Proton Media
Proton Media
Ron Burns

Pharmaceutical researchers, doctors and others in the healthcare field rely heavily on collaboration, but as costs rise and budgets shrink, professionals can't always be where information-sharing is taking place. In ProtoSphere, they can attend classes, watch lectures and participate in brainstorming sessions in a virtual, real-time environment.

ProtoSphere is the creation of Lansdale, Penn.-based Proton Media. The company started in 1998 as a custom e-learning shop for life sciences companies, but in 2005 began evolving into the company it is today, providing SecondLife-like online spaces for collaboration. Proton Media was bootstrapped by its two founding partners, including the current CEO, Ron Burns. Since 2007 the company has raised $7 million in venture capital. The company is profitable and its revenue has doubled in the last two years, Burns says.

Several healthcare companies, including Merck, SciMed and Johnson & Johnson, are using the virtual environment. SciMed recently opened the industry's first Virtual Diabetes Institute in ProtoSphere, with classrooms, conference rooms, a lecture hall and a large auditorium. Physicians visit spaces within the ProtoSphere as well-dressed avatars and do things like sit in a simulation of a new piece of expensive equipment or walk around a rotating molecule.

By Eilene Zimmerman @CNNMoney - Last updated January 19 2012: 12:43 PM ET
Join the Conversation
A $1 million business built on trash

It's the ultimate supply chain: Collect trash, compost it, and sell it back to the same businesses that threw it away.

Most Popular

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.