Dr, Richard Palance was geneticist whose colleagues, Professor Charles Xavier
, consulted him regarding the mutant Rogue
's condition. Excited by her memory absorption power, Palance sampled her DNA then spliced it with a viral agent and infected himself, enabling him to absorb mutant powers. Palance established the Fordyce Clinic to lure other mutants to him, and amassed nearly 300 individual powers as a result. Eventually, Palance realized the ultimate potential of Rogue's ability as a way to attain immortality by living other peoples' lives, and created the Strain 88 virus to allow the absorption of the entirety of another's mind with a single touch. Wanting to test the virus to ensure its safety, Palance (who is was now calling himself Pandemic) sought Rogue as a test subject. The X-Men
investigated the Clinic and encountered Pandemic's Plague Dogs, humans he had mutated far beyond their original genetic template. They captured Rogue and took her to Pandemic's India base, pursued by Rogue's X-Men teammates. Pandemic easily defeated them with his array of stolen powers before infecting Rogue with Strain 88. Pandemic unwittingly absorbed the X-Man Sabretooth
's healing factor which nullified the virus within him, rendering him powerless. A vengeful Lady Mastermind
temporarily trapped Pandemic's mind within an illusory maze. Recovering, Pandemic was among the scientists contacted by the X-Man Beast in his quest to reserve the mutant gene suppression preventing new mutant births, but refused to help him.