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Biotech Firms' Research Chiefs Balance Demands Of Science And Competition

Top scientists from eight companies discuss what it takes to maintain a creative and productive laboratory environment Back in 1983, scientists at Calgene Inc. in Davis, Calif., began to tinker with genetically engineered corn. Their goal at the time - to improve the vegetable's carbohydrate storage as well as its resistance to pests - seemed to make pretty good sense from both the scientific and the business points of view. Just five years later, however - after spending $5 million - Calgene

Susan L-J Dickinson


Top scientists from eight companies discuss what it takes to maintain a creative and productive laboratory environment
Back in 1983, scientists at Calgene Inc. in Davis, Calif., began to tinker with genetically engineered corn. Their goal at the time - to improve the vegetable's carbohydrate storage as well as its resistance to pests - seemed to make pretty good sense from both the scientific and the business points of view.

Just five years later, however - after spending $5 million - Calgene plant pathologist Robert Goodman made a tough call: He decided to abort the whole project.

"It wasn't an easy decision to make," says Goodman, who until this summer was Calgene's vice president for research and development. "It was a good commercial opportunity, but we were unable to bring the technology on line fast enough. There were other projects that were closer to market and more certain commercially."

Too...

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