Charles Weissmann

Photo of Dr. Charles Weissmann by Scripps Research InstitutePhoto of Dr. Charles Weissmann by Scripps Research InstituteCharles Weissmann was born on October 14, 1931 in Budapest, Hungary. He obtained his MD in 1956 and a Ph.D in Organic Chemistry in 1961 from Zurich University. Dr. Weissmann was director of the Institute for Molecular Biology in Zurich and President of the Roche Research Foundation from 1971-1977. In 1978, Charles Weissmann co-founded the biotech company Biogen in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Weissmann resigned from the Biogen Science Board in 1986 and the company merged with IDEC in 2003. He is currently Chairman of the Department of Infectology, Scripps Research Institute, Florida.

Dr. Weissmann is particularly known for the first cloning and expression of interferon and his contributions to the unraveling of the molecular genetics of neurogenerative prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Dr. Weissmann has won many awards, notably the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize in 2003 for his work with the purification, characterization, and cloning of human interferon-alpha.

Scope and Content

The Charles Weissmann Biogen Papers are composed of material accrued by Weissmann during his affiliation with Biogen, located in Geneva, Switzerland and Cambridge, MA. The collection includes Biogen corporate documents and correspondence, Biogen financial information both about the company and its primary shareholders, product research and development, and a set of photographs. In addition, many of the files contain experiment result photographs. The product development and research focuses on research and genetically engineered interferons (IFN) and interleukin 2 (IL-2). Biogen, one of the first biotechnology companies, was founded in 1978 in Geneva by several biologists, including Phillip Sharp of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Walter Gilbert of Harvard (who served as CEO during the start-up phase).

Availability of Material

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This collection was processed under the grant History and Development of Molecular Biology: New Sources through the Hidden Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives Collections (1890-1910), (NAS11-RB-50178-11). Funding provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. nhprc-2-m