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BIO Honors Biotech Leaders for Breakthroughs in Ag & Environment Biotech

September 12, 2023
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The Biotechnology Innovation Organization has honored two biotechnology leaders who are driving cutting-edge breakthroughs in agricultural, environmental and industrial biotechnology.

Dr. Pam Marrone, Co-founder and Executive Chair of Invasive Species Corp., is the recipient of the Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology and Agriculture.

Dr. Marrone has spent her 30-plus year career focused on biological products for pest management and plant health. She started and led three agricultural biotechnology companiesEntotech, AgraQuest and Marrone Bio Innovations, all of which were sold to larger companies. She is one of only 32 women to have founded a company and taken it public. Her fourth company, the Invasive Species Corp., and its corresponding Invasive Species Research Institute, is working to bring effective, environmentally friendly biological solutions to control destructive invasive species in water, forestry and farming.

Hank Harris, DVM PhD, Co-founder of Genvax Technologies, and Professor Emeritus at Iowa State University, is the recipient of BIO’s George Washington Carver Award for Leadership in Agriculture and Environmental Biotechnology.

Dr. Harris has worked to reduce the time it takes to produce animal vaccines. His company Harrisvaccines (acquired by Merck Animal Health) gained USDA licenses for vaccines against diseases in swine and poultry, including the first-ever vaccine against pandemic H1N1 in pigs and the first vaccine for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus which, at the time, caused more than 8 million piglet deaths in the first year of entering the U.S. pig population. His discoveries have shaped the way we raise livestock, combat animal disease threats, and protect the nation’s food supply. As co-founder of Genvax Technologies, Dr. Harris continues working to develop vaccine technology to aid in rapidly responding to foreign animal disease outbreaks.

“The pace and impact of innovation in biotechnology is amazing,” said BIO’s CEO Rachel King. “It’s thanks to leaders like Dr. Marrone and Dr. Harris that biotech is developing breakthrough solutions in areas such as food security, climate change and the health of animals and our broader society. We are proud to honor them and look forward to their discoveries yet to come.”

The George Washington Carver Award, sponsored by the Iowa Biotechnology Association, recognizes individuals who have advanced biotech innovation to make supply chains greener and have worked successfully toward that goal in the private sector or government. Named for celebrated agricultural scientist George Washington Carver, whose discoveries improved the lives of farmers and the health of American soils, the award pays tribute to those who are building on Carver’s legacy.

BIO presents the Rosalind Franklin Award to a pioneering woman who is leading today’s innovations in agriculture, food systems, sustainable energy and biobased manufacturing.Rosalind Franklin is renowned for her work to map the molecular structure of DNA in the 1950s.

“Drs. Marrone and Harris are precisely the caliber of biotech innovators for whom the George Washington Carver and Rosalind Franklin awards were created,” said King. “They continue to use their remarkable knowledge and skills to solve critical challenges and make us and our world safer, healthier and more sustainable.”


Photos of Dr. Marrone and Dr. Harris are attached. 


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