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Orthopedics Entrepreneur Named BioCrossroads Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year
Date:10/27/2010

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- At the seventh annual Indiana Life Sciences Summit today, BioCrossroads recognized one of the state's most successful entrepreneurs Dane A. Miller, Ph. D, founder and former chief executive officer of Biomet, with the August M. Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year award, a prestigious honor named in tribute to BioCrossroads' late Chairman.

Dr. Miller founded the global orthopedic giant, Biomet, just thirty years ago in the orthopedics capital of the world, Warsaw, Indiana.  A true entrepreneur, he and several other founders (who also worked together to provide the angel investment to start Biomet) wanted to build a company committed to providing innovative solutions for the needs of the orthopedic industry.  The company hit $1.1 million in sales after only two years in business, rapidly establishing an enterprise that, along with neighboring orthopedics giants Zimmer, Inc., and DePuy Orthopaedics, has made Warsaw home to three of the world's five largest orthopedics device companies.

"The success of Biomet through Dane's early vision and leadership has raised Indiana's national visibility as a center for the life sciences, and Warsaw as the world capital of the orthopedic industry.  In addition, because Warsaw is the hotbed of the orthopedics world, many supportive companies have been built around the area, employing thousands of people," said D. Craig Brater, M.D., Dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine and Chairman of the Board of BioCrossroads.  "Dane is one of the primary catalysts for the surge in Kosciusko and surrounding counties' businesses and growth, and to keeping Indiana's economy strong because of his influence in the medical device industry."

Some of Dr. Miller's achievements:

  • In only 25 years, the company went from $17,000 of revenue to nearly $2.0 billion, sold products in more than 100 countries and hired more than 6,300 "team members". 
  • Even though Miller is not from Indiana, rather than moving the company outside of the state, he decided to stay in Warsaw, and consistently expanded Biomet's facilities and employee headcount when he was CEO.
  • He was named Indiana Small Business Person of the Year in 1984.
  • In 1991, President George H.W. Bush awarded him with the Small Business Association National Entrepreneurial Success award.
  • In 2005, Governor Mitch Daniels named Miller to the inaugural board of directors of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
  • Even though his company was making over a billion dollars and CEOs at other billion dollar companies were taking home million dollar salaries, Miller kept his salary relatively low.  In fact, he was recognized by Forbes magazine as representing one of the best "values" for shareholders among CEOs in the country.
  • Miller's philanthropic commitment has made a unique impact on the Kosciusko County landscape.  In 2003, Miller received the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana award for restoration of Warsaw's neighboring community Winona Lake; in 2010, Miller led the initiative to move the national headquarters of the Remnant Trust to Kosciusko County.

"On behalf of Indiana's medical device industry, it is a great honor to receive this coveted award," Dr. Miller.  "This is a thanks to the entire team at Biomet for their dedicated efforts, so I share this distinction with them."  

In addition, as part of the award, BioCrossroads is giving grants to two teachers in Kosciusko County, where Dr. Miller lives, in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics disciplines to pursue professional development. 

The Watanabe Award is presented annual to an individual who has made a significant positive impact on the growth of the state's life sciences sector, made noteworthy achievements in the development and promotion Indiana's life sciences and personifies the emerging face of the Indiana life sciences industry. Nominations for the 2010 award were submitted to BioCrossroads and a list of finalists was determined.  The award winner was voted on by the BioCrossroads Board of Directors.

About BioCrossroads

BioCrossroads (www.biocrossroads.com) is Indiana's initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the region's research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development.   BioCrossroads provides money and support to life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences enterprises (Indiana Health Information Exchange, Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities, BioCrossroadsLINX,  Datalys Center and OrthoWorx) expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana's life science institutions, promotes science education and markets Indiana's life sciences industry.


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