Ventana founder, Tom Grogan, named AZBio Pioneer

Dr. Thomas M. Grogan of Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., a member of the Roche Group, will be honored with AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2013 AZBio Awards.


For Immediate Release
Arizona:  August 12, 2013

The Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) today announced that Thomas M. Grogan, M.D., Founder of Ventana and SVP, Medical Affairs of Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (Ventana), a member of the Roche Group, will be honored with the AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2013 AZBio Awards on October 10, 2013.

Dr. Tom Grogan

Thomas M. Grogan, M.D.
Founder of Ventana and SVP, Medical Affairs of Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. , a member of the Roche Group

Grogan was a pathologist and professor at the University of Arizona when in the mid 1980’s he and a small team set out to challenge the limitations of the then current standards and processes for cancer pathology.  What was to become the company’s first digital pathology instrument evolved from Grogan’s notes on a yellow pad into the BenchMark IHC/ISH staining platforms.   Under Grogan’s leadership, Ventana was founded in 1987, went public in 1996, and was acquired by Roche for $3.4 billion in 2008. Over the last 25 years, Ventana has grown to become a global leader in developing and manufacturing tissue-based diagnostic instruments and tests focused on the detection of cancer. Ventana employees continue to pursue the same deeply rooted mission of innovating diagnostic testing and enabling personalized healthcare to improve the lives of all patients afflicted with cancer worldwide.

“Dr. Grogan has made it his personal mission to make life better for the millions of patients who battle cancer each day.  His passion and dedication are infectious and has spread across the company that he and his team built,” shared Joan Koerber-Walker, President and CEO of AZBio. “Through their efforts they have revolutionized the field of cancer diagnostics and are pioneering new roads in the field of personalized healthcare.”

“I  had the great pleasure of watching Tom Grogan’s creative brilliance grow over more than 30 years as a research colleague in the Cancer Center and in the University of Arizona Department of Pathology” shared Dr. David Alberts, 2012 AZBio Pioneer Award recipient and Arizona Board of Regents Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Public Health, Nutritional Science and BIO 5 . “He did the underlying, basic and translational laboratory research, developed the intellectual property, connected the dots, and against all odds and at great personal sacrifice, started Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. You can’t make this stuff up! Tom is a true “Pioneer” in every sense of the word, but he is even greater as a research colleague, physician scientist and friend!”

“Tom has compassion, scientific expertise and humility so that when he sees a “state of the art” medical technology, he says “We can do even better than that for patients” added Dr. Raymond L. Woosley, founding CEO of the Critical Path Institute, President and Chairman of the Board of AZCERT who was also honored with the AZBio Pioneer Award in 2012.

The 8th Annual AZBio Awards will be held Thursday, October 10, 2013 at the Phoenix Convention Center.  In addition to the Gala Awards Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the VWR Company Showcase and Student Discovery Showcase sponsored by NAU will highlight the work of Arizona’s current and future life science leaders from 10 am – 11:30 a.m. and again from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. so that attendees can see the work being done across the industry and interact with the leaders and future leaders who are driving bioindustry innovation.

In addition honoring Dr. Grogan with the 2013 AZBio Pioneer Award, the AZBio Awards recognize Arizona bioscience and community leaders for their contributions and achievements in education, public service, and research as well as recognize the companies which are rapidly accelerating (Fast Lane honorees) and the 2013 Bioscience Company of the Year.  The Arizona Bioindustry Association will be announcing the names of the honorees weekly throughout August and September.

The list of past honorees can be viewed at:  For tickets and more information, visit



About the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) –

As Arizona’s statewide industry Association, AZBio is committed to working with our members across Arizona to support our industry as together we move forward faster.  AZBio provides access to the key resources, connections and information in our biosciences community. This provides the foundation to be able to Connect, Collaborate, Innovate and Succeed; thus supporting the growth of a thriving economic environment for Arizona’s Bioscience Industry today and in the future.

AZBio is the State Affiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) located in Washington, D.C. and also collaborates on national issues with AdvaMed, PhRMA and other national and international organizations to move the Arizona Bioscience Industry forward faster.




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