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Biotech Firm Learns Hard Lessons As Its Founder Seeks To Halt Slide

Applied Biosystems finds that as a start-up's glamour fades, it must stress a return to basics FOSTER CITY, CALIF. - The engineer who cofounded Applied Biosystems and made it into a superstar of the biotech instruments industry, only to step back and see it stumble, is back at the helm. And Andre Marion believes that what once worked for the company is also the surest route to its future success. "Success lies in the ability to take chances," says Marion, who returned to hands-on management o

Sally Lehrman


Applied Biosystems finds that as a start-up's glamour fades, it must stress a return to basics
FOSTER CITY, CALIF. - The engineer who cofounded Applied Biosystems and made it into a superstar of the biotech instruments industry, only to step back and see it stumble, is back at the helm. And Andre Marion believes that what once worked for the company is also the surest route to its future success.

"Success lies in the ability to take chances," says Marion, who returned to hands-on management of the Silicon Valley-based company in February. "When people really dive into their jobs, they achieve results, too."

Marion, a former executive at Hewlett-Packard, joined with colleague Sam Eletr in 1981 to create the company and preside over its rapid growth. But internal dissension, increased competition, a poorly planned acquisition, and other factors have haunted Applied Bio-systems' sales, morale, and stock price in recent years....

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