Call him the reluctant entrepreneur. When HealthCare Investment Corp. came knocking on William A. Haseltine's door, asking the Harvard scientist to head a bold new gene-sequencing venture, the virologist was intrigued but skeptical. Haseltine had advised HealthCare before, helping the Edison (N.J.) investment firm start several companies. But not until HealthCare's chairman, the late Wallace H. Steinberg, conceived of a company that would find and try to patent a majority of the human genes in 1993 did Haseltine jump. The lure of becoming Human Genome Sciences Inc.'s CEO was heading up a revolutionary venture with sound financial backing. Like most biotechs, HGS is burning money. But the market values HGS, which went public in 1993, at $500 million.

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