MBS Alumnus Helps Bring First COVID-19 Tests to Market

MBS alumnus Nicholas Solimo ’91 is playing a pivotal role in the fight against COVID-19. As Vice President for Global Operations at Roche Molecular Systems and Site Head at the Roche manufacturing center in Branchburg, Solimo oversees the production of COVID-19 tests that are being distributed worldwide during the health crisis. Roche was the first company to get FDA approval for a coronavirus test three weeks ago and has since shipped more than 5.5 million tests globally.

“The ability to change people’s lives is what motivates me to come to work,” said Solimo, who heads a facility that is the largest molecular diagnostics manufacturing site in the world. “When it was evident that the COVID-19 outbreak was going to become a pandemic, there was no doubt in my mind that my site was going to lead the effort for high throughput testing and that we were going to be first to market. This has probably been the most rewarding experience in my professional life.”

Not surprisingly, Solimo said that his entire site has been working around the clock seven days a week. “For me and my leadership team, there is no time of day when we are not in meetings or on Google hangouts,” he said. “My paramount focus is to keep my staff and the entire site safe and healthy and to ensure that we are producing as many COVID-19 tests as possible. There is significant global demand and as the only high throughput test on the market, and being the largest producer of molecular tests, we will continue to scale up our production.”

Solimo began his career with Roche in 1996 as a scientist. He also worked at Becton Dickinson and a small startup company in 2013 before returning to Roche in 2014.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Salve Regina University after graduating from Morristown-Beard School in 1991.

“My experience at MBS taught me that taking risks and pushing my boundaries will enable me to achieve extraordinary results and grow well beyond my preconceived limits,” said Solimo. “This has not only enabled my success, but has helped me to lead an organization positively impacting people's lives around the globe.”


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