George Rathmann, the biotech pioneer who founded Amgen, has died at the age of 84.
Credited as one of the founding fathers of the biotech industry, Rathmann was working at Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) when he was recruited to run Amgen ($AMGN), which today ranks as the largest independent biotech company in the world. In the years after he took the helm of the company Rathmann helped steer the development of Epogen and Neupogen, two anemia therapies that have continued to deliver billions of dollars of revenue for the company. Only now does Amgen face rivals to its anemia franchise.
Jack Schuler, Rathmann's boss at Abbott, told The New York Times that he told Rathman was making the mistake of a lifetime when he left for Amgen. But Abbott went on to invest in the company, later turning its $5 million stake into a $250 million return. After leaving Amgen in 1990, Rathmann tried his hand at making Icos into a big success, but failed to repeat the magic he wielded at Amgen.
Today he's best known for his role at Amgen, which today has a market value of $54 billion.