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Last Update: Saturday September 18, 2021

Key Idea: Do What You Know

Ken Buechler and his two partners, Gunars Valkirs and Kim Blickenstaff,  worked together before they launched Biosite.  They respected each others talents.

Key Question:


Do what you know with people you like and trust.  Seems simple, but all great ideas are simple. When Eli Lilly bought Hybritech Kim, Ken and Gunars were anxious to get out of the corporate straight jacket.

They had already been in health care for a decade and they had long-standing relationships with people who trusted them and whom they could trust.  When they were ready to start what is Biosite today, it only took one phone call to raise the start-up funds. On this program, you've learned that, if you have a good idea, the most important ingredient to success in business is people and the first investors knew these men and trusted in them to make good use of the first round of cash.

Q: What does the phrase "success breeds success" mean to you?

A: People who accomplish one goal are likely to accomplish the next goal they set. Kim, Ken and Guanrs demonostrated that they have what it takes to build a company because they have already done it for others.

Also, success builds confidence and this quality is absolutely essential for a business owner. If you don't have confidence that your idea will succeed, you will not attract employees or customers. Sometimes confidence appears as arrogance to others.

One founder told us that a business owner needs a strong ego, not a big ego. He said that a person with a big ego is arrogant and doesn't see the value of others, whereas a person with a strong ego has deep belief that he can accomplish the task at hand.

A strong ego is attractive to others while a big ego is off-putting.

Think about it

What skill, knowledge or contacts do you have that you are not now using to grow your business?

Clip from: Biosite is helping to save healthcare.

San Diego: Early insights by three people, Dr. Gunars Valkirs, Kim Blickenstaff and Dr. Ken Buechler, opened the way to develop devices that are now used virtually every second of a day to aid hundreds of thousands of emergency medical technicians, nurses, doctors and patients to diagnose medical conditions faster and more accurately. In this episode of the show, you will see their little device, Biosite Triage® for rapid diagnostic testing, in action.

When they had the idea, everyone told them, "You're crazy. No way! It'll never work." 

They began their business in 1988. Today, it is a global organization with annual revenues over $250 million. And it is all based on a product line that never ever existed before they created it. The firm's first product, The Triage Drugs of Abuse Panel, was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992.

They didn't stop there. They now test for congestive heart failure, heart attack, and a long check list of diseases with very strange names. Beyond their unstoppable energy and passion for continued research and exploration is the belief that their success to date does not begin to scratch the surface of the potential of diagnostics. Here you look into the heart of creativity.  

Editor's Note:  Since this episode was taped, Biosite was purchases by Innverness Medical Innovations.

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Biosite, Inc.

Kenneth Buechler, co-founder, President, Chief Scientific Officer

9975 Summers Ridge Road
888.BIOSITE (Customer Service)
San Diego, CA 92121

Visit our web site:

Office: 858.805.8378

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1988

Do What You Know

GUNARS: We found each other at Hybritech which was our previous employer, and we knew each other and had worked together very well.

KIM: It was the first company to use monoclonal antibodies... a new age of antibodies that were genetically engineered basically for doing diagnosis and treatment of things like cancer. And Gunars had come up with an idea for a very rapid, sensitive, simple pregnancy test. And they thought well if Kim wants to get into marketing, this is the simplest product that we offer he ought to be able to understand it and let's let him cut his teeth on it.

So when I got involved with it, it was a research lab, notebook sort of experiment stage of development. And so Gunars and I got thrown together on this project. I didn't know anything about marketing really I'm just learning at the time sort of on the fly. I had some sort of peers that were mentors to me on how you launch a product, give it an identity, and deal with ad agencies and define markets and so forth and Gunars and I bonded as sort of a team.

HATTIE: So you were saying that Gunars needed help and he recruited Ken.

KIM: Exactly. With the success that we had we expanded the number of product ideas that we thought were addressable. But we got sort of defined as those wild and crazy guys that sort of pushed this project through the system, got it done quicker, better. We made a real business out of it. It was very profitable and people were looking at us to be the next wave of growth for rapid testing.

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