Biotech pioneer and Berkeley alumnus Moshe Alafi, BA 51 (Biology), MA 58 (Physiology), received the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award at a gala dinner event March 20. The award recognizes entrepreneurial excellence at the highest level.
As one of the first venture capitalists to see the potential in biotechnology, Alafi became a founder of the now multitrillion-dollar field. He has been an active investor for more than 25 years and was a seed investor in such pioneering companies as Cetus, Biogen, Applied Biosystems, and Amgen. Over the course of his career, he has founded more than 60 companies.
Alafi currently serves as a director of molecular devices at BrainScope, which is developing a new generation of brain state assessment instruments based on patterns of brain electrical activity.
The award dinner honoring Alafi, held in the Great Hall of the Clark Kerr Campus, featured a toast by Berkeley-Haas Dean Rich Lyons, a welcome address by Lester Center Executive Director André Marquis, and a short video about Alafi produced by Radiant Films and supported by Alafi colleague John Steuart of Claremont Creek Ventures.
“His life is an incredible inspiration to entrepreneurs, as a successful investor and startup partner as well as one who has done a remarkable amount to improve our health and scientific knowledge by supporting biotechnology breakthroughs," says Lester Center Executive Director Andre Marquis, MBA 96.
After dinner, colleagues and friends continued to toast Alafi, followed by presentation of the award and finally a speech by Alafi himself. Alafi talked about his long career and his successes based on taking tremendous risks on the very best people.
The Lester Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award is its most prestigious award for entrepreneurship. Past winners include Vinod Khosla, John Doerr, Warren Hellman, Edward Penhoet, William Hambrecht, Gordon Moore, and Arthur Rock.