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Diagnostics Czar

Roche chief looks to genomics for growth.

Heino von Prondzynski is not averse to dramatic change. As an undergraduate at Westfälische Wilhelms Universität in Münster, Germany, he wanted to be a physician. “But I was too lazy at school,” says the global head of the largest company of its kind in the world, Roche Diagnostics, in Basel, Switzerland. “Then I speeded up.” At 28, after just two years as a salesman at Bayer, he attracted the attention of that company’s chairman, who asked him what he expected to be doing at 50. “I told him I wanted to be on the board of a big pharmaceutical company,” he says. As it turned out, he missed his goal by only three months. At Roche, he brings a similar determination to changing the company’s focus.

Heino von Prondzynski; Copyright © 2004 Acumen Sciences, LLC, All Rights Reserved.Mr. von Prondzynski spent 20 years at Bayer, running operations in several countries, then moved to Chiron for 5 years. His mission since joining Roche’s executive committee in 2000 has been to maneuver the company’s considerable heft; as the first big pharmaceutical company with a major focus on molecular diagnostics, it currently boasts a 20% market share and $22 billion in sales. The molecular diagnostics market—which includes tests for SARS, AIDS, and other viruses, and potential tests for biowarfare pathogens—is projected to reach $2.4 billion by 2009, with billions more in related products, like gene chips.

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People

Tom Cech

Stanley Falkow

» Heino von Prondzynski

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