Nordhoff Retiring from Gen-Probe Board

Xconomy San Diego — 

Henry “Hank” Nordhoff, who served as CEO for 15 years at San Diego-based Gen-Probe (NASDAQ: GPRO) is retiring as chairman at the San Diego maker of biomedical diagnostic products, according to a statement from the company today.

Nordhoff, 69, joined Gen-Probe as CEO in 1994, about two years after the company was spun out from Japan’s Chugai Pharmaceuticals and became a public company. Thomas Adams and Howard Birndorf, who had founded Hybritech, the fount of San Diego’s biotech industry, founded Gen-Probe with David Khone in 1983. Gen-Probe developed the first DNA-based diagnostic test to win FDA approval (in 1985). Chugai acquired the company for $110 million in 1989.

Under Nordhoff, Gen-Probe developed an assortment of molecular diagnostic tests for clinical use. Today the company’s diagnostic products and services are used to diagnose a variety of human diseases and to screen donated blood and organs designated for transplantation. Nordhoff retired as CEO in 2009—he was succeeded by Carl Hull—but has continued to serve as board chairman.

Under an agreement with the company, Nordhoff will serve as a consultant to Gen-Probe’s board for a year following his official departure at the end of December.