RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Robert “Bob” Ingram, one of the most important leaders in the North Carolina life science industry and a former CEO of GlaxoWellcome (now GSK), has died.

Ingram was 80.

Robert Alexander Ingram died on March 24, according to his obituary. 

Ingram graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a BS degree in Business Administration.

Ingram co-led the merger of GlaxoSmithKline and played major roles in the area’s life science community for more than 30 years.

Ingram told WRAL TechWire in 2019n that he’s proud of the fact that Glaxo seeded many NC companies with talent and leadership. “It was such a big player for a long time, but it’s had a broader influence in creating many diverse companies that benefited from Glaxo training.”

Bob Ingram, a Triangle tech legend, reflects on region’s growth – and what’s needed now

An active investor and civic leader after retiring from GlaxoWellcome at age 60, most recently served as a General Partner at Hatteras Venture Partners in Durham. The firm is one of the largest in the southeast.

“Bob enthusiastically devoted most of his life championing the research-intensive pharmaceutical industry’s efforts towards the discovery and development of new medicines,” his obituary notes. “The goal of helping people feel better, do more and live longer, was his mantra.”

The family plans a private funeral.


Working in the life sciences is a source of pride for Ingram. “It’s rewarding to see people come up with creative ideas, see their ideas become a reality, and ultimately help a patient.”

In an exclusive interview with WRAL TechWire he was asked the secret to how NC established itself as a national and global biotech hub.

“Collaboration and partnerships among government, academics, private companies large and small, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the region’s medical schools,” is the answer, said Ingram.

“We talk about the Research Triangle,” he said, “but we’re also part of a larger Triangle, Boston, the California Bay area, and the Research Triangle.” He points out that the Research Triangle universities, medical schools and startups land a competitive number of NIH grants. “We stack up almost evenly and get as many NIH grants here as does the Bay area.”

Additionally, Ingram said, the Triangle is a world leader in diagnostics, with Labcorp headquartered in Burlington, and in contract research organizations, with Quintiles (now IQVIA) among others in the state, and is number one in developing and making vaccines.

Burroughs Wellcome, created by Nobel prize winners, led in the development of treatments for HIV AIDs, as did other Triangle-based companies, Ingram notes. “Now instead of dying from AIDs, you die with it. We’ve turned it into a chronic disease.”

In its biography of Ingram, Hatteras Ventures noted:

“Prior to joining Hatteras, Mr. Ingram was Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of GlaxoWellcome. Mr. Ingram co-led the merger and integration that formed GlaxoSmithKline.  Upon reaching mandatory retirement age of 60, Mr. Ingram served as the Vice Chairman, Pharmaceuticals at GSK before becoming Strategic Advisor to the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline Plc.  Mr. Ingram is currently Chairman of the Boards of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Black Diamond Therapeutics, Inc. He recently retired as Chairman of the Board of Novan, Inc., a late-stage pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology, and as Chairman of the Board of Cree. Mr. Ingram also recently resigned the board of directors of HBM Healthcare Investments, Ltd., a Switzerland-based venture capital company. In 2013, Bob received the NACD B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Corporate Directors.

“At the request of US President George H.W. Bush, Bob formed and chaired the CEO Roundtable on Cancer. In 2006, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Advisory Board. He accepted his third Presidential appointment most recently in 2019, when he was appointed by President Donald J. Trump’s administration to serve on the Presidential Cancer Panel.  In 2014, Bob received the North Carolina Award for public service, the highest civilian honor the state can bestow on an individual. Bob currently serves on the boards of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, the Research Triangle Institute, and is Chairman of the Board of the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.

“Bob is a member of numerous other civic and professional organizations, including the Boards for the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, CEO Roundtable on Cancer, and the Advisory Council of the Congressional Task Force on Biomedical Research and Innovation.”