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Last Update: Saturday September 18, 2021

Key Idea: Hire Your Replacement

Ken Beuchler says their product makes testing easy but building it is very complex.

Key Question:


Yes and you should.  Kim was nervous about taking the company public and when it started to happen he was smart to hire his replacement.

Q: Who did Kim look for to take over his job which was running the company day-to-day?

He looked for a person who was already doing what Kim imagined the job would be like in Biosite's future. He hired a person who was running a $200 million dollar healthcare operation. Biosite was no where near that size but Kim leaned into the future and expected success and wanted a leader in place who could guide everyone through growing pains.

The week before Kim took to the road to raise money, Tom Watlington, from the multi-billion dollar German firm, Boehringer Ingelheim, joined Biosite. He was running its diabetes division which generated $150-$200 million in annual sales.

Think about it

What keeps you from passing the torch? Do you have someone you are training that can move into your place soon? Are you nervous that, if you pass the torch, you won't have anything to do? Do you think your life might feel empty if you didn't have to be in the office everyday?

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

Hire Your Replacement

HATTIE: Did your life change when you said we're going to do an IPO?

KIM: Definitely my job changed. I'm probably occupied with this investor relations thing, I'd say 30 to 40 percent of my time.

I immediately looked to find somebody that could be a chief operating officer caliber person who would manage, who could manage $150 to $200 million business in this arena. And he started here about December and we went on our road show I think it's like January 6th we started our road show in 1997.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Since the IPO, new products have rolled out and hundreds of jobs have been created. At the time of this taping, annual revenues were nearing $250 million with 1200 on the payroll. The number one seller today is the Triage Meter and devices for detecting congestive heart failure. (Biosite says it this way: The number one seller today is the Triage BNP Test, an aid in the diagnosis of congestive heart failure.)

KEN: The production process is actually very, very complicated. We're dealing with chemicals, biological materials that can in effect die if you don't treat them properly. So there's really a lot of skill that's involved in actually making the product. Yes it is very overwhelming and it took us actually several years to develop the manufacturing procedures, to be good enough that would allow us to give very irreproducible results in the field. Many thousands of steps actually go into making the reagents, and then also many steps to go into actually building the device itself.

HATTIE: OK, now that we know there's a process, a thousand steps, why can't everybody knock this off?

KEN: Well, we have intellectual property for one that prevents other people from doing it. So that's a very large impediment. But we also believe that just the trade secrets that we have here that allow us to do that, the expertise that has taken us years to learn is also an impediment to others.

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