Perkin Medal for Herbert W Boyer, PhD

This item first appeared in 2007

Genentech director honoured

Herbert W Boyer has served as a director of Genentech since he co-founded the company in 1976 with Robert A Swanson, a venture capitalist. He also was a vice president of the company from 1976 to 1990. A biochemist and genetic engineer, Boyer has demonstrated the usefulness of recombinant DNA technology to economically produce medicines, which laid the groundwork for Genentech's development.

In addition to his role at Genentech, Boyer was a professor at the University of California at San Francisco and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. At the time Genentech was formed, Boyer was a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF as well as the director of the graduate programme in genetics. He has taught in the microbiology department as well.

In 1993, Boyer was awarded the prestigious Swiss Helmut Horten Research Award, along with Dr Stanley Cohen of Stanford University, for their pioneering use of research in the use of gene technology in medicine. In 1985, he was elected to the California Inventor's Hall of Fame and is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. Boyer received the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement in 1981 and the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 1980. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received the Industrial Research Institute Achievement Award in 1982. Boyer is on several editorial boards of scientific publications and has written or co-written more than 100 scientific articles.

Boyer received his Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry in 1958 from St Vincent College in Pennsylvania. He received his Master of Science and PhD in 1960 and 1963 respectively, from the University of Pittsburgh.

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