Biotechnology Heritage Award

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) selected Robert Langer as the winner of the 2014 Biotechnology Heritage Award. The award was presented during BIO’s annual international convention, held in San Diego, June 23–26, 2014.

Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has written over 1,240 articles and is the most cited engineer in history. He holds 1,026 patents (512 issued) worldwide, which have been licensed or sublicensed to over 250 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, and medical-device companies. He served as a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Science Board from 1995 to 2002 and as its chairman from 1999 to 2002. 

Langer has been honored with over 220 major awards. He is one of seven individuals to have received both the U.S. National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. He has also received the Charles Stark Draper Prize, the Millennium Prize, the Priestley Medal, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. He is the only engineer to have been given the Gairdner Foundation International Award. In 1998 he received the Lemelson-MIT Prize for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” Langer has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Inventors.

Forbes (1999) and BioWorld (1990) named Langer one of the 25 most important individuals in biotechnology in the world. Time and CNN (2001) named him one of the 100 most important people in America and one of the 18 top people in science or medicine in America. Langer has received 22 honorary doctorates from institutions including Harvard University, the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Yale University, and the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. He received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1970 and an ScD from MIT in 1974, both in chemical engineering.

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 cosponsorship of 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.

About the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial, and environmental biotechnology products.

About the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF)

CHF fosters dialogue on science and technology in society. Our staff and fellows study the past in order to understand the present and inform the future. We focus on matter and materials and their effects on our modern world in territory ranging from the physical sciences and industries, through the chemical sciences and engineering, to the life sciences and technologies. We collect, preserve, and exhibit historical artifacts; engage communities of scientists and engineers; and tell the stories of the people behind breakthroughs and innovations.


The 2014 Biotechnology Heritage Award dinner is made possible with generous support from Alkermes and Johnson & Johnson

Past Winners

Learn more about the members of the Biotechnology Hall of Fame.

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