Business Success and Academic Peers

Within some halls of academia there is an opinion that your research peers will fault you for using your research to also seek commercial success. Recently Alan Paau dispelled that myth with the story of 2008 Nobel Laureate and serial entrepreneur Roger Tsien.

Business and Academia All Wrapped Together

Dr. Tsien is currently Professor of Pharmacology and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of California, San Diego, and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

He is also the founder of Aurora Biosciences. Aurora Biosciences was formed in May of 1995 by Dr. Tsien and two of his UCSD colleagues. The goal of the company was to commercialize their research into a new way of screening molecules as potential drug candidates.

The company raised $13 MM in their first round of venture financing in March of 1996, and took the company public in 1997. The company was purchased in 2001 for $592 million by Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Tsien maintains a positive relationship with industry to this day, but his focus is back in the lab where he continues his research into how researchers can us multicolored fluorescent proteins to observe the behavior of cells.

Congratulations on winning the Nobel Prize, Dr. Tsien!