Press Release

Lori LeRoy
317-238-2456/317- 514-0095 (cell)

BioCrossroads Awards Indiana Life Sciences Leaders

The late Bill Cook receives the Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year Award for
countless contributions to Indiana’s communities and to worldwide health;
Anne Shane receives inaugural BioCrossroads Catalyst Award for productivity and passion
in bringing a sector together

Indianapolis, October 26, 2011 – At the eighth annual Indiana Life Sciences Summit today,
BioCrossroads recognized the late William A. Cook, the founder of Bloomington-based Cook Group and
one of the world’s great entrepreneurial success stories, with the August M. Watanabe Life Sciences
Champion of the Year award. Cook Group President Kem Hawkins accepted the award as a tribute to
his friend and colleague.
Now the largest privately held medical device company in the world, the company began humbly in the
Cook’s apartment in 1963, crafting catheters, needles and wire guides by hand and connecting directly
with physicians for sales. A constant innovator and medical pioneer in the field of minimally invasive
medicine, the company grew rapidly, and now has more than 15,000 products on the market in the
areas of interventional radiology and peripheral intervention, urology, critical care medicine including
antimicrobial-impregnated catheters, gastroenterology, general surgery and many others. With annual
sales of approximately $2 billion, Cook Group now employs about 6,500 Hoosiers and total global
employment exceeds 10,000.
“With uncommon vision, compassion, and persistence on the part of everyone who has ever worked
here, Cook Group has grown into a generous and caring global company. An unrelenting commitment
to preserving and protecting the future of our company has guaranteed that the organization will go on
to serve our employees, our communities and our patients for many years to come,” said Hawkins. “At
Cook, the patient always comes first. From the start, this company has been a true pioneer and its
innovations have had a dramatic effect that changed the course of medical treatment. We are pleased,
and Bill would have been honored, to receive this recognition of our company’s achievements named
after one of his closest friends and colleagues, Gus Watanabe.”
“Bill started from humble beginnings, and then went right on to build major portions of a whole
economy,” said Dr. Craig Brater, Dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine and Chairman of
the Board of BioCrossroads. “He has had an enormous influence for the good in bettering our state’s
science and math education, improving the health of his community, and advancing the cause of
historic preservation. We lost a great man and true friend earlier this year, but Bill’s legacy, including is company the Cook Group, will benefit Hoosiers and patients around the world for generations to
The Watanabe Award is presented annually to an individual who has made a signature contribution to
the growth of the state’s life sciences sector through innovation and unparalleled achievement, and who
personifies the emerging face of Indiana’s life sciences industry.
Also at today’s conference, Anne Shane, a longtime community leader and one of the original organizers
of the collaboration that ultimately became BioCrossroads, received the first BioCrossroads Catalyst
Award. The BioCrossroads Catalyst Award honors an individual who has been an accelerator and
activator in Indiana’s life sciences industry — one who has helped to bring the sector together, and
further helped to sustain it through targeted, strategic and collaborative energy and efforts.
In February 2012, BioCrossroads will celebrate its tenth anniversary. Shane played a pivotal role in the
original organization of the initiative, gathering critical support from leaders across the public and
private sectors as well as from academia and the scientific community. Later at BioCrossroads, Shane’s
efforts focused particularly on developing science and mathematics education programs offering the
promise to prepare Indiana’s next generation with the skills required to work and advance in some of
the state’s best and highest paying jobs. In this role, Shane spearheaded the formation of the Indiana
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (ISTEM) Resource Network, managed today by
Purdue University. Shane helped secure nearly $10 million in funding from the Lilly Endowment, the
Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, the State of Indiana and other stakeholders to further I-STEM’s
efforts in training hundreds of teachers and thousands of students across the state.
“Anne’s early and insistent vision, along with her strong community ties and superb organizational
skills, were what made the difference in moving BioCrossroads from a good idea into a functioning and
productive initiative that has gone on to do considerable good work for our community and our state,”
said David Johnson, BioCrossroads CEO. “From the beginning, Anne saw the potential, and made sure
that others saw it and helped to build it too. I can think of no one who has made more of a difference in
bringing the right people together for the right reasons, or who has played such a critical role in helping
Hoosiers to have better jobs today, and have the chance to be better educated for jobs tomorrow in
Indiana’s promising life sciences sector,” Johnson said.
Shane also organized a collaboration with the University of Notre Dame to bring the National Math and
Science Initiative Advanced Placement Strategies program to Indiana to accelerate the number of high
school students taking and passing math and science AP courses
“Working with the extraordinary team of people who remain at BioCrossroads and with the leadership
of Gus Watanabe, Indiana has built one of the most credible and effective economic cluster initiatives in
the country. I was honored to play a small part in that and accept this award with gratitude.”
About BioCrossroads
BioCrossroads ( 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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