The founders of Stratagene Cloning Systems Inc., a biotechnology company that expects to book $4 million in revenues this year, its third in operation, won the first annual San Diego Entrepreneur of the Year award for new product innovation Thursday.
Founded in January, 1985, by brothers Joseph, 33, and Anthony Sorge, 30, Stratagene sells DNA sequencing and cloning agents to genetic engineers and is trying to develop animal models of the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
Since the company's founding, the number of employees has grown to 52. Revenues in 1986 were $2.2 million.
Stratagene was one of five San Diego-based companies and entrepreneurs honored at a lunch sponsored by Arthur Young & Co. and Venture magazine. A nine-member panel of judges that included several prominent business persons picked the winners from more than 100 nominees.
Arthur Young and Venture are sponsoring similar entrepreneurship awards in 11 other U.S. cities, an Arthur Young spokesman said.
A New Jersey native and Harvard Medical School graduate, Joseph Sorge started Stratagene after working for four years as a research molecular biologist at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation. Sorge, who is the company's chairman and chief executive, expects Stratagene sales to top $25 million by 1991.
In May, Stratagene received its first venture capital--a $1,650,000 investment from Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. of Boston--in exchange for 15% of Stratagene stock, Sorge said. Stratagene plans to sell its stock to the public at some point in the coming months, he said.
Stratagene will move its plant this summer from a 9,000-square-foot space in Sorrento Valley to a 25,000-square-foot building on Torrey Pines Road, Sorge said.
Other San Diego entrepreneurs honored at Thursday's ceremony included:
Lindsey Ware and Janathin, co-founders of Access Research Corp., manufacturer of systems that validate computer hardware and software used by the Department of Defense; Jerome Filiciotto, president of KT Aerofab Inc., manufacturer of aircraft exhaust systems and turbine engine components; Kenneth Willig, chairman of Celluland Inc., a cellular telephone supplier, and venture capitalist Myron Eichen, chairman of Brooktree Corp.