Westmont Magazine On the E-Commerce Edge
After Scott Clarke ’76 landed a job as a technical analyst right out of college, he decided he liked people better than machines.
He had transferred to Stanford after two years at Westmont to earn a B.S. in mathematical sciences and study computer programming. Once he realized he didn’t want to be a technician, he got an M.B.A. at UC Los Angeles and moved into management.
Qualities he appreciated at Westmont, such as smallness and close contact with professors, became even more important to him.
After consulting for American Management Systems for several years, Scott joined the staff at Syntex Corp. in information services and quickly discovered he liked the life sciences. Except for a short time as vice president of management information services at 3Com, he has built a career working for pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
“I like the life sciences because the industry is improving the quality of people’s lives,” he explains. “I get to work with information technology and spend time with people, while doing something worthwhile.”
During four years as chief information officer at Incyte Pharmaceuticals (now Incyte Genomics), he oversaw the creation of a massive database and its integration into leading pharmaceutical companies. Incyte has received publicity for its work mapping the human genome, and Scott helped develop the information technology infrastructure for the project.
When he started at Incyte, Scott was the first professional IT person on a staff of 150. The second-fastest growing company in Silicon Valley, Incyte exploded to 1,000 people. That’s when Scott decided to start over with a smaller company.
Today he is the chief executive officer for BioSpace.com, a Web site that provides products and support for the life sciences industry. Like most Internet-based businesses started with venture capital, it is not yet making a profit, but Scott expects it to move into the black by the end of 2001.
“We have created a global hubsite for life sciences businesses in which a wide variety of information and services are available,” Scott explains. “For example, pharmaceutical and biotech companies can purchase supplies through our site.”
BioSpace doesn’t buy and sell anything, it simply provides a place in cyberspace for buyers and sellers to meet. Like credit card companies, it charges a transaction fee.
Companies can pay to post jobs on the site, which also provides some income. Investors interested in buying life sciences companies’ stock can log on and read about both publicly and privately held companies in the industry and keep up with trends.
Although he has a natural interest in the information technology side of the business, Scott has to take a much broader view these days. He is running the company and doing a little of everything, including dealing with investors. He likes being involved in the infancy of e-commerce and relishes the challenge of being cutting edge in an innovative industry.
For example, Scott helped negotiate a research and development agreement with the National Institutes of Health to meet its e-commerce needs. In return, BioSpace can use what is developed for commercial purposes.
“It’s been wild working for a start-up Internet company,” Scott notes. “No two days are ever the same, and both good and bad things happen. Raising money after the high-tech market crashed has been interesting.”
Despite his busy work schedule, Scott has made time to coach his children’s sports teams and be involved in Young Life. He also teaches one day a week in a local public high school through a program that brings students and business people together.
His wife, Susan, works on staff at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and homeschooled their three children. The family lives in Mountain View, Calif., in his childhood home.