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Remembrance: The Titan who changed our lives

Remembrance: The Titan who changed our lives

For those of us who entered the biotech industry in the 1980s, George Rathmann already was a living legend. And those of us who knew him consider ourselves lucky.He passed away last month after a long illness.George was born in 1927 and received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Princeton University.He began his career as a scientist at 3M Co., where he participated in the development of Scotchgard, ultimately moving to the diagnostics division at Abbott Laboratories.In 1980, he was recruited by Bill Bowes, one of the founders of Amgen Inc., as the founding CEO. He served as CEO from 1980 to 1988 and as chairman until 1990.After leaving Amgen, George became chairman and CEO of Icos Corp., which developed Cialis and was ultimately acquired by Eli Lilly and Co. He later served as chairman of Hyseq Pharmaceuticals Inc., which ultimately became Arca biopharma Inc.Two of his sons gave the perfect descriptions of George at his memorial service. To Jim Rathmann, George was "that guy - option D - all of the above." And to his youngest son, Rick, he was George Bernard Shaw's "unreasonable man" - a man unbound by the constraints of what others believed was reasonable.Below are our favorite quotes from George from the pages of BioCentury and tributes from his friends.Alan Mendelson Partner, Latham & Watkins LLPHow do you pay tribute to someone who has totally changed your life?I met George Rathmann in the fall of 1980; I was 32 years old, a first-year partner, and I knew nothing about biotechnology. Venture capitalists Bill Bowes, Sam Wohlstadter and Pitch Johnson and Cooley senior partner Ed Huddleson thought there just might be room for one more biotech company in April 1980. Ed went looking for a

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