BioCrossroads has named Bill Eason, the late founder of the company that would ultimately become Roche Diagnostics’ North American headquarters in Indianapolis, the 2015 Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year. Eason founded Bio-Dynamics in 1964 in his garage. The company developed the Unimeter, which measured blood glucose and was one of the first diagnostic tools of its kind. Roche Diagnostics Chief Executive Officer Jack Phillips says Eason is the reason the company’s "roots are so deep" in Indiana.
Eason was a Butler University graduate and chemical engineer who began his career at Ford Motor Co. in the 1960s. Bio-Dynamics was purchased by Boehringer Mannheim, and ultimately acquired to become the North American headquarters for Roche Diagnostics.
BioCrossroads, Indiana’s life sciences initiative, presents the Watanabe award each year to honor an individual or organization that has driven unique achievements in the life sciences. The organization made the announcement today during the Indiana Life Sciences Summit in Indianapolis.
The Unimeter was considered a breakthrough in diagnostics technology, allowing the testing of blood glucose levels at the point of care, rather than having to be sent to a laboratory, saving time and money for patients and health providers. The technology is now under the Accu-Chek brand.
Phillips says Eason’s contributions to the sector are "immeasurable," saying his work has influenced and benefited employees and patients throughout the world.
Eason’s contributions to Indianapolis also include owning the Indiana Pacers when the team was part of the American Basketball Association. His work helped keep the team in Indiana when there was a possibility that it might move to California.
Last year’s Watanabe Award winner was Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) Chief Executive Officer John Lechleiter.
Phillips says Eason’s legacy lives on in Indiana.