THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) today announced that George Rathmann, founding CEO of Amgen from 1980 to 1988 and board chairman until 1990, has passed away.
Recruited by Bill Bowes, one of Amgen's founders, Rathmann possessed the kind of passion and charisma that helped build the company and attract world-class scientific talent. Regarded as one of the founding fathers of biotechnology, George had the vision to see how biotechnology could transform the practice of medicine with the mix of business and science to bring that vision to life. One of Rathmann's chief accomplishments was finding the funds Amgen needed during its start-up years. Nicknamed the "Golden Throat" by friends who admired his persuasiveness, he secured venture capital, built revenue streams through partnerships, and guided Amgen through its first public offerings.
"George Rathmann was a biotechnology giant and we were privileged to have him as our first CEO. George's vision and values are as alive today at Amgen as they were when he led the Company," said Kevin Sharer, Chairman and CEO of Amgen. "Bob Bradway, our next CEO, and I both share George's commitment to patients and conviction that being science-based is the best foundation for innovation in biotechnology."
Through the years, Amgen has continued to recognize the significant impact Rathmann made on the Company. In 2004, a full-size sculpture of Rathmann was dedicated on Amgen's campus in recognition of his leadership. In 2005, Amgen created the annual George B. Rathmann Award, the company's highest honor, to recognize staff members who exemplify Amgen's standards of excellence to advance Amgen's mission to serve patients.
Rathmann was recognized as BIO's CEO of the year in 1987 and 1988. Upon leaving Amgen, Rathmann became CEO and chairman of Seattle-based biotech ICOS Corporation (later acquired by Eli Lilly). He later served as CEO and chairman of genomics company Hyseq, Inc.
About Amgen Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe, effective medicines from lab to manufacturing plant to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease and other serious illnesses. With a deep and broad pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about our pioneering science and vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com. Follow us on www.twitter.com/amgen.