Yiannis Monovoukas ’84 Supports Biomedical Innovation, Entrepreneurship with $1M Gift

Jul 30 2019 | By Joanne Hvala | Photos courtesy of Yiannis and Jamie Monovoukas

Inspired by his own experience as an engineer, businessman, and entrepreneur, Yiannis Monovoukas ’84, who also serves as a member of Columbia Engineering’s Board of Visitors, has established the Yiannis and Jamie Monovoukas BiomedX Fund with a donation of $200,000 a year for the next five years to support the translation of academic research discoveries from the laboratory to the market. Under the aegis of the Columbia Biomedical Technology Accelerator, also known as BiomedX and originally established with a grant from the Coulter Foundation in 2012, Monovoukas’ gift will provide funding, education, and support to students and faculty interested in commercializing their biomedical inventions.

Yiannis and Jamie Monovoukas

“As we anticipate the 20th anniversary of the biomedical engineering department next year, it is so inspiring to receive this generous gift from one of our own successful alumni,” said X. Edward Guo, chair of biomedical engineering. “Our researchers, in collaboration with Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center, are doing so much to advance the science of cancer detection and therapy, tissue and bone regeneration, and neuroscience, to name just a few areas. This gift will help assure the continuity and progress of their work while supporting its translation out of the lab to benefit human health.”  

Monovoukas is the former chairman, president, and CEO of TEI Biosciences, a regenerative medicine company that was acquired in 2015 by Integra LifeSciences. He currently heads two venture capital funds and is also the CEO of two startup companies, Helios Cardiovascular and AuraGen Aesthetics. A 2011 recipient of the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Life Sciences Award for the New England region, he went on to be named a finalist in the national competition, which recognizes global entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success. He earned his BS in chemical engineering from Columbia University, a Master’s and PhD in chemical engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. 

“BiomedX combines my passions for innovation, engineering, and entrepreneurship,” said Monovoukas. “The Columbia Biomedical Technology Accelerator has an outstanding track record of bringing cutting edge research to market and partnering with Columbia Technology Ventures to amplify the discoveries that are underway at the innovative juncture of engineering and medicine.” 

Now in its eighth year, the Columbia Biomedical Technology Accelerator has funded 50 teams with cumulative support of $4.7 million; collectively, the funded teams have generated more than $75 million in follow-on funding. More than one-third of these teams have licensed their research to startups or to industry.

In addition to the Monovoukas gift, the Columbia Biomedical Technology Accelerator is funded by Columbia’s School of Engineering and Columbia University Irving Medical Center.