Success Stories

Dr. Brian Mullen

Team Therapeutic Systems

Competed in the 2007/08 & 2006/07 UMass IC

Founded in 2008 by Brian Mullen while completing his Ph.D., Therapeutic System's first product – the Vaya Vest – is based on over 10 years of research and technology development at the University of Massachusetts.

As a researcher at UMass, Dr. Mullen co-invented the technology used in Vayu, a unique method of applying and controlling the sensory based intervention of deep-touch pressure. After winning a number of grants and awards, Mullen's work began getting noticed by the mainstream press which prompted an out pouring of support and inquiries by parents and caregivers of individuals with autism from around the world. Therapeutic Systems was founded in order to bring his work out of the laboratory and into the hands of the patients that needed it.

In 2006, after competing in his first UMass Innovation Challenge, Brian's research and first prototype were featured on the front page of the Boston Globe's Business and Innovation section and on "These features greatly impact my life, said Mullen in his blog, "I wasn't sure if I was going to re-enter the business plan competition. It was a lot of work and even though I was interested in entrepreneurship I wasn't sure if I had the time; I had clinical studies to run, I was TA-ing, and I had my engineering research to do for my PhD. Yet again it was a parent that influenced me…with tears in her eyes she asked me to make her one of our early proof of concept prototype pressure vests. It killed me to say no, but it wasn't close to ready to be used beyond the walls of the lab. In 2008 I again entered the business plan competition and I applied for an entrepreneurship grant from NCIIA and won both!!"

Therapeutic Systems has since made great strides in its mission to provide better solutions for patients with autism spectrum disorders. In May 2011 Therapeutic Systems launched the first deep pressure application device that uses air pressure. The product, called Vayu (, is now available for sale.