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BioMed SA Honors Leonard Pinchuk for His Contributions to the Biomedical Industry

Leonard “Len” Pinchuk MSBE ’79, PhD ’84, research professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, co-founder, past president and CEO of InnFocus, Inc., was recently honored with BioMed SA’s 2017 Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience.

The BioMed SA Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience honors individuals who have put novel ideas into action with tangible, transformational results. This award builds on the legacy of innovation by Julio Palmaz MD of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, who invented the first commercially successful intravascular stent in the 1980s. The stent revolutionized cardiac care and was named one of “Ten Patents That Changed the World” by IP Worldwide magazine.

The BioMed SA award, which bore Palmaz’s name for the past decade, alternates between recipients from San Antonio and the national level.

The award celebrates Pinchuk’s transformational achievements in developing and commercializing novel biomaterials and medical devices in the fields of both cardiology and ophthalmology. The patented development of the Nylon-12 polymer used to create the world’s most successful high-strength angioplasty balloon catheters benefited more than 100 million patients, transforming cardiology from a primarily diagnostic field to a therapeutic specialty; in fact, these balloon catheters were eventually used to deploy Palmaz’s stent.

This was followed by the pioneering development of the TAXUS® drug-eluting coronary stent and recent work to develop and commercialize the InnFocus MicroShunt®, which could change the treatment paradigm for glaucoma and prevent millions of people from going blind.

BioMed SA is a nonprofit organization founded by former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros and other San Antonio community and industry leaders in 2005 to promote and grow the city’s healthcare and bioscience sector. San Antonio’s diverse biomedical community combines academic, military and industry players with a history of collaboration and an overall economic impact of $37 billion.

Joseph C. Salamone, chief science officer of Rochal Industries LLC, and an inventor of the soft contact lens, nominated Pinchuk, calling him “one of the world’s most outstanding innovators in commercializing novel biomaterials technology for enhancing the health and well-being of people worldwide.”

To learn more about past recipients and award history, please click here.

 

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