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InforMax's New Recruit Has a Military Mentality


Steve Lincoln left sunny California and his post as vice president of bioinformatics research at Incyte Genomics last month to become a senior vice president at InforMax. Lincoln says he was eager to return to the East Coast, but before having to brave a Rockville winter, he tagged along on a two-day wine-tasting outing with Incyte’s bioinformatics division in late November.

That was probably the last chance to rest for 36-year-old Lincoln, who at press time was still house hunting in the Washington area.

At his new gig, Lincoln will participate in strategy and product planning and will report to InforMax COO Jim Bernstein. “The first thing they’re going to want me to do is help them take a look at the current plans for the product lines, the key partnerships, and technologies they need to bring in,” says Lincoln.

He will also be involved in a mysterious new venture that InforMax has not yet publicized.

Lincoln says he decided to leave Incyte in part because he wanted to be at a company in an earlier stage of development. “Part of the draw of InforMax is the startup company attitude, which is really interesting and fun for me,” he says.

Borrowing an analogy from a Robert Cringley book that compares startups to the World War II invasion of Normandy, he says he sees himself as a Marine storming the beach — at the growth phase of a company — as opposed to one of Patton’s troops marching to Berlin — a metaphor for the stable, established company period.

One of Lincoln’s last projects at Incyte was to help develop its forthcoming Genomics Knowledge Platform, a data integration product. He is also known in the industry for having played a key role in building Incyte’s 3,600-processor Linux cluster.

Lincoln’s career started at MIT, where he was a founding member of the Whitehead Institute Genome Center. He did a brief stint as a visiting scientist at the Cold Spring Harbor Lab before crossing the fence into industry by joining Molecular Tool, a SNP genotyping company. After five years at Incyte, now it’s back to startup bootcamp.

—Matthew Dougherty