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Rose Looks North to Lead NimbleGen

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Stan Rose disappeared, by and large, from the genomics scene a few years ago and has spent much of the time since living in the Virgin Islands, popping back stateside for the occasional conference or to advise a startup company. So it was something of a surprise when he showed up as the new president and CEO of Madison, Wis.-based NimbleGen.

“It’s such a nice match between the kinds of things I’m good at and the kinds of things that they need,” he says. He’s been familiar with, and impressed by, the company’s maskless array technology for some time; now, it needs to focus on commercializing that, he says. That’s where he comes in. Rose has been honing his skills at commercialization since the early days of PCR, when he left a small company called Collaborative Research — where he and colleagues David Botstein, David Baltimore, Eric Lander, and Helen Donis-Keller, among others, were trying in the late ’80s to map the human genome before it became a federally funded project — to head to California, where he was charged with growing the PCR business for PerkinElmer/Cetus.

Rose, now 47, helped negotiate the acquisition of Applied Biosystems and transplanted his PCR unit into that division, where he continued to run it until 1995. He eventually moved into technology brainstorming, digging up new ideas that the company might want to commercialize. By 1997, though, he went back East and started up Genetic MicroSystems, a microarray instrumentation company that had products on the market within a year and was acquired by Affymetrix the following year. Ever since, he’s been continuing the entrepreneurial mode by working with genomic startups such as OpGen and GenTel.

His career, Rose points out, has revolved around “offering groundbreaking technologies to scientists. I see the same opportunity here at NimbleGen.” A key component to his plan: using the company’s service model to make microarrays available to the untapped market — biologists involved in smaller-scale studies who haven’t been able to afford the investment for array research. From everything he’s heard from potential customers, “they’re very excited about the opportunity to access the technology.”

— Fingerprints by Meredith Salisbury

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