Co-Founder, MGI Pharma
Born in Chisholm, MN. on Dec. 23, 1942.
Graduated with a BA in Biology from University of Minnesota, Duluth. Attended the University of Colorado, Boulder for one year, then transferred to the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver where I obtained a Ph.D. working with Dr. Raymond Erikson in the area of molecular virology. I did my Postdoctoral work at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco working on oncogenic retroviruses with Dr. Michael Bishop. My first faculty position was at the University of Michigan Medical School in the Department of Microbiology. After two years I was recruited by the Department of Microbiology at the University of Minnesota Medical School where I continued my work with cancer-causing viruses including retroviruses and papillomaviruses. We were the first research group to demonstrate the existence of Human Papillomavirus DNA in certain types of human cancer thus suggesting the possible cause of this group of viruses in human cancers.
This later work was done in collaboration with Dr. Franklin Pass from the Department of Dermatology, hence the beginning of a friendship and relationship that ultimately resulted in the two of us founding Molecular Genetics, Inc.(later changed to MGI, Pharma) in 1979. MGI was initially dedicated to the development of veterinary pharmaceuticals and corn varieties and then moved into the area of human pharmaceuticals as MGI Pharma. Over the years I have also been involved in helping a variety of biotech start-ups develop their business plans and raise capital. I have published over 200 papers in the scientific and biotech areas and have trained 25 Ph.Ds and dozens of Postdoctoral Associates. I was Director of the Institute of Human Genetics for 15 years and Chairman of the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development.