Canon buys Austin tech firm Molecular Imprints

Feb 14, 2014
Austin American Statesman

Canon Inc. has purchased the bulk of Molecular Imprints, a high-tech company that spun out of the University of Texas and a was recipient of a $3 million state technology grant in 2006


“We think this will be good for Austin because it will bring another global technology company to Austin,” said Mark Melliar-Smith, president and CEO of Molecular Imprints


In a cash deal, Canon bought the local company’s nanoimprint lithography technology that helps create the extremely small features required in today’s state-of-the-art semiconductor memory devices


Melliar-Smith declined to release the purchase price, saying it was a private transaction. However, he said Japanese news reports quoting a $100 million sales price “significantly understated” it


Melliar-Smith and about 75 of the company’s 90 employees will transfer to Canon as the tech giant opens an office in the same building that houses Molecular Imprints in north Austin


David Gino, the company’s chief operating officer, will lead the other 15 employees as Molecular Imprints continues to sell products for flat panel displays, hard drives and biotechnology. He will become the company’s CEO


Molecular’s imprint lithography technology rests on a pioneering discovery by University of Texas researchers Grant Willson and S.V. Sreenivasan


UT is a small shareholder and receives royalty payments for licensing its technology to the company. The state of Texas is also a shareholder because of its 2006 investment


Canon and Molecular Imprints have been working together on lithography technology for the past four years


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