Biotech Genesis: Biology and Enterprise in the Early Neoliberal Age

The turn of many molecular biologists to commercial projects in the 1970s and 1980s, giving rise to the Biotech sector, remains as controversial today in retrospect as it was at the time: a corrupting and unproductive diversion of public resources to private enterprise, is for others a key example of science policy meeting economic and health needs. By interviewing then-junior scientists and studying evidence from patent litigation to access otherwise secret corporate records, this project reconstructs the cloning races behind Biotech’s first medical products – protein drugs and vaccines – in order to document the extraordinary private science of the day, to follow it through to its medical impact, and to discover the changes wrought on the biologists doing it.

(Funded by the Australian Research Council, project DP0984694)

Research Team:
Nick Rasmussen