Dinesh C. Patel MS'75, PhD
Managing Partner, Patel Family Investments
Dr. Patel, a native of Zambia, Africa, said that he knew early on in his college career that he would someday run his own company. He recognized that in order to accomplish that goal, he needed to gain a strong education, and he chose PCP for its great reputation in the pharmaceutical industry. Despite his solid background in pharmacy, Dr. Patel, who first earned his bachelor's degree in pharmacy from Gujarat University in India, said he was never interested in practicing pharmacy. That's because he was more fascinated with the science and business aspects of the pharmaceutical industry and ultimately completed his PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry from University of Michigan.
Dr. Patel followed a traditional career path, conducting research and working for large corporations for several years. However, his life as he knew it changed drastically in 1985 after he teamed up with his former Michigan professor to launch his first business, TheraTech, Inc., in Salt Lake City. This company specialized in developing controlled, time-release medicines like transdermal patches and oral systems for delivering medications.
Among some of his most noteworthy accomplishments he includes taking TheraTech, Inc. public in 1992. At that time, Dr. Patel became one of the few Indian CEOs of a publicly-traded U.S. company TheraTech was later acquired by Watson Pharmaceuticals in 1999, and Dr. Patel shifted his entrepreneurial efforts toward becoming a venture capitalist and philanthropist.
Over the past 30 years, he has secured 15 patents worldwide, as well as founded and invested in more than 20 biotechnology and information technology companies. He is also the co-founder of vSpring Capital, a Salt Lake City-based investment firm now known as Signal Peak Ventures. He is currently the founder emeritus of this company, which manages more than $500 million in capital investments.
At 65-years-old, Dr. Patel now spends much of his time and fortune giving back to underserved communities in India through the Shakti Krupa Charitable Trust started by his father. In 1994, he and his brothers established the Shree Chhotubhai A. Patel Hospital and Community Health Centre in Mota Fofalia, India, a 100-bed charity hospital now serving 65,000 people in local villages surrounding their father's birthplace. He also runs a foundation with his wife that donates to various social and cultural activities in the United States and abroad.