Dorothee Kern?s path from basketball star to founder of billion-dollar biotech(s?); Five Prime Therapeutics hands the reins to Genentech vet

I assure you that I did not plan to do this. I wanted to write a little story about proteins and cancer, nuclear magnetic imaging and a scientist turned entrepeneur of billion-dollar biotechs. Maybe a touch on communist East Germany. A sprinkle on her (what I assumed had been) past life as a world-class athlete. I did not ? would not ? plan on writing a story about someone succeeding ?on-the-court and off-the-court,? a story held together by what I assumed would have to be forced parallels between basketball and science.

And then I spoke to Dorothee Kern, and the first thing she told me to explain her work was a basketball analogy, one about her own game. And when I followed up, asking about any connection between basketball and why she got into biotech, her second response is: ?I want to win and cure patients ? there?s this competitive spirit, but you want to win the championship, you have to get drugs on the market.?

The first response was about an a