2019 Award Recipient
Distinguished Alumnus Award: Gary H. Stroy, Class of 1967
Gary Stroy is pictured (on the right-side) with Dr. Keith Olsen, Dean of the UNMC College of Pharmacy.
Gary H. Stroy is currently the Chairman and CEO of Xip Diagnostics, a firm that he co-founded with scientists from the University of California at Berkeley, to develop the world's first single-use, digital read blood analyzer. The platform can instantly measure one to a dozen analytes in a drop of whole blood. The platform is initially being applied in veterinary medicine for the quick screening of four parasites that commonly infect dogs. This product will be sold worldwide by Zoetis, the world’s largest animal health company. The next application of the technology will be for the measurement of troponin, the accepted biomarker for a heart attack. The product will enable the rapid confirmation of a myocardial infarction in a hospital emergency department minutes after a patient admits with symptoms. Current lab tests take one to three hours to provide results to clinicians.
Prior to joining XipDx, Mr. Stroy was an angel investor/consultant to several medical product and health companies and has been a venture partner/advisor with several first-tier venture capitalists including: Sequoia Capital, Venrock Associates, Acacia Venture Partners, Delphi Ventures, US Venture Partners, Alta Partners, and MedVenture Associates. During his career, Mr. Stroy held senior management positions within four large pharmaceutical firms, founded seven medical products firms and served on the board of directors of several medical companies including: SmithKline, American Hospital Supply, Syntex, Bayer, Sicca Laboratories, LifeScan, Biotrack, ChemTrak, Abaxis, Altus Medical, Coalescent Surgical, RxKinetics, Avocet Medical, MedicalHost, LabVelocity, LXN Corporation, and Vetmedsupply.
Mr. Stroy has a long record of accomplishments in identifying new life science and medical business opportunities, growing businesses, partnering with major corporations in both the U.S. and Asia and engineering exit strategies.
After graduating from the University of Nebraska College of Pharmacy in 1968 with a MS in Pharmacology, Mr. Stroy held management and senior executive positions with divisions of four large pharmaceutical/medical device firms (SmithKline, American Hospital Supply, Syntex and Bayer). During this period, Mr. Stroy developed a reputation for identifying new business opportunities, conceiving novel product ideas and developing creative marking programs especially in the areas of what is now called companion diagnostics or precision medicine. His many contributions are today embodied in business worth several billion dollars a year in sales.
In 1978, Mr. Stroy embarked on an entrepreneurial career. In 1988, he founded Sicca Laboratories to develop a biochemical tear test for use by eye doctors to qualify patients to wear, then new, contact lens. With a $25,000 home equity loan, he quickly sold the company to Syntex Opthalmics for $250,000. In 1980 he co-founded LifeScan, which pioneered the concept of personal blood glucose monitoring for managing diabetes. A key success factor for the company was a partnership he engineered with a major Japanese company. LifeScan was sold to Johnson & Johnson in 1996 for $100 million after only $6 million of investment by three leading venture capitalists (Sutter Hill Ventures, Doan Associates and Hambrecht & Quist). As a division of J&J, LifeScan reached sales of over $2 billion a year.
In 1984, Mr. Stroy co-founded Biotrack with the idea of extending the LifeScan product concept to measuring other constituents of body fluids. Biotrack was sold to Ciba Corning in 1988 for $70 million after a $10 million investment by Sequoia Capital, H&Q and U.S.V.P.
In 1988, he was a seed investor and director of ChemTrak, a firm that developed the first home cholesterol test. He helped the founders develop their product/marketing strategy, spearhead raising three rounds of investment from Sequoia Capital, Delphi Ventures, Mohr Davidow and others and negotiated marketing agreements for the company first with American Home Products dn then with Johnson and Johnson. Mr. Stroy participated in the firm’s IPO in 1992.
In 1989, Mr. Stroy co-founded Abaxis, a company that developed the world’s first portable laboratory-in-a-box, a product designed to shift all routine blood testing from laboratories to the site of patient care. The investors were Sequoia Capital, H&Q, Alta Partners, IVP and Delphi Ventures. As Chairman and CEO, Mr. Stroy led the company through IPO in 1992 and then through a major shift in market focus when a federal law and onerous regulations eliminated the human market for the product. With survival at stake, he re-directed the company into the veterinary market, where the company today has the majority market share. Abaxis was purchased by Zoetis in 2018 for $2 billion.
In 1994, Mr. Stroy co-founded LXN, Inc. with Sequoia Capital, Alta Partners, Walden International and Advent as investors. The LXN opportunity involved a better way to manage Type 2 diabetes based on the measurement of a newly validated blood constituent. His long immersion in the diabetes field enabled him to identify this new multi-million dollar market. With Stroy as Chairman and a president hand-picked by Stroy, the company was very successful at product development and at navigating the regulatory process, but had a significant setback in 1999 when a newly hired president implemented a high-risk marketing strategy that did not work. Mr. Stroy then restructured the management team and re-launched the product. In 2000, the company was sold to Inverness Medical which in-turn was sold to J&J for $1 billion.
Mr. Stroy earned a M.S. in Pharmacology (with a double major in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Business) from the University of Nebraska, a BS degree in Biochemistry from Colorado State University and a Certificate in International Business from UCLA. He is a co-inventor on several patents, has been a member of many professional organizations, has been a featured speaker at several medical meetings on topics in both science and business and is recognized worldwide for his pioneering contributions in the areas of immunoassay technology for therapeutic drug monitoring and diabetes management. He is often referred to as the “Father of Personal Blood Glucose Monitoring” or the “Father of Point-of-Care Diagnostics” for his long history of promoting the use of diagnostics to fine tune drug therapy. He is credited for coining the terms Companion Diagnostic and Precision Medicine long before they became common place in modern medical terminology.