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Remembering George Rathmann

AMGen 1983 Logo

AMGen’s Logo in 1983 (Photo Source: wikipedia.com)

Thankfully, it’s not often that PWInsight publishes obituaries. But this week, George Rathmann, 84, the founder of Amgen, one of our early biotech client companies, died, and I cannot let his passing go without acknowledgment.
 
He led the push for groundbreaking drugs. He was a cheerleader for everyone who surrounded him.  He changed lives. And he never let his well-deserved medical celebrity go to his head.
 
“I’m George, not Dr. Rathmann,” he told me upon our first meeting in the late 1980s.   I vividly recall showing him a six-minute video we produced for investors about Amgen’s first-approved drug, Epogen, which treated severe anemia for kidney patients.  He wept.  And when we showed the film weeks later at an investor conference, he wept again.
 
George had soul. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, five children and 13 grandchildren.  Ironically, he developed kidney disease in his late 70s and took Epogen to help him survive.

 

Roger Pondel, pondel@pondel.com