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IU chemist DiMarchi named keynote speaker at National Academy of Inventors annual conference

bloomington, richard, dimarchi

AARON BERNSTEIN/UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS — Richard DiMarchi.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Richard DiMarchi will give a keynote address during the National Academy of Inventors’ fourth annual conference set for March 19 and 20 in Pasadena, Calif.

 One of the world’s leading peptide chemists and a prolific entrepreneur, DiMarchi — the Standiford H. Cox Professor of Chemistry and Linda and Jack Gill Chair in Biomolecular Sciences in the IU-Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry — is one of four keynote speakers scheduled at the event hosted by the California Institute of Technology.

 He is joined by Steven Chu, former U.S. energy secretary and Nobel Prize in Physics winner; Esther Sans Takuchi, a chief scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and SUNY Distinguished Professor at Stony Brook University; and Andrew Faile, deputy commissioner for patents operations for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“This latest honor for Dr. DiMarchi is further testament to the degree to which his peers recognize his extraordinary contributions to human health and their esteem for him as he provides one of the keynote addresses for this year’s conference,” IU Vice President of Engagement Bill Stephan said.

DiMarchi also was elected as an NAI Fellow. Fellows are nominated by their peers for “outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation,” according to the academy’s website.

 Each must be a named inventor on at least one patent issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Nominees also must be affiliated with an academic organization such as a university, college, non-profit research group, or government research facility. Fellows are selected by a 17-member committee.

“It has been my privilege to work with Dr. DiMarchi in the filing of over 600 patent applications for discoveries made at IU of potential therapeutics for treatment of diabetes and obesity,” said Bill Brizzard, director of technology commercialization for the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. “His election as an NAI Fellow is well-deserved recognition of his achievements.”

With more than 160 member institutions, including Indiana University, the NAI was founded in 2010 to honor academic invention, recognize and encourage inventors, and enhance the visibility of university and nonprofit research institute technology and innovation. It also encourages the disclosure of intellectual property, educates and mentors innovative students, and translates the inventions of its members to benefit society.

That mission is key in an era in which government support is no longer sufficient to fully fund what DiMarchi described as “the ongoing biomedical revolution.” As not-for-profit institutions adapt to those realities, venture capital is increasingly relied upon to support graduate and post-doctoral education, as well as innovations worthy of commercialization, he said.   

“Patent-protected inventions provide the economic incentive to recruit the sizable financial investment necessary to translate university-based discoveries to breakthrough commercial products,” DiMarchi said. “NAI is a society that celebrates academic-based inventions. It promotes the integration of the unique creativity found in universities with external commercial enterprises.”

DiMarchi is one of 21 NAI Fellows who also has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He holds more than 100 patents and has co-authored more than 150 publications.

As a research scientist and executive at Eli Lilly and Co. for 22 years, DiMarchi was a key contributor to the discovery of Humalog, the first recombinant DNA-derived peptide analog to enter the pharmaceutical market. He also contributed to the commercial development of Humulin, Humatrope, Evista, Xigris and Forteo, which annually sell in excess of $5 billion.

As an entrepreneur, DiMarchi is a co-founder and board member of New York and San Francisco-based Assembly Biosciences, which is developing treatments for hepatitis B and C. difficile-associated diarrhea. DiMarchi was a co-founder and board member of Marcadia Biotech, which was acquired by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche in a 2010 deal valued at up to $537 million. He also has served as a co-founder and board member of San Diego, Calif.-based Ambrx and currently is co-founder and chief scientific officer of Carmel, Ind.,-based Calibrium, LLC. DiMarchi also is a scientific adviser to Ferring, Merck and Roche, as well as venture funds 5AM, TMP and Twilight Ventures.

Throughout the past decade, DiMarchi has also been honored with the 2012 Phillip E. Nelson Innovation Award; the 2011 American Peptide Society Merrifield Award; the 2009 Watanabe Award for Life Sciences Research; the 2007 Wallace Carothers Award for Excellence in Polymer Sciences; the 2006 American Chemical Society Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management; the 2006 ACS Gustavus Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Service of Public Interest; and the 2005 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Career Research Achievement Award in Biotechnology.

DiMarchi earned his Ph.D in biochemistry from IU in 1979. He joined IU’s faculty in 2003 after retiring from Eli Lilly and Co. as group vice president.

Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. is a not-for-profit agency that helps IU faculty and researchers realize the commercial potential of their discoveries. Since 1997, IURTC’s university clients have accounted for more than 2,800 inventions, nearly 1,900 patent applications and 77 startup companies. IURTC is part of the Innovate Indiana initiative, which engages strategic partners to leverage and advance IU’s intellectual resources and expertise, enhance Indiana’s economic growth and contribute to the overall quality of life for Hoosiers.

Indiana University is designated as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. This recognizes IU’s commitment across all its campuses to being a leading institution in fostering regional economic development.