Profile: Patrick J. Balthrop '96
CEO's goal: improving human health with his company's
patented scientific testing technology
advice from Luminex Corp. CEO Patrick J. Balthrop '96
applies not only to his straightforward management approach,
but also to the precision and reliability his company's core
technology, xMAP, affords scientific researchers and physicians
an innovative technology provider for the life sciences market,
Balthrop is making a living by making a difference, something
he says he always set out to do, since his undergraduate studies
in biology at Princeton University and Spring Hill College.
human healthcare is very motivating," says the Kellogg
School Executive MBA graduate, who held prior senior roles
at Fisher Scientific and Abbott Laboratories.
technology enables the discovery of biological markers, for
example, and could have a significant effect on how microRNA
plays a role in the growth of cancer cells," says Balthrop
about xMAP, which combines flow cytometry, microspheres, lasers,
digital signal processing and traditional chemistry to analyze
lab samples for genetic markers and proteins.
joining Luminex in May 2004, Balthrop redirected the organization's
focus to research and development to support xMAP. The proprietary
multiplexing technology enables clinical and research labs
to obtain multiple results from one bioassay sample, simultaneously,
with the capability of running 1,000 samples per day and up
to 100 tests per sample.
is used across the healthcare continuum and it is positioned
for future widespread application, says Balthrop, who anticipates
its role in the emerging field of personalized medicine.
partnerships with market leaders in diagnostics, biomedical
research and pharmaceutical development, Luminex is interwoven
in a culture of innovation, Balthrop says.
For instance, last November one partner launched a
multiplex respiratory test for SARS and Avian Flu using the
xMAP technology platform.
technology is illuminating researchers' findings, and the
industry and marketplace are taking some notice: Luminex last
year was honored with the Frost & Sullivan Best Practices
Award for clinical diagnostics technology. Luminex also saw
its overall annual revenue grow 18 percent and the company
was named in the 2005 Deloitte Fast 500 – Fastest Growing
Technology Companies in North America.
his finance studies in the Kellogg EMBA program, Balthrop
says he enrolled while running R&D programs at Abbott.
His manager, who is today Abbott's chairman, recommended Kellogg
as a way to advance his career.
was a busy guy with three young children. The commitment was
not easy but it served me well," says Balthrop, adding
that healthcare innovations require significant time to develop,
design and deploy — one reason why Balthrop's management
approach empowers each individual to identify and solve problems.
"Disciplined Creativity," a framework that emphasizes
clear and continuous communication, Luminex employees are
encouraged to be innovative and accountable for their individual
results, he says.
one application of this approach, Luminex designed and developed
two products, each for a different market segment, but recognized
that the timing of the second product's introduction would
not meet market needs. So multiple departments collaborated
to combine both products' features into one that could be
launched in time to meet the needs of both segments.
the intricacies of protein expression profiling, molecular
and immunodiagnostics, and biodefense present scientific challenges
that Balthrop continues to study, he says his management style
is basic: He reinforces employees' individual contributions
while aligning all Luminex team members with a set of specific,
the basics of organizational behavior. At the end of the day,
what we're all doing is managing people to deliver greater
growth and success for all concerned."