Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2001 (Revised March 2002)

Perlegen Sciences

by Linda A. Hill and Nicole Tempest

Abstract

As a biotech start-up company involved in studying human genomes, Perlegen needed to develop an organization that fostered innovation and teamwork among a group of highly trained professionals from both the science and technology fields. Perlegen's CEO, Brad Margus, had joined Perlegen from the shrimp processing business after learning that two of his three sons had been diagnosed with a rare genetic disease. A Harvard MBA and self-trained geneticist, Margus looked forward to the opportunity to dedicate himself to Perlegen's scientific mission. During his first nine months on the job, Margus had hired a number of junior-level and mid-level employees; now it was time to fill out the senior management team. Margus's first senior management hire was Greg Brandeau, the former vice president of computer operations at Pixar Animation Studios, who signed on to be Perlegen's CEO. Brandeau faced a number of challenges as he integrated into the Perlegen organization, including the fact that he lacked a science background, his two direct reports had already been hired, and he would be the third leg of a tight-knit, two-person senior management team already in place.

Keywords: Innovation Leadership; Groups and Teams; Management Teams; Problems and Challenges; Business Startups; Genetics; Talent and Talent Management; Innovation Strategy; Biotechnology Industry;

Citation:

Hill, Linda A., and Nicole Tempest. "Perlegen Sciences." Harvard Business School Case 402-026, October 2001. (Revised March 2002.)