May 9, 2012
Donor profile: Dinesh and Kalpana Patel Graduate Fellowship founders
Dinesh and Kalpana established the Dinesh and Kalpana Patel Graduate Fellowship and Graduate Endowment in the School of Graduate Studies at Utah State University. These endowments were established to foster meaningful growth and enhance the university's world-wide reputation. The $5,000 fellowship and $10,000-a-year endowment are awarded to underrepresented and international doctoral students. It was established by the Patels as a way for others to benefit from a higher education in the United States, just as Patel did.
Patel is widely recognized as a leading innovator and is considered by many to be the father of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals in the Mountain West. He co-founded the successful biotechnology company, TheraTech Inc., a Utah-based company that has been a pioneer in the development and manufacture of innovative drug delivery products, especially transdermal delivery systems. Under Patel's guidance, TheraTech established strategic alliances with major pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Roche, SmithKline Beecham, and Wyeth-Ayerst. He directed the construction of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and oversaw the company's research and development efforts through the manufacture of its currently marketed transdermal products (leading products being transdermal testosterone and estrogen hormone-replacement therapy and oxybutynin transdermal patches). He served as president, CEO, and chairman of the board of directors for TheraTech from 1985 until 1999, taking the company public and eventually selling it to Watson Pharmaceuticals for $350 million.
Patel helped found WellCare in 1997, providing finance and strategic direction. He also founded Ashni Naturaceuticals Inc., which he led from 1999 to 2004, and co-founded Salus Therapeutics Inc., a novel gene therapy-focused biotechnology company that was acquired by Genta Inc. in 2003. After investing in more than 20 life science/technology companies, Patel co-founded vSpring Capital, one of the Mountain West’s leading early-stage life science and technology investment firms, where he has led more than a dozen investments. He currently serves as chairman of the governing board of the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative and as a board member on a wide variety of non-profit organizations. He was also a special member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.
During the course of his career, Patel has been granted 15 U.S. patents and foreign counterparts. He has been recognized with numerous awards for his accomplishments and service to humanity, including induction into the Utah Technology Council Hall of Fame; the Mountain West Capital Network’s Utah Entrepreneur of the Year award; the US Small Business Administration’s Business Achiever Award; the State of Utah’s Scientific and Technology Award; Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology (State of Utah); and the Scientific and Technology Development Pioneer of Progress Award. A native of Zambia, Patel was honored with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and is a charter member of The Indus Entrepreneurs.
The Patels run a foundation that generously donates to various social and cultural activities. They have a history of philanthropy, which includes support of the Pioneer Theatre, United Way, University of Pennsylvania, Utah Symphony & Opera, and Utah Youth Village. They have given to many other organizations such as India Cultural Center in Utah and Tampa and Gainsville, Florida; Krishna, Kikh, and Sri Ganesha Hindu Temples in Utah; Pingree School for Children with Autism; and the University of Utah, University of Michigan, and Waterford School.
Patel and his brothers also founded and fund the Shree Chhutubhai A. Patel Medical Center in Mota Fofalia, Gujaret. Named after his father, it serves communities close to his birthplace in India.
- Nadiah Johari