Nature 21

Allen Cato, Ph.D., M.D.

September 3, 1939 ~ July 25, 2022 (age 82)


Allen Easly Cato, Ph.D. M.D., age 82, of Hillsborough, North Carolina passed away on July 25, 2022, after a short illness.

He graduated from High School in 1957. He received a scholarship to Duke University where he earned a degree in Chemistry in 1961, Ph.D in Biochemistry in1966, and MD in 1969. After graduating, he completed his residency at NC Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill. He started his pharmaceutical career at Mead Johnson as a Senior Physician and Principal Clinical Investigator in Evansville, Indiana. He was a director of two Cystic Fibrosis clinics, Chief of Pediatrics, and Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In 1975, he accepted a position at Burroughs Welcome in NC as the head of the clinical research group.

He established a fellowship program for PhD students and taught a course on Drug Development as a tenured faculty member at the UNC School of Pharmacy. In 1982, in addition to his work at Burroughs Welcome, he became the Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatric Pulmonary and Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Duke University. In 1988, he founded Cato Research, Ltd., a drug development organization headquartered out of Durham, NC with international offices and over 300 employees.

Despite all the accomplishments and responsibilities, the most important part of his life was his family, friends, and animals. He enjoyed 60 years of a marriage to his wife Adrian. Together they had 3 sons and 8 grandchildren. He cherished the time that he was able to spend with his sons, both within the workplace and at home. He was a unique, generous, and caring man who mentored and befriended many people. He is proceeded in death by this parents Allen and Ann Cato.

Surviving is his wife Adrian, 3 sons, 3 daughters-in-law, 8 grandchildren, a sister Barbara, and his best friend LittleBit the cat. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to any animal rescue group.

A graveside service will be held in the Cool Springs Cemetery in Forest City, North Carolina at a later date. 

The Padgett and King Mortuary & Crematory is in charge of arrangements and an online guest registry is available at

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