David V. Goeddel (born 1951 in San Diego) is a pioneer of the biotechnology industry who, employed at the time by Genentech, successfully used genetic engineering to coax bacteria into creating synthetic human insulin, human growth hormone, and human tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for use in therapeutic medicine. By contrast, the pharmaceutical industries had been researching synthetically created versions of those proteins.
Recruited by Bob Swanson in 1978, he was the first non-university scientist to be hired at Genentech, and the company's third employee. Goeddel became legendary in the biotechnology and molecular biology fields by cloning virtually all of Genentech's early products and/or processes, including synthetic insulin, growth hormone, and tPA, often beating out bigger and more established laboratories in the process. Besides being perhaps the single most important contributor to Genentech's rise to one of the nation's premier biotech companies, his extraordinary drive and competitive work ethic embodied Genentech's early "Clone or Die" culture
Goeddel earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego, and his PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and is a recipient of the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry and the Scheele Award from the Swedish Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences.