Mohammed Homman is in no hurry to defend his dissertation. It’s not because the Karolinska Institute doctoral candidate needs more time to write or perform a few more experiments. Nor is it because he needs to be home most days by 5 p.m. to help his wife, Maria Homman, who heads her own research and development lab at Akzo Nobel, care for their two daughters. Homman is taking his time to finish his degree because he’s busy wooing investors, hiring researchers–some of them with their own doctorates–and establishing business partnerships. Finishing his degree just isn’t his highest priority right now.
There’s also the pesky matter of patents. Announcing his results publicly in the form of a dissertation might interfere with the two pending patents his company, Vironova, needs to grow. Homman started the bioinformatics company in 2005 to commercialize technology he developed that automates virus detection using digital images from electron microscopes. Homman, who is 33 years old, is CEO of the company, which has 11 employees and has raised more than $5 million in capital so far. The target in the current fundraising round is $50 million.
How does he get it all done? “I do not get much sleep,” he says cheerfully.