In December of 2012 Alan was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
"Beneath This Gruff Exterior There Beats
A Heart Of Plastic" chronicles the life of Alan Walton, the man considered "The Godfather of Biotechnology."
Alan Walton, scientist, venture capitalist and adventurer, has lived the American dream while making significant contributions to life sciences in the United States.
Born in England, he immigrated to the United States with his Ph.D. in Chemistry at age 24.
Alan was a research associate and lecturer at Indiana University and a professor of Chemistry/Molecular Biology at Case Western Reserve University and Harvard Medical School, with short stints at Oxford University and the Weizmann Institute in Israel. [see Academics]
While he was a professor at Case Western Reserve University he was also a vice president of the Biophysical Society, where he met and later became a science advisor to Governor then President Carter. He worked primarily on university/industry technology transfer (translational medicine). [see Politics]
After leaving academics in 1981 he founded University Genetics, a technology enhancement company and one of the first biotechnology companies. When he left in 1987, the company (public symbol: UGEN), had over 100 employees and had returned 60 times the investment of the “angel” investors. [see Business]
While acting as President and CEO of UGEN, Alan co-wrote a series of books analyzing the then public and private biotechnology companies in the Biotechnology Yearbook (Elsevier) (1983, 1985, 1987) which led to his advising several venture capital firms in the biotechnology field and eventually to his transition as a partner with Oxford Partners. Because of the success of the biotechnology portfolio of Oxford Partners, it was renamed Oxford Bioscience Partners in 1993 (OBP). By 2007 OBP had more than $1 billion under management. [see Finance]
While serving as Founder and Chairman of Oxford Bioscience Corporation, he served on the boards of 20 companies. He is also the winner of several international awards and honors, including the Israel Medal of Science. He has authored over 120 scientific journals and 10 books.
Alan is best known for his work on the invention and commercialization of differential gene analysis, a diagnostic tool now widely used in identifying types of cancer and other diseases, as well as financing and promoting the initial sequencing of the human genome. He also financed the team that developed baby-formula additives that have inhibited or prevented mental retardation in premature and newborn babies worldwide.
Alan holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and a D.Sc. in biological chemistry from Nottingham University, and in 2004 he received an honorary L.L.D. (Doctor of laws) degree from Nottingham University for his lifetime achievement in life sciences. In 2007 he was elected Emeritus University Adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University, in December of 2012 he was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace (he was honored for his work in life sciences), and in 2013 he received the Richard J. Bolte Sr. Award from The Chemical Heritage Foundation.
During his later years with Oxford, Alan renewed his interest in extreme adventures, particularly involved with flying aerobatic prop and jet aircraft (which he had began in his teens with the British Royal Air Force Reserve), skydiving, etc. and was one of the founders of Virgin Galactic, planning to rocket into space in 2015. [see Adventures]
He lives in Westport, Connecticut with his wife. They have four children and four grandchildren.