Westport scientist honored by Queen Elizabeth
Updated 7:20 pm, Thursday, January 3, 2013
A bioscience business executive who lives in Westport has been awarded one of Great Britain's highest honors for science and commerce.
Walton, 76, is senior general partner of Oxford Bioscience Partners, a Boston-based venture partnership that invests in life science companies, according to a news release issued by the company.
He was among about 75 people admitted to the Order of the British Empire during the Dec. 4 ceremony, according to a report in The Guardian, a British newspaper.
A native of Birmingham, England, Walton came to the U.S. in 1960 and has held academic positions at several institutions, including Harvard Medical School, Indiana University and Case Western Reserve University.
In 1981 he founded University Genetics, which had been based in Westport and was one of the nation's first biotechnology companies, according to the release.
King George V established the OBE 1917 to honor chivalry. It has five levels. Walton was among 22 named Officers of the OBE, the fourth-highest level. The majority of those honored this year were admitted as Members, the lowest level.
Walton is best known for his work on the invention and commercialization of differential gene analysis, a diagnostic tool now widely used in identifying types of cancer and other diseases. He also is known for financing and promoting the initial sequencing of the human genome.
Walton financed a team that developed baby formula additives which have inhibited or prevented mental retardation in premature and newborn babies worldwide.
Although mainly living in the U.S., he has personally invested, along with his firm, millions of dollars in international science which has promoted biotechnology in the UK and elsewhere in the world.