Award-winning innovators -- A recent innovation from Clipius Technologies Inc. is this instrument that rotates rods with no lateral movement during spinal reconstruction surgery. Clipius, a Carbondale-based company and client of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, advanced to the final round of judging recently in the statewide Innovate Illinois competition. The finals are Nov. 18 in Chicago. Photo provided Download Photo Here

October 24, 2008

Clipius Technologies a finalist in statewide contest

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Clipius Technologies Inc., a Carbondale-based company, advanced to the final round of judging recently in the statewide Innovate Illinois competition. A client of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, Clipius is one of a dozen finalists, six early stage and six later stage companies, from throughout the state, vying for the $40,000 top prize in each category.

Just getting to this point in the highly competitive entrepreneurship competition is quite an accomplishment for Clipius Technologies, Inc. ( More than 130 companies from all over Illinois applied, with just 32 selected present in Chicago on Sept. 26. From this competition, Clipius was one of just a dozen companies advancing to the final stage set for Nov. 18 in Chicago. There, each finalist will make a 10-minute fast-pitched presentation.

“It is with great pride that Southern Illinois University supports such innovative entrepreneurs as Ajay and the Clipius co-founders as they help put Southern Illinois on the map as a great place to grow an idea into a thriving enterprise,” said SIU President Glenn Poshard.

The innovative signature product leading Clipius to the final round of the competition is an antimicrobial coating for implants such as spinal screws. Medtronic Sofamor Danek, a large Memphis, Tenn., biomedical company, has funded research and development work by Clipius. With infection reduction and elimination rates critical in today’s insurance reimbursement climate, these types of biomedical inventions are the future evolution of advanced medicine and surgical procedures.

Three doctors and two others holding doctorates, all with SIU affiliations, founded Clipius. The company is involved in cutting-edge product development of medical devices and software. Clipius already holds six patents, two copyrights and two licensed products and has two more products in the development phrase.

“It is indeed an honor to make it to the finals of the Innovate Illinois 2008 Competition, and represent Southern Illinois amongst truly outstanding companies, some of which are working on revolutionary ideas in vascular grafts, cancer therapeutics and so forth,” said Ajay Mahajan, president of Clipius Technologies. “What is really interesting to me is that our model is quite similar to those of Chicago-based companies whose intellectual properties come from universities such as U of I and Northwestern. SIU and the region certainly have the environment for encouraging high-tech companies and I am sure we will start seeing more of them in the area in the near future. In the meantime, we will continue what we are doing, have a lot of fun in the process, and help in any way we can to further foster an entrepreneurial environment in the region. I am particularly grateful and thankful to the SIEC for all their help to Clipius, and on a larger scale promoting the entrepreneurial culture in the region.”

The Clipius management team includes:

• Ajay Mahajan, president, professor of mechanical engineering at SIUC. He earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering (robotics and controls) at Tulane University. He brings his academic knowledge and 15 years experience along with his innovative thinking to Clipius. His experience involves working with NASA and a pair of Formula One racing businesses.

• Dr. Sumeer Lal, vice president and a practicing neurosurgeon in Greenwood, S.C. Lal, who recently obtained a five star rating for spinal surgery in the national 2008 Healthgrades report, completed his fellowship at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Large biomedical firms consult Lal for his expertise and advice about new medical devices.

• Dr. Brad Schwartz, secretary and practicing urologist. He’s director of the Center for Laparoscopy and Endourology at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. He’s active in clinical urology, specializing in stone disease and minimally invasive surgery, and that includes watching for new biomedical products to develop.

• Tsuchin Philip Chu, professor of mechanical engineering and energy processes at SIUC. He brings to Clipius more than 25 years of academic experience in technical fields including digital image correlation, experimental mechanics, computer-aided design and finite element analysis. With a doctorate from the University of South Carolina, Chu has worked with the likes of NASA, the U.S. Air Force, IBM and the Boeing Co.

• Dr. Jayant Nath, a practicing cardiologist in Kansas City, Kan. He’s served as a clinical assistant professor at the SIU School of Medicine and at Stanford University and been involved teaching numerous medical students, residents and cardiology fellows.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is Nov. 17-21 and in celebration while in Chicago, a Nov. 18 reception will be the platform for the Innovate Illinois winner announcement. The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Forecast is from 5:30 to 8 that evening at the Park Hyatt and will feature expert panelists addressing the economy and its expected impact on the state’s entrepreneurs.

Panelists will include: Steve Kaplan, Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at the University of Chicago; Anil Kumar, president and co-chairman of Quinnox; and Cheryl Rosner, president and chief executive officer of TicketsNow. David Weinstein, president of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Center, will be the moderator.

The Chicago event is part of a worldwide celebration involving millions of people throughout the world meeting to brainstorm new ideas and better ways of doing things. It’s the culmination of plans announced Nov. 13, 2007, by Carl Schramm, president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and Gordon Brown, now prime minister for the United Kingdom. Global Entrepreneurship Week is a massive plan with dozens of countries participating, but it’s more so a localized concept incorporating each community’s perception of entrepreneurship. Its goal is inspiring young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity and turn their ideas into reality.

“Clipius, like many of the clients in the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center portfolio, embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, proving that Southern Illinois has companies that can compete on the same level as Chicago companies,” said Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade at SIUC.

Within the downstate region, the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center offers in-depth assistance and accelerated consulting services to high-growth entrepreneurs, promoting an entrepreneurial culture throughout the region, center officials said.

“Our award-winning youth entrepreneurship program, CampCEO, and our participation and success in the statewide initiative Innovate Illinois, are just two examples of ongoing projects that ignite the entrepreneurial spirit,” Laur Russell said.

To learn more about the SIUC Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center and the multitude of services it offers, visit or call 618/453-3805. For more information about the worldwide weeklong entrepreneurship celebration, global entrepreneurship and the opportunities it provides, look online at