Legacy of our founder Linda Shoer:
After moving to California in the mid-1970s, Dr. Linda Shoer shared dreams and possibilities with her “advisors”… her sisters Dr. Ruth Rappaport, a vaccinologist at Wyeth Laboratories, and Dr. Patricia Goldman-Rakic, a neuroscientist at Yale University. List Biological Laboratories, Inc. was founded in 1978, when Dr. Shoer and her husband, Dr. Steven Johnson, funded it with a personal loan on their home. With an entrepreneurial spirit, she started and ran her company to benefit her scientific community, much as her father, Irving Shoer, had run his small businesses while she was growing up in Peabody, Massachusetts with her two sisters and mother, Jennie Shoer. Her strengths were her intellect, education & training, and infectious energy. After receiving her baccalaureate in chemistry from Simmons College (Boston, MA, 1963), Dr. Shoer earned her doctorate in biochemistry at Boston University (1972), and followed this with extensive post-doctoral training at three institutions: Brandeis University (Waltham, MA), Boston University School of Medicine and University of California (Santa Cruz, CA).
Dr. Shoer was committed to developing unique high-quality products that serve a scientific need. She produced virulence factors of pathogens that allowed scientists to harness the activities of toxins and other bacterial antigens for their research. Examples are:
- Cholera toxin, her first product, is sought after by those doing research in signal transduction and by others using the toxin’s B subunit to label and visualize neurons. Dr. Shoer’s List Labs was the first commercial supplier of this toxin.
- Pertussis toxin is used by researchers in developing and improving vaccines as well as in creating models of autoimmune diseases, such as experimental allergic encephalitis (EAE).
- LPS is supplied to be used as a standard in test kits that detect unwanted endotoxin contamination in drugs and reagents. Scientists also use LPS to study inflammation.
Dr. Shoer was the only employee for the first three years, after which she hired an employee or added a piece of equipment periodically, with the goal of gradually growing her business, providing steady employment for her staff, and valuable reliable research products. In 1989, she particularly enjoyed planning a facility renovation and purchasing and installing our first “real” fermenter, a beautiful stainless steel Chemap with steam-in-place sterilization and automatic pH control. The company was able to add square footage as needed by taking over adjacent suites in the industrial park. Catalog products grew steadily, and she began to perform custom development and manufacturing projects. In the 1990s, Dr. Shoer lead List Labs in process development, scale-up, and manufacture of a very popular injectable commercial product to smooth facial wrinkles.
In 1999, Dr. Shoer passed away at the young age of 57, leaving her legacy, her company, in the care of her two sisters (both now passed), her collaborator Dr. Hans Bigalke and three trusted employees, Dr. Karen Crawford, Dr. Linda Eaton, and Ms. Debra Booth; all are now retired and remain on the Board of Directors. The company Dr. Shoer built still flourishes and is now run by a strong team of employees, who value our commitment to quality and the tight employee community.
Dr. Shoer’s presence is still strongly felt, and the company has remained a majority woman-owned and operated business. In an era of takeovers and transition, List Labs is true to its founding focus. Today, the catalog offers over 100 products including toxins, peptides, antibodies, and lipopolysaccharides. Many of our employees have worked together for decades. In 2008, we built out new laboratories, complete with state-of-the-art equipment, enabling us to work with toxins using the appropriate containment and to capitalize on the growing demand for contract manufacturing of cGMP bacterial products, including Live Biotherapeutic Products (LBP), for clinical trials.