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Top PI Marc Wilkins (1/2): Crossing the border to industry

In the late 1990s, Marc Wilkins left academia to cofound a biotech start-up. Six years later he moved back into university research. In the first of two articles, Gerd Winter explores his successful transition into private enterprise.

Marc’s top tips

  • Scientific and entrepreneurial activity involves taking risks; decide what level suits you.
  • Start-up success depends on a team built on shared knowledge, mutual trust and a common goal.
  • Draw on commercial partnerships for business expertise.
  • The right timing and a good idea are important.
  • Understand both the market and your competitors, and look for government support.

Wilkins’ career has been intertwined with the rapidly evolving fields of ‘omics’ research. This includes genomics, proteomics, glycomics and transcriptomics, where rapid advances in technology allow researchers to take a more global approach in exploring the components that underpin life. They include and build on the genomics revolution, which took a major step with the sequencing of the human genome around two decades ago.

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