The Biotechnology Heritage Award honors extraordinary individuals whose work in biotechnology, whether it be through discovery, innovation, commercialization, or public understanding, is helping to heal, fuel, and feed the world.
First bestowed in 1999, the award is given yearly during the BIO Annual International Convention. The Science History Institute is proud to present this award alongside the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, which represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations.
2018 Awardee: William Rastetter
William Rastetter, chair of Grail, received the 2018 Biotechnology Heritage Award. The award was presented on June 4 at the BIO International Convention, hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).
Rastetter focuses on identifying and growing investments in biotechnology. He serves as chair and CEO of Grail in Menlo Park, California, and he serves as the chair for two San Diego companies: Neurocrine Biosciences and Fate Therapeutics. He also serves on the board of directors of Regulus and Daré.
Rastetter is the former executive chair of Biogen, the former chair of Illumina, and the former chair and CEO of Idec Pharmaceuticals. He joined Idec at its founding in 1986 and, while chair and CEO, guided it to a multibillion-dollar market valuation. While at Idec, Rastetter was a coinventor of Rituxan, the first monoclonal antibody approved by the FDA for cancer and one of the world’s most valuable cancer therapies. Before working at Idec he served in various capacities at Genentech. He also was a founder, interim CEO, and chair of Receptos, which was acquired by Celgene in 2015.
Rastetter serves as an adviser to both LEERINK Partners and Illumina Ventures.
In addition to his corporate experience Rastetter has held various faculty positions at MIT, has won the award for “Excellence in the Teaching of Chemistry” at Harvard University, and is an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He received an SB from MIT and an MA and a PhD from Harvard.
Previous Winners of the Biotechnology Heritage Award
- John C. Martin (2017)
- Stanley Cohen (2016)
- Moshe Alafi and William Bowes (2015)
- Robert Langer (2014)
- George Rosenkranz (2013)
- Nancy Chang (2012)
- Joshua Boger (2011)
- Art Levinson (2010)
- Robert Fraley (2009)
- Henri Termeer (2008)
- Ronald E. Cape (2007)
- Alejandro Zaffaroni (2006)
- Paul Berg (2005)
- Leroy Hood (2004)
- William Rutter (2003)
- Walter Gilbert and Phillip A. Sharp (2002)
- Francis Collins and J. Craig Venter (2001)
- Herbert Boyer and Robert Swanson (2000)
- George B. Rathmann (1999)
About the Sponsors
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) is the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative health-care, agricultural, industrial, and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.