Hubert J.P. Schoemaker, Centocor Founder

January 5, 2006
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

Hubert J.P. Schoemaker Dead at 55

Hubert J.P. Schoemaker, founder of Centocor (Horsham, PA, www.centocor.com) and Neuronyx (Malvern, PA, www.neuronyx.com), died on New Year’s Day at his home in Paoli, Pennsylvania. He was 55 and had been diagnosed with medulloblastoma, the brain cancer that finally caused his death, in 1994.

As his obituary in the Jan. 4 Philadelphia Inquirer (http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/obituaries/13543201.htm)   noted, “As chairman of Centocor and cofounder of what later became the Eastern Technology Council, Dr. Schoemaker mentored many executives at area biotech firms, and helped elevate biotechnology into a growth industry in Southeastern Pennsylvania. He downplayed his role in shaping the industry, and instead credited Centocor's employees, legislation that commercialized science, Wall Street investors, and America's entrepreneurial spirit.”

From biotechnology’s earliest days, Schoemaker was, nonetheless, very visible as a spokesman for both Centocor and the industry. He helped found Centocor in 1979, piloted the company through the collapse of its sepsis therapy (rejected by FDA for flaws in the statistical handling of its clinical trials) in 1992, served as chairman while the company recovered and became profitable, and left only when Johnson & Johnson bought Centocor in 1999.

At that point, Schoemaker founded Neuronyx to use “adult bone marrow-derived stem cells to repair, regenerate and remodel tissue in acute and chronic disease settings.”

In 2005, Schoemaker received Pennsylvania Bio's lifetime achievement award, which has now been named after him.

Schoemaker was born in the Netherlands and moved to the United States in his late teens, earning his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame and his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is survived by his wife, Anne Faulkner Schoemaker, his parents, Paul and Betty Schoemaker; three daughters Maureen, Katherine, and Anne; a son, Matthew; a stepson, Jonathan Saruk; a brother; three sisters; and his former wife, Ann McKenzie.

A memorial service will be at 6 p.m. on January 6 in the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, 260 S. Broad St., Philadelphia.

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