"Dr. Zaffaroni's scientific contributions, particularly in the area of drug delivery, have enhanced health care for people throughout the world," stated BIO president Jim Greenwood. "His steadfast commitment to research and development has earned him more than two dozen patents and the deep-founded respect of his colleagues."
"Alex Zaffaroni helped to guide Syntex to success in the 1950's, and has gone on to give the world a half-century of life-saving innovations through his commitment to novel drug delivery and his inspired entrepreneurship," said Arnold Thackray, president of CHF. "He embodies the spirit that is making biotechnology a living, thriving reality."
Over a long and distinguished career, Zaffaroni has founded and cofounded many companies that have become world leaders in medical technology. A native of Montevideo, Uruguay, Zaffaroni joined Syntex Corporation in 1951. At the time, Syntex was a small chemical company in Mexico that was becoming prominent in steroid research. He subsequently played a key role in transforming Syntex into a major pharmaceutical company that pioneered the development of the birth control pill.
Zaffaroni developed controlled drug delivery technology, more commonly known as "the patch," and founded ALZA Corporation to bring this important technology to the world market. In addition to ALZA, Zaffaroni founded DNAX, Affymax, Affymetrix, Maxygen, SurroMed, and Alexza--all companies that developed and marketed unique medical and pharmaceutical products. In 1994, he cofounded Symyx, the combinatorial chemistry company dedicated to the discovery of such materials as superconductors, magnets, catalysts, and polymers.
Among his many honors, Zaffaroni was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Clinton in 1995 in recognition of his contributions to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. In 1998, he became the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the University of California at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum and was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
About the Biotechnology Heritage Award
The Biotechnology Heritage Award is presented yearly at a special ceremony during the BIO Annual International Convention to honor individuals who have contributed significantly to the growth of biotechnology through discovery, innovation, commercialization, and/or public understanding. In honoring these individuals, the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the Biotechnology Industry Organization seek to encourage emulation, inspire achievement, and promote public understanding of modern science, industry, and economics in this rapid-growth area.
The award complements the mission of both organizations by advancing their mutual goals of educating the public, nourishing a sense of pride and community within the industry, and developing the record of the remarkable contributions the molecular sciences make to our lives. Previous award winners include Paul Berg, Herbert W. Boyer, Francis S. Collins, Walter Gilbert, Leroy Hood, George B. Rathmann, William J. Rutter, Phillip A. Sharp, Robert A. Swanson, and J. Craig Venter.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations across the United States and in 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial, and environmental biotechnology products. For more information, please visit www.bio.org.
CHF gratefully acknowledges Invitrogen, sponsor of the 2006 Biotechnology Heritage Award. Invitrogen provides products and services that support academic and government research institutions and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide in their efforts to improve the human condition.
About the Chemical Heritage Foundation
The Chemical Heritage Foundation serves the community of the chemical and molecular sciences, and the wider public, by treasuring the past, educating the present, and inspiring the future. CHF carries out a program of outreach and interpretation in order to advance an understanding of the role of the chemical and molecular sciences, technologies, and industries in shaping society; maintains a world-class collection of materials that document the history and heritage of the chemical and molecular sciences, technologies, and industries; and encourages research in its collections.
CHF regularly hosts seminars in biotechnology through its Joseph Priestley Society as well as actively honoring, preserving, and encouraging this vital and exciting field. Throughout the brief and brilliant history of biotechnology, many leaders have been both entrepreneurs and researchers bringing the fruits of their labors rapidly to the global market while advancing our collective understanding. CHF is proud to preserve this important area of human endeavor.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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