BOSTON—TiE Boston, one of the region’s largest business organizations supporting the Massachusetts entrepreneurial ecosystem, announced that it will bestow its annual Lifetime Achievement Award to serial medical technology entrepreneur Amar Sawhney at the TiE Boston gala this week.
The black-tie gala, which will take place on Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Four Seasons Boston, will also honor 14 recipients of its 2018 Entrepreneurship Awards. These awards highlight the achievements of innovators and entrepreneurs across categories such as venture capital, digital health, B2B & B2C technology and robotics and automation, TiE Boston said in a statement.
Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree Mr. Sawhney is one of the foremost innovators and entrepreneurs in medical technology. He currently serves as the Chairman of Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. and of Instylla, Inc. Previously, he served as Chairman of Augmenix, Inc., which was acquired by Boston Scientific in September 2018 for $600 million. Prior to that, Mr. Sawhney 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.
“We are pleased to honor Dr. Sawhney and the other awardees at this year’s Gala,” said Nilanjana Bhowmik, President of TiE Boston. “Each of these awardees embodies our organization’s values — they have built, innovated and given back to their communities. Each has also assumed a responsibility to create something important — not just companies, but relationships and communities to support innovation and entrepreneurialism on an ongoing basis.”
The TiE-Boston Board awards the Lifetime Achievement Award when an individual has made a lasting impact in the business community, and a significant contribution to the success of TiE-Boston.
Mr. Sawhney, an IIT-Delhi graduate, is always trying to solve unmet needs in medical technology, and in the process has founded numerous successful medical device companies. His inventions include several “first of a kind” surgical sealants to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, including DuraSeal for neurosurgery, FocalSeal for lung surgery, and Mynx for femoral puncture sealing.
What motivates Mr. Sawhney to excel at everything he does?
“I don’t profess to be a perfectionist, but I am persistent,” says Mr. Sawhney. “When I take on a mission, I ensure that it reaches a logical conclusion, with not only the best possible financial outcome, but also the best outcome for patients and the team.”
His mantra for success is simple. “In my area of focus, which is medical innovation and entrepreneurship, I employ a value system. At the apex is identifying a genuine unmet need, or a worthwhile cause to focus on,” says Mr. Sawhney. “Next comes the right people to onboard for the journey, with the right values. And finally, we need to be good stewards of capital, to generate value for our shareholders.”
Sawhney grew up in India and came to the United States for higher studies.
“My father was in the Indian Air Force, so I grew up in a number of different cities, Pune, Shillong, Allahabad, and Gandhinagar. As a family we were middle class. We never had a lack of what we felt we needed, but we never had much excess either,” recalled Mr. Sawhney. “My father believed in getting us the best education and he did everything within his power to ensure we had every opportunity in this regard.”
His mother was a teacher and she was always very friendly and concerned about the people around her – friends, family, neighbors and her students.
“There were always people around us, who supported us, and looked up to my parents. This had a lasting impression on me, that it is not money that matters, but character, compassion, and concern for others,” shares Mr. Sawhney. “These principles are important in my personal life but are equally applicable in my professional life too. I make it a point that the teams we assemble feel like they belong to a family that is engaged in a mission that is greater than any one of us individually. It keeps us grounded, excited, and motivated.”
In addition to being an innovator and entrepreneur, Mr. 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 Imperative Care in California, Axtria and MarketRx (acquired by Cognizant) in New Jersey, Maya Medical (acquired by Covidien), Augmenix, and Ocular Therapeutix, in Massachusetts, and Neurolutions in St. Louis.
Mr. Sawhney currently serves on the board of directors of EcoSikh, Axtria, Imperative care, Instylla and Ocular Therapeutix, where he is also a founder of the latter two companies. Through his family foundation, Mr. Sawhney has been active in charitable causes that are dear to him, which include education, wildlife and the environment, with a focus on India.
Mr. Sawhney has been recognized for his contributions in innovation and philanthropy with several awards including being named a “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, New England Choice Awards, The Immigrant Entrepreneur Award, Indian Institute of Delhi’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and the University of Texas’s Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate award.
Mr. 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.
Founded in 1997 by entrepreneurs who immigrated from the Indus region, TiE Boston champions inclusion in innovation by blending the fundamentals of entrepreneurship with traditional Indian values that place importance on community, mentorship and long-term relationships.
TiE Boston is one of the region’s largest and oldest organizations supporting the Massachusetts entrepreneurial ecosystem, focused on supporting entrepreneurs throughout their lifecycle — from ideation to creation, through growth, wealth creation and ultimately, support of future founders.
The TiE Boston community encompasses students, founders, experienced entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists. Its programs foster trusted, long-term relationships between its participants — span education, mentoring, networking and funding.
For more information about TiE Boston, visit boston.tie.org