Amgen Founding CEO George Rathmann Dies

Published: Apr 24, 2012

George B. Rathmann, who was the first chief executive of Amgen and helped build it into the world’s largest biotechnology company, died on Sunday at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 84. George Rathmann joined Amgen when genetic engineering was in its infancy. His son James, in confirming the death, said Dr. Rathmann had suffered from kidney failure for several years. Dr. Rathmann is widely considered one of the fathers of the biotechnology industry. There were only a handful of companies involved in genetic engineering in 1980, when Dr. Rathmann was recruited from Abbott Laboratories to run Amgen, which was little more than a vague idea by some venture capitalists to start a company, without knowing exactly what the company would pursue.

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