Tony Shuker joined NuTec Sciences because he knows how to eat an elephant. “The way that scientists approach any given problem really sets the tone for how successful they’re going to be,” says the new president of NuTec’s life sciences division. “You have to reduce a problem into its individual steps. It’s like, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ Well, one bite at a time.”
This attitude has served Shuker well over the years. Born in Birmingham, UK, and trained as a drug discovery researcher, he says his time at Stanford under mentor Paul Wender and his job at Eli Lilly were extremely important in molding his understanding of science and business. At Lilly, he recalls, scientists were given everything they could want, but the idea was “we’re also going to hold you accountable if it doesn’t work,” Shuker says.
After working for a smaller biotech firm, 35-year-old Shuker, who only wears a tie under duress, was looking to move on. “I was looking for a new challenge that combined what I’d call high science with the opportunity to build something,” Shuker says. He inherits an ambitious plan at NuTec: “We would really like to be the go-to group for clients in life sciences who want to reduce their cycle time to discovery,” he comments.
In a step toward that, the company recently announced that IBM had installed for it the largest commercial supercomputer focused on life sciences. “It really enables some of our scientists to ask some questions that they couldn’t ask before,” Shuker says.
One of his job goals is to expand the company’s domain. “NuTec is known as a bioinformatics player. We’re starting to stretch ourselves into managing clinical and pharmaco- genomics information.” His pharma experience is one of the reasons Shuker was brought on board. His challenge is “to lead the life sciences division into the next phase of biotech and life science research.”
— Meredith Salisbury