Alan Scott, Doctor Behind the Medical Use of Botox, Dies at 89

It is 100 times more deadly than cyanide and the cause of food-borne illness called botulism. The Department of Defense wanted to develop it as a chemical weapon during World War II. Alan Scott, an eye doctor, turned Clostridium botulinum into a pharmaceutical in the 1970s, after he began to investigate it as a treatment for serious eye impairments.

He didn't know that the therapeutic drug he developed would become the basis of a billion-dollar industry famous for its use as a temporarywrinkle eraser.

Dr. Scott, who was known as the "Father of Botox", died in December. He died at the age of 89. His daughter said that the cause was related to sepsis.

Dr. Scott didn't know who was more nervous, himself or the patient, when he injected Clostridium botulinum into the eye muscles of a patient who had undergone a surgery to remove his left eye.

The procedure succeeded and Dr. Scott went on to refine one of the world's deadliest poisons into a life-changing treatment for people with strabismus.

Doctors began using it to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches, and as they did so many of their delighted patients noticed a curious result: The toxin's ability to paralyze targeted facial muscles smoothed the lines around them, though its effects wore off after a few months.

Dr. Scott was amused by the off-label trajectory of the drug. His focus was always therapeutic.

He told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2002 that he thought it was a cute use.

Dr. Scott and his colleagues spent decades researching and producing Oculinim. Because they had no patent, no pharmaceutical company would make it, so Dr. Scott took out a mortgage on his house and asked for small donations from doctors, who used it in clinical trials.

He and his team had already developed Teflon-coated needles that could be used to target muscles and then refine the toxin to treat strabismus and blepharospasm, a condition that causes the eyes to involuntarily shut. The FDA approved it for those uses in 1989.

Dr. Scott sold the rights to make Oculinum to Allergan for an undisclosed amount in 1991. The company changed the drug's name to Botox.

The public appetite for it as a facial enhancement exploded in the decades that followed. Movie directors began complaining that actors were losing their ability to smile and frown, which became a meme. It was seen as a practice best left to the stars of reality television.

As more and more women maintained that it was a necessary tool for job security in an ageist culture, the age of its adherents kept dropping. The use of aotulinumtoxinA is as common as a facial.

The image is.

A pharmaceutical developed by Dr. Scott has an ability to paralyze facial muscles and smooth the lines around them. A billion-dollar cosmetic industry was born.

Alan Brown Scott was born in Berkeley. His mother worked in a laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, while his father was a dentist.

Dr. Scott received his undergraduate degree in medical sciences from UC Berkeley in 1953 and his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco in 1968. He had a surgical internship at the University of Minnesota and a residency in neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota. He was a founding member of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco and the institute's senior scientist and co-director for over two decades.

He was married to Ruth White in 1956. She died in 2009. Dr. Scott is survived by his wife, four daughters, a son, four stepdaughters, and 20 grandchildren.

Dr. Scott was not the first scientist to look at the therapeutic potential of Clostridium botulinum. In the 1820s, a German poet and doctor named the pathogen sausage poison after observing the paralytic effects of food poisoning in his town after a single giant sausage sickened 13 people, six of whom died. After injecting it in animals, Dr. Kerner noticed the effect on the nervous system and thought of its use as a medical treatment. A microbiologist named it after the Latin word for sausage.

Dr. Scott developed the use of bipuvicaine, a local anesthetic, when he founded the Strabismus Research Foundation in Mill Valley, Calif. He was working on a procedure that would use a tiny implanted device to treat the eye muscles.

Sales ofotulinumtoxinA have continued to increase. In the first nine months of the year, it generated global revenues of more than $3 billion, with cosmetics accounting for less than half of that.

Dr. Scott did not regret selling the drug.

He told The San Francisco Chronicle that his house was paid for. I was happy to see wonderful medical results. I was satisfied. He said he was not good at giving away and spending money.