SEATTLE, Washington, (May 17, 1999) George B. Rathmann, chairman, president and CEO of ICOS Corp. and chairman emeritus of Amgen Inc., today was named the first recipient of the Biotechnology Heritage Award recognizing his distinguished career as a scientist and entrepreneur.
The award, sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, was presented at the BIO '99 International Meeting & Exhibition in Seattle, Washington. The honor recognizes individuals whose career has contributed significantly to the growth of biotechnology through discovery, innovation, commercialization or public understanding.
BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum said, "George Rathmann is one of our industry's pioneers who continues, as an innovator, to revolutionize medicine. He is among the true wise men and women who have guided the U.S. biotech industry to global prominence.
"His selection as the first recipient of the Biotechnology Heritage Award establishes the highest standard of excellence for those who may be honored in the future."
Chemical Heritage Foundation President Arnold Thackray said, "George Rathmann is a towering figure, a hero of modern medicine. His multiple talents and protean energies have made life-saving realities out of the promises of biotech research."
Before joining ICOS, in Bothell, Washington, Rathmann helped build Amgen into the nation's most successful biotech company as chairman, president and CEO from 1990, when the Thousand Oaks, Calif., company was launched, to 1988.
Prior to leading Amgen, Rathmann was vice president of research and development in the diagnostics division of Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill. He began his career as a bench chemist for 3M Co., of St. Paul, Minnesota, and later was president of Litton Medical Systems Inc., a division of Litton Industries, of Woodland Hills, Calif.