Herbert Boyer

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Herbert (Herb) Boyer (born 1936) is a Co-recipient of the 1996 Lemelson-MIT Prize and a co-founder of Genentech.

Boyer received his bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1958. He married his wife Grace the following year. He received his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in 1963 and participated as an activist in the civil rights movement. He spent three years in post-graduate work at Yale University, then became an assistant profeessor at the University of California, San Francisco, where he discovered that bacteria could be combined with genes from higher organisms. In August 1978, he produced the first synthetic insulin, followed in 1979 by growth hormone.

Genentech's approach to the first synthesis of insulin won out over Wally Gilbert's Biogen's approach which used genes from natural sources rather than built up from the nucleotides.

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