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Roy Alan Durham

April 6, 2023

Roy Durham was born in New York, NY on April 27, 1944 the son of Felix Otto and Else Durham. He grew up in New York and graduated from Phillips Andover Academy. Tom Israel remembers that Roy was considered a jock at Andover. He was on the varsity squash team and was very competitive. Tom said “I never saw anyone who hit the squash ball harder.” He entered Yale in September 1962 and was a member of Saybrook College and a History major. At Yale he played freshman and varsity squash, was on the Saybrook College Council, and was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon.

After Yale Roy graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Doctor of Jurisprudence. He then joined the Wall Street firm Shearman & Sterling. During the early days of the Common Market he was asked by one of his clients to set up operations in Brussels which was followed by organizing a private practice there. That soon extended to branches in Paris and Frankfurt. He also owned a restaurant in Brussels and was responsible for creating its wine cellar, travelling extensively throughout Europe both for his law practice and to vineyards for the restaurant. Upon returning to the US, when biotechnology was in its infancy, Roy took a team to the MRC/LMB in Cambridge, England. Side-by-side with the many Nobel laureates and founders of the field there he worked with one of the inventors of the monoclonal antibody and founded Bingo Biotech. As Chairman and CEO he later merged that with Royal Ligand. One of the members of his team, Sir Gregory Winter, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2018. For the last 20 years of his life Roy traveled extensively in China helping to raise funds for both science and business. He also served on the American Board of Institut Pasteur.

Tom Israel noted that when he was ill 2-3 years ago Roy started texting him cheery notes. Roy was a very private person who did not include a biography in the 25th or 50th Reunion Book. Roy died April 6, 2023 after a grueling 14 month battle against Stage 4 gastric cancer. He is survived by his wife of almost 50 years.

— Benjamin Liptzin