In 1976, biochemist Fred Rothstein, of Long Beach, Calif., decided that he had "too much of an entrepreneurial personality to deal with the structure of corporate or academic life." Rothstein, whose experience included 20 years teaching physiology at Tufts University Medical School and five years as an industrial scientist with Miles Laboratories and Abbott Laboratories, struck out on his own and became a consultant to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Since then, he says, he has earned "enough to put two children through Eastern colleges and one through medical school."

Gary Anderson, 41, whose career path also includes experience in both industry and academia, says he regarded consulting as "a natural sequence" when he founded his business, Tres-Ark Inc. in Edina, Minn., a year and a half ago. Anderson, whose six-person firm helps companies bring particle technology to the marketplace by providing sales, marketing, and technical support, says consulting fees of...

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