Entrepreneurship at Cornell has named Robert Langer ’70, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2015. He will be honored in November 2015 during Cornell’s annual Entrepreneurship Summit in New York City.
Langer, who majored in chemical engineering at Cornell, holds nearly 1,100 patents issued or pending worldwide, which have been licensed or sublicensed to more than 300 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies. He is the most-cited engineer in history. Langer has also founded more than 25 companies, many of which have grown into successful ventures.
He served as a member of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Science Board from 1995 to 2002 and as its chairman from 1999-2002, advising the commissioner and other officials on complex scientific and technical issues important to FDA and its mission.
Langer is the winner of more than 220 major awards and is one of only five living individuals to have received the National Medal of Science (2006) and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011). He also received the 2002 Charles Stark Draper Prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers; the 2008 Millennium Prize, the world’s largest technology prize; the 2012 Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society; the 2013 Wolf Prize in chemistry; the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences; and the 2014 Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement.
In 1998, he received the Lemelson-MIT prize, the world’s largest prize for invention, for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” In 1989, Langer was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 1992 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and to the National Academy of Sciences.
The Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year award is given annually by Entrepreneurship at Cornell to a Cornellian who exemplifies entrepreneurial achievement, community service and high ethical standards.
Kathy Hovis is a writer for Entrepreneurship at Cornell.