LEXINGTON, MA—Some call Amarpreet Sawhney the “entrepreneurs’ entrepreneur” while others name him America’s leading medical technology entrepreneur. Sawhney, an IIT-Delhi graduate, is always trying to solve unmet needs in medical technology, and in the process has founded a number of medical device companies.
Currently, he serves as the President and CEO of Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. and Chairman of Augmenix, Inc. Previously, he had founded Confluent Surgical (acquired by Covidien), Focal Inc. (acquired by Genzyme), and Access Closure, Inc. (acquired by Cardinal Health). His innovations are the subject of over 120 issued and pending patents in biomaterials and bio-surgery.
On Oct. 28, Sawhney will receive the Business & Entrepreneurship Award at New England Choice Awards gala at Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA.
About 400 entrepreneurs, corporate executives, philanthropists, educators and community leaders are expected to attend the awards gala, which is presented by INE MultiMedia in collaboration with INDIA New England News, the region’s oldest and largest online, print and video magazine serving the South Asian community.
If you are exploring your own entrepreneurial journey, Sawhney has an advice for you.
“A person who lacks the tenacity to believe in their vision and the ability to ride the natural ups and downs entrepreneurship brings, should think of another career,” says Sawhney.
Sawhney, whose inventions include several “first of a kind” surgical sealants to be approved by the United States FDA including DuraSeal for neurosurgery, FocalSeal for Lung surgery, and Mynx for femoral puncture sealing, has the following three advices for an aspiring young person who is venturing out in the entrepreneurial world:
- Have a clear understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, the market opportunity it presents, and how to solve it elegantly and completely.
- Don’t be afraid to be unconventional. There are no diamonds to be found on the well-trodden path.
- Don’t hire everyone in your image. Find people who play well with your weaknesses and don’t hesitate to let bad apples go from the company.
What is the one mistake Sawhney would never repeat? “Don’t take money from investors who are only fair weather friends,” he says.
In addition to being an entrepreneur Sawhney, has also created a platform to support other entrepreneurs. He and his partner, Fred Khosravi, have founded Incept LLC, whose vision is to serve as an “enabler” of healthcare entrepreneurs. Incept counts among its companies, Embolic Protection, Endo-Tex, and Sadra Medical (all acquired by Boston Scientific), Access Closure, Inc., Hotspur, Inc. (acquired by Teleflex), Ostial LLC, and The Stroke Project (TSP) in California, Axtria and MarketRx in New Jersey (acquired by Cognizant), Maya Medical (acquired by Covidien), Augmenix, and Ocular Therapeutix, in Massachusetts, and Neurolutions in St. Louis.
Sawhney currently serves on the board of directors of EcoSikh, Axtria, The Stroke Project, Augmenix and Ocular Therapeutix, where he is also a Founder of the latter two companies. Through his family foundation, Dr. Sawhney has been active in charitable causes that are dear to him, which include education as well as wildlife and the environment, with a focus on India.
Sawhney has been recognized by several awards including being named the “Champion of Change” by the White House and “Outstanding American by Choice” by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service, “Five most innovative Medical Device CEOs” by MassDevice, MassMedic’s best startup company award, the Frost and Sullivan Product innovation award, MIT Global Indus Technovators Award, the E&Y regional entrepreneur of the year award, Mass High Tech All Star award, The Immigrant Entrepreneur Award, Indian Institute of Delhi’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and the University of Texas’s Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate award. He was recognized by India New England News as one of the 50 most influential people of Indian origin in New England and was recently awarded the New England Choice Award for Entrepreneurship. Dr. Sawhney’s companies and inventions have touched over 5 million patients and have created over 2000 jobs to date.
Sawhney holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.
(To view an exclusive video interview with Amar Sawhney, please click here. It was taped and released last year)