NanoGene Technologies, Inc.
It was Friday, November 9, 2002, and Will Tompkins was both excited and concerned. The 41year-old Biochemistry Ph.D. had quit his job at Eastern Institute of Technology’s Advanced Materials
Sciences Lab (AMSL) six months earlier to become CEO of NanoGene Technologies, a life sciences
start-up based on nanotechnology. Over the previous six months, he and his four co-founders from
AMSL had made tremendous progress in developing the underlying science that would enable the
company to attract venture capital funding. Within the past 24 hours, Tompkins had participated in
three meetings about issues that might have a dramatic impact on the future success of the business.
The first meeting had taken place the day before with Paige Miller, a 1995 Harvard Business School
(HBS) graduate who had been doing some consulting for NanoGene, and whom Tompkins was
trying to recruit to join the management team. The second had taken place that morning between
Tompkins and his four co-founders. He had just finished the third with Susan Stone, a venture
capitalist (VC) who Tompkins hoped would become a lead investor for NanoGene’s Series A
Tompkins’s co-founders included Don Rupert, the head of AMSL, as well as three fellow scientists
from the lab: Mark Masterson, Ravi Rhoota, and Gary Garfield. The five had met that morning to
discuss negotiating a compensation package that would entice Miller to join NanoGene as its VP of
Operations. Miller had considerable experience in the life sciences industry as VP of Operations at a
successful biotech company. (See Exhibit 1 for resume.) Tompkins and his team were eager to have
her on board. However, as Tompkins and Miller began to negotiate her compensation package, they
soon realized that they were very far...