Francis Desouza

Courtesy of Illumina
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The Ethiopian-born deSouza lived in both Addis Ababa and Dubai before blazing his way to a spot at MIT at just 16. After stints at Microsoft and Symantec, he landed at Illumina in 2016. As the market leader in the DNA sequencing space, Illumina partners with at-home DNA test firms like 23andMe and pharma giants such as Amgen—an infiltration strategy that makes it a key link in the drug development, consumer health, and medical testing supply chains. DeSouza hasn’t been shy about striking deals either. This month, Illumina snapped up smaller rival Pacific Biosciences for about $1.2 billion. The results? Illumina’s shareholder return has been 60% over the past 12 months and more than 200% over the past five years.