Fun And Profit In The Skin Trade From deep biology to Epidermis Inc., another tale in the merchandising of science

CAMBRIDGE, MASS--Jeff Morgan and Brad Guild moved into their new office on the opening day of baseball season this April. The space was small: a single room with built-in desks lining opposite walls and barely enough room to swivel their chairs. The pair stacked boxes and unpacked a few books. And Guild took up a blue magic marker and scrawled the business’s first official insignia on the whiteboard lining one wall: "Somatix Corporate Headquarters."

The two men are more than simply the company’s first full-time employees. Both hold doctorates in biology and are former researchers at the prestigious Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, an affiliate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Like a growing number of their colleagues, they have deserted academe for the promise of higher salaries, stock options,...

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