its efforts entirely on magnetic assays for life science applications.  The majority of subsequent development funding has stemmed from grants from NIH.  

The team forming MagneSensors has been together for over 20 years.  The company has a core team of scientists and an excellent group of consultants, including those with extensive expertise in the relevant life science fields.  MagneSensors collaborates with numerous leading academic institutions.  The Children’s Hospital of Boston was a subcontractor for a multi-year NIH program in sepsis diagnostics and Moores UCSD Cancer Center is a subcontractor for a rare cell assay program for leukemia. 

Corporate Strategy

MagneSensors’ corporate strategy is to focus on developing key magnetic assay technology and magnetic platform capabilities (e.g. to date these have included ultra-sensitive sandwich immunoassays, cell surface receptor assays, intracellular assays, and nucleic acid assays).  The goal is to partner with industry leaders and to license our technology in specific fields of use such as clinical diagnostics, drug delivery, drug discovery, and research instrumentation.  

In order to pursue this strategy, MagneSensors has remained small and focused on key application proof-of-concepts.  We have funded development primarily with government grants and contracts along with some private corporate development contracts.  We believe this will maximize our value as an attractive investment opportunity

MagneSensors' near-term plan includes retaining control over the fabrication of the superconducting magnetic sensor by producing        in-house the sensor chips for assay instrumentation that is built by our partners.  MagneSensors has a significant fabrication equipment and extensively developed fabrication processes. 

Along with patent protection, there is a very sizable barrier to entry affored by the high temperature SQUID technology, which would be costly and time consuming for a potential competitor to duplicate.  We have invested over $20M during the past two decades, the technical expertise is scarce, and the fabrication equipment is highly customized.  We believe these barriers will enable MagneSensors to license our technology to larger companies.  

We do not plan to sell, market, or manufacture instrumentation on our own as these are not core competencies and could be better executed by larger, more experienced companies.

Very importantly, we are producing high quality new magnetic nanoparticle reagents for our platform and since these will be tailored specifically for our applications, this should add a major recurring revenue source that is so important in clinical diagnostics markets. These magnetic nanoparticles may also have application in major new areas, which we are currently pursuing as well.

Management Team

Mark S. DiIorio, Ph.D.   President  & CEO, Chairman of the Board

Dr. DiIorio has been CEO of MagneSensors since founding the company in 1997.  He has been responsible for funding the company through research and development grants and contracts and also established numerous collaborations with universities, hospitals, and industry.  Previously he was Vice President of Technology at Biomagnetic Technologies, where he spent 10 years in various management positions, reporting directly to the CEO from 1990-1997.  At Biomagnetic Technologies, he established the superconductor core technology group, which was recognized as one of the world leaders in superconducting sensor technology.  This core technology was transferred to MagneSensors, where it has benefitted from further development.  He also worked as a Staff Member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory for two years.  Dr. DiIorio received an A.B. from Dartmouth College (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1985, where his thesis research focused on superconducting sensor technology.  He has over 30 years experience in the area of superconducting devices, including numerous patents and publications. 

Kai Yang, Ph.D.    Vice President, Research  & Development

Dr. Yang guides the research and development effort in MagneSensors’ sensor technology and is centrally involved in the instrumention development.  He has 20 years experience in all aspects of the core technology and he has directed the sensor fabrication and processing as well as instrument measurement efforts. Prior to joining MagneSensors, Dr. Yang was a Senior Physicist for ten years at Biomagnetic Technologies.  Dr. Yang has a Ph.D. in Physics from Case Western University followed by a two year post-doctoral position at Argonne National Laboratory.

Board of Directors

D. Scott Buchanan,  Ph.D.  President, Fawkes Consulting LLC    

Dr. Buchanan is the President of Fawkes Consulting, a firm he founded to leverage his diverse skills ranging from business development to product design.   Previously, he spent 12 years as President & CEO of 4D Neuroimaging.  During his time there Dr. Buchanan raised over $60 million to help 4D Neuroimaging develop and sell medical instrumentation to examine brain function.  He has guided diverse areas including multi-center clinical trials, product development, product applications, operations and GMP/QSR compliant manufacturing.  Dr. Buchanan has a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois.

Aron P. Stern, M.B.A.   Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Vital Therapies, Inc.

Mr. Stern has over 20 years of experience in capital formation, acquisitions, financial strategy and financial, and operational management in growth-stage high technology and biotechnology companies.  During his financial career he has assisted with two IPOs and numerous private placements, helping to raise over $100 million.  He has held the position of Vice President of Finance and Administration and CFO at VitaGen, Biomagnetic Technologies, and Protein Polymer. He also worked at Apple Computer and Isis Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Stern received a B.S. in Economics and Business Administration and an M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mark S. DiIorio, Ph.D.   President  & CEO, Chairman of the Board 

Equipment & Facilities

MagneSensors has an extensive amount of equipment for a company of our size.  There are two major computer controlled magnetic assay instruments (see instrumentation section) that perform all the magnetic assay measurements.  The sample throughput is excellent and we readily measure hundreds of samples in a hour, even in a research mode. 

There is a laboratory for assay preparation along including equipment for performing optical comparison assay measurements.  There is a dedicated cell culture equipment for the magnetic assays on cells.  

We have specialized equipment for the synthesis and characterization of magnetic nanoparticle as well as with their bioconjugation.

We have all the deposition and processing equipment for the fabrication of high-temperature SQUIDs.  There are two sputter deposition systems and an automated ion beam etching system for patterning the films.  We have have specialized equipment and measurement test probes to enable a detailed characterization of the performance of our SQUID sensor chips.

   © MagneSensors, Inc. 2015