2009 Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Dinesh C. Patel, PhD’79
Dinesh C. Patel, PhD’79, is managing director and founding partner of vSpring Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund with $350 million under management. From 1999 to 2004, Patel was the founder, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Ashni Naturaceuticals, Inc., a company specializing in the research, development, and marketing of clinically-tested and patent-protected naturaceutical products. In 1999, Patel co-founded and was the chairman of Salus Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the research and development of nucleic acid-based therapeutics, including antisense and gene therapy drugs. In August 2003, publicly traded Genta, Inc. acquired Salus for $30 million.
For 14 years (1985-1999), Patel served as co-founder, chairman of the board of directors, president, and chief executive officer of TheraTech, Inc., a Salt Lake City, Utah-based company that has been a pioneer in the development and manufacturing of innovative drug-delivery products. TheraTech went public in 1992, and became profitable in 1997. In January 1999, TheraTech was acquired for approximately $350 million by Watson Pharmaceuticals of California.
Patel has been the recipient of numerous awards including: Honorary Doctor of Business Degree, University of Utah (2008); the 2006 Utah Technology Council Hall of Fame; 2006 Pathfinder Award - Edison Showcase, University of Utah; 2006 Ellis Island Medal of Honor; Utah Asian Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Award; U.S. Small Business Administration’s Business Achiever Award; Scientific and Technology Award (State of Utah); Institute for Scientific Information Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Mountain West Venture Group); and Scientific and Technology Development Pioneer of Progress Award, to name just a few.
He served as co-chair of Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman’s transition team and is currently on the boards of the Utah Policy Partnership, and the Utah Symphony and Opera; is chairman of the Utah Science Technology and Research Governing Authority board; sits on the Utah Technology Council executive committee; and is active in the Indian and local community, donating both money and time for various charitable causes.
Born and raised in Zambia, Africa, Patel earned his undergraduate degree in India and his doctorate degree from University of Michigan. Dinesh, along with his wife, Kalpana, and children, Ashish and Avni, resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2005, Dinesh and his brothers, Kiran and Pradip, established the Chhotubhai and Savitaben Patel Fellowships at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. The fellowships, named in honor of the brothers’ parents, enable the College to award the Chhotubhai Patel Fellowship and the Savitaben Patel Fellowship to first-year PhD candidates.