January 11, 2016 – Madison, WI – The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering has awarded Dr. Greg Piefer, founder and CEO of SHINE Medical Technologies, Inc. (SHINE) the Early-Career Achievement Award. The award honors young alumni whose achievements stand out as exceptional, typically within 10 years of graduation.
While pursuing his PhD at UW-Madison, Piefer set his sights on commercializing his fusion research to address a major healthcare challenge—the dwindling global supply of medical isotopes used to treat and diagnose millions of patients.
“Greg’s work exemplifies the Wisconsin Idea—that life-changing discoveries and innovations developed at the University of Wisconsin should be shared with the people of Wisconsin, the nation and the world,” said UW-Madison Chancellor, Rebecca Blank. “Greg has used what he learned in graduate school to solve a global problem. But it’s not only cancer and heart disease patients around the world who will benefit: this innovation will also have a profoundly positive impact on the Janesville community where the SHINE manufacturing facility will be built.”
Piefer founded SHINE in 2010 and currently serves as the CEO of the company, which seeks to become the world leader in producing medical isotopes for diagnostic imaging of various conditions, including heart disease and cancer. SHINE’s revolutionary accelerator-based process allows for low-cost, environmentally friendly production of medical isotopes without a nuclear reactor.
With 30 employees in its Monona, Wisconsin, office, SHINE has received financial support from angel and venture investors, the Morgridge Institute for Research and U.S. Department of Energy. In 2014-2015, SHINE executed a term sheet for $125 million in debt and equity financing in order to begin construction of a production facility in Janesville, Wisconsin, obtained more than $10 million for operating costs, and signed long-term agreements to supply its product to GE Healthcare and Lantheus Medical Imaging, two of the three medical isotope distributors in the United States.
After earning bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and physics from UW-Madison in 1999, Piefer went on to earn master’s and PhD degrees in nuclear engineering and engineering physics in 2004 and 2006. As a graduate student, Piefer was the chief technical officer of Gillware Inc., a leading data recovery and backup company. While pursuing his PhD, he founded Phoenix Nuclear Labs (PNL), an early-stage company that has developed a new generation of high-yield neutron generators for defense and medical applications. PNL has 35 employees and has brought in significant revenue and equity financing since its inception. Piefer served as PNL’s president until 2010, and he has remained on the company’s board of directors since stepping down as president to found SHINE.
Piefer lives in Middleton, Wisconsin. Outside of work, he enjoys CrossFit and running, as well as dabbling in computers and other electronics.