Search for scientist to run NCRC Core Lab down to two

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2008

By Emily Ford
KANNAPOLIS ó And then there were two.
The lengthy search for a world-renowned scientist to run the Core Laboratory at the N.C. Research Campus is finally coming to a close.
Two candidates remain in contention for the chief executive officer position with the Murdock Research Institute, which owns and operates the Core Lab, the calling card for the $1.5 billion biotech complex in downtown Kannapolis.
The institute’s board will meet next week to choose one candidate and begin negotiations. The search was delayed while key players determined membership of the board itself.
“It took longer than we all thought it would,” said Dr. Steve Leath, board president.
Both candidates live outside the United States but have spent considerable time in the country, Leath said. One is a U.S. citizen.
Both specialize in the “pharmaceutical and drug discovery area,” Leath said.
Leath expects the new director to move his or her research program to Kannapolis but spend several months getting the Core Lab up and running before doing individual research.
Each of the candidates spent a day and a half in Kannapolis and a half day at N.C. State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which all have a presence on the Research Campus.
The top pick likely will come back to town and bring family members before making a decision, Leath said.
The Core Lab is the key to attracting industry and university partners to the Research Campus. To open the crucial facility and its six research cores while still searching for a chief executive officer, the Murdock Research Institute named 13 interim directors from four North Carolina universities.
A new CEO may offer some of them a full-time position in Kannapolis.
Campus founder and billionaire David Murdock established the nonprofit Murdock Research Institute with a $150 million gift.