William J. Rutter, Chairman & CEO


Bill Rutter is Chairman and founder of Synergenics, LLC, which owns/controls a portfolio of biotechnology companies at various stages of development. Synergenics provides financing and senior executive, legal, business development, scientific and operational resources to its portfolio companies. The companies benefit from a collaborative environment, shared access to laboratories and other physical resources, and cross-licensing of technologies. R&D is carried out by a combination of in-house, and external services. The programs are monitored by “Science Partners”, a group of individuals with distinguished careers in science, biotechnology, and Pharma, who participate directly in all phases of development. Synergenics provides a novel business model for commercialization of innovative technologies/products from the concept stage to commercial reality, which is usually achieved via licensing or partnerships.

Bill, with two colleagues, founded Chiron Corporation in 1981, a pioneering biotech firm that developed the first recombinant vaccine (for Hepatitis B), the first sequencing of the HIV genome in 1984, and the discovery, cloning, and sequencing of the Hepatitis C virus (1987). Chiron also developed quantitative diagnostic tests for determination of “viral load,” a new concept that opened the way for development of therapeutic drugs and vaccines against these viruses. In 1995, the Swiss Pharma company Ciba-Geigy acquired 49% of Chiron in a transformative transaction. Subsequently, Sandoz merged with Ciba-Geigy to form Novartis. Rutter joined the Novartis Board of Directors, and remained with Chiron until 1998. Novartis purchased the remaining portion of Chiron in 2005.

Bill played a key role in developing UCSF into a major scientific institution. He joined UCSF as head of its new department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in 1968 , and helped build the science enterprise during the period of major developments in recombinant DNA technology, based on discoveries of colleague Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen of Stanford. After the formation of Chiron, Bill became director of UCSF’s Hormone Research Institute, a post retained until 1989, when he joined Chiron full time. Bill has published more than 380 scientific articles and holds over 25 patents. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received numerous awards for his contributions to science and the biotechnology industry.


Mark Parnell

Text for Mark