Ranbaxy to Shed as Many as 400 Middle and Senior Management Jobs

Posted in BioBusiness

The UK’s Economic Times reported  today that the troubled Indian generic drug manufacturer Ranbaxy may shed as many as 400 jobs from its various divisions. Most of the persons receiving pink slips will be senior and middle management who are likely losing their jobs because of ongoing serious drug manufacturing problems that have plagued the company for over three years.  The drug maker employs about 14, 600 people in 43 countries.

While the job cuts do not represent a significant percentage of Ranbaxy’s workforce, Daiichi Sankyo which owns the company, is likely eliminating members of the management team that have been responsible for the company’s ongoing manufacturing problems. According to the Economic Times article

“On Thursday, some senior executives from the finance department at Ranbaxy were asked to leave. On Friday, some senior executives from the Research & Development wing were given marching orders,” an employee familiar with the job cuts told ET. Another executive said some officials from the API(active pharma ingredient) division have also been handed pink slips.

This past May, Ranbaxy paid the US Department of Justice $500 million to settle criminal and civil charges to resolve the manufacturing problems that prompted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the sale of dozens of drugs manufactured by the company.  More recently, FDA inspectors issued an unsatisfactory inspection report for one of the company’s manufacturing plants in India.

Ranbaxy is one of the world’s leading generic drug manufactures and the company’s ongoing manufacturing problems have certainly hurt Daiichi Sankyo’s image. Also, it has led some analyst to question whether or not Daiichi Sankyo ought to have purchased the troubled generic manufacturer for $4.6 billion in 2008.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

Sandoz Moves Its Biosimilar Development Strategy Forward

Posted in BioEducation

Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis, is currently the world leader in the biosimilar market. In fact, if it was not for Sandoz, the biosimilar industry may never have gotten started in the first place! As some of you may know, Sandoz sued FDA (and won) to gain approval of its biosimilar human growth hormone. While FDA contends that Omnitrope is not really a biosimilar (it was approved as a “drug” rather than a biologic) most analysts agree that it was the first biosimilar product ever approved and sold in the US. 

As part of its global biosimilar strategy, Sandoz today announced that it had initiated Phase III clinical trails for US approval of biosimilar version of recombinant human granulocyte-colony stimulating factor(G-CSF) or filgrastim (Amgen’s Neupogen®) and another for global launch of PEG-filgrastim (Amgen’s Neulasta®); a PEGylated form of G-CSF.

The filgrastim study is designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Sandoz’s biosimilar filgrastim versus Neupogen® in breast cancer patients eligible for myelosuppressive chemotherapy treatment. These trials expected to support extension of commercialization to the US, the largest global market for biologics. The pegfilgrastim study, which is being conducted in breast cancer patients undergoing myelosuppressive chemotherapy treatment, represents the next major step in the Sandoz global biosimilar development program. Previously, Sandoz announced that it had initiated late stage clinical trials for a biosimilar version of Roche’s monoclonal antibody cancer treatment Rituxan®). Finally, Sandoz has eight to ten different biosimilar molecules at various stages of development in its pipeline.

Sandoz currently markets and sells three biosimilars: filgrastim (Zario®), somatropin (Omnitrope®) and epoetin alfa (Binocrit®) in countries across Europe and elsewhere. As mentioned above Omnitrope is also sold in the US. However, because FDA has yet to craft a regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars (despite legislation mandating their approval) it is illegal to sell biosimilars (with the exception of Omnitrope) in the US.

Once vilified and staunchly opposed by most major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the biosimilar business has been picking up steam in the past few years. To that end, companies like Merck, Pfizer, Teva and more recently Amgen and Biogen (all of whom lobbied against an approval pathway for biosimilars in the US) announced plans to compete on the global biosimilar market.

The decision of these companies to enter the biosimilar market is largely a result of downward pricing pressures on pharmaceutical and biotechnology drugs and near-empty drug pipelines at most major life sciences companies. Nevertheless, it is still not clear whether or not a robust biosimilar market truly exists. To wit, biosimilars have been in the market in the EU for the past fiver years and have not gained much traction there. However, the real biosimilar markets probably exist in China, Brazil and other emerging countries where there are large populations and emerging middle classes but drug prices are under tight government regulation. Because of this, the uptake of biosimilars in these markets will likely be greater than in Europe and the US.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Tis The Season: Novartis to Cut 2,000 Jobs

Posted in BioJobBuzz

It seems that big pharma always waits for early Fall to announce pending job cuts. Novartis, Europe’s second largest pharmaceutical company, announced two days ago that it would eliminate 2,000 jobs mainly in the US and Switzerland but add new employees to operations in emerging markets like India and China. Novartis is just another addition to a growing list of big pharma companies that are slashing jobs in the US and Europe and hiring new employees in lower cost markets.

The announce cuts represent a 1 percent reduction in Novartis’ global workforce. The cuts will be implemented over the next three years and are predicted to save the company in excess of $200 million annually. 

According to a company spokesperson, Novartis will eliminate 1,100 jobs in Switzerland, with the balance in the U.S., Jimenez said. Some research will be moved to the U.S. from Switzerland, and reductions will be made in technical research and development, data management, clinical trial monitoring, drug safety and regulatory affairs. Novartis will add 700 positions in China and India in data management and trial monitoring.

As part of the reorganization and job cuts the company will close an over-the-counter drug manufacturing plant in Nyon, Switzerland and chemical production facilities in Basel and Torre, Italy.

The current cuts come after Novartis announced last November that it would eliminate 1400 U.S. sales jobs and more recently in March that it would reduce operations in the UK.

Although life science pundits recently suggested that job cuts in the pharmaceutical industry are slowing and may have hit rock bottom, it appears that the carnage is still taking place and will likely continue well into the future as more resources and monies are invested in emerging markets.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting

 

Sanofi Invests $300 Million in a Vaccine Manufacturing Facility in India

Posted in BioBusiness

I am not sure how I missed this announcement last week but Sanofi Aventis will invest $300 million in a vaccine (biologics) manufacturing facility in India. The investment is in addition to the $784 million that Sanofi paid two years ago to acquire the Indian biologics company Shanta Biotech.

Sanofi executives originally thought that the purchase of Shanta would give immediately give them biologics manufacturing capability in South Asia. This did not occur because of manufacturing problems with the existing Shanta facility.  Sanofi claims to have corrected the manufacturing issues and investment of an additional $300 million into the facility is to bolster both R&D and manufacturing capacity. The new manufacturing facility is consistent with Sanofi’s publicly announced strategy of earning as much as 40 percent of its profits in emerging markets by 2015.

Like China, emerging markets like India, Brazil and Russia will be squarely on big pharma’s radar for the foreseeable future.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting (in India!)

 

Are US Immigration Laws Really Hurting Life Science Innovation?

Posted in BioBusiness

A report in Bloomberg News today suggested that Eli Lilly & Co. Chief Executive Officer John Lechleiter, PhD told a technology conference today that unfavorable US permanent resident (green card) laws are to blame for declining US innovation in the life sciences. With this in mind, Lechleiter plans on calling for US immigration officials to issue more green cards and adopt a shorter and simpler process for highly skilled foreign nationals to gain permanent residence in the US. According to Dr. Lechleiter, one of only a handful of big pharma CEO who is also a PhD-trained scientist, current green card regulations are so-called job killers and force many talented foreign nationals to return to their native countries to work with firms that directly compete with American life sciences companies. Unlike most of his peers, Lechleiter has been very outspoken about the lack of US life sciences innovation.

While Lechleiter comments may have been appropriate five or more years ago, they are no longer germane to America’s waning innovation in the life sciences. There is little doubt that many bright and talented foreign nationals were denied permanent residency during the Bush era (2000 to 2008) because of stringent immigration policies and limits on the numbers of green cards allotted for persons from certain parts of the world; mainly China, India and the Middle East. This, in turn, forced many life scientists—many of whom desperately wanted permanent residency in the US—to return to their home countries to look for work and gainful employment.

As Lechleiter rightly asserts, these scientists found work with companies that began to directly compete with US life sciences. This phenomenon, coupled with the rapid assent of the middle class in many of these nations, made it possible to begin to conduct Western style research at a much lower costs in these countries. To that end, by 2007, most big pharma companies—many of whom had dwindling pipelines and monstrous overhead costs—realized that it would be more cost effective to outsource or move R&D to countries with emerging pharmaceutical and biotechnology markets and a well trained R&D workforce. And, for the past four years downsizing and outsourcing of R&D are exactly what have been taking place at many American big pharma and biotechnology companies.

In my opinion, the larger question that must be addressed, as far as US innovation in the life sciences is concerned is: why are so few Americans willing to pursue scientific careers? To wit, the main reason why so many foreign life scientists were educated and trained in the US over the past 20 years was because there weren’t enough American students to fill the incoming roster at most American graduate training programs. Put simply, America’s growing lack of innovation in the life sciences over the past decade can be directly attributed to far fewer Americans pursuing scientific careers and an increased reliance on foreign nationals—who were unable to stay in the US—to innovate! While changing US immigration laws may allow some foreign nationals to more easily remain in the US, there simply aren’t enough life sciences jobs left in the US to make it worth their while! In fact, the likelihood of them finding life sciences jobs in their home countries is now greater than it is in the US. In my opinion, the only way to restore American innovation in the life sciences is to convince American students that pursuing scientific careers is worthwhile and that the requisite training for industry jobs is available to them.

Interestingly, after leading with changes to US immigration laws, Lechleiter also suggested that America’s innovation problem could be solved by lowering US corporate tax rates and American companies should not be forced to pay taxes on oversea earnings. Also, he asserted that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should stop putting off decisions or erring on the side of avoiding risk when considering new drug applications. 

This begs the questions, how do lower taxes, no overseas taxes and expedited drug approvals help to spur American innovation when most life sciences R&D is conducted outside of the US?

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Innovating!!!!!!!!

 

Why Transforming FDA Makes Sense

Posted in BioBusiness

During the Bush Administration I, along with many others, was a harsh critic of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The criticisms that I levied against the agency were mainly based on its inability to adequately maintain the safety of the American drug and food supply and Bush’s repeated attempts to politicize the organization and render it useless. That said, it is amazing how much has and will change at the agency during the Obama Administration. To wit, Margaret Hamburg, the current FDA Commissioner yesterday announced plans that would dramatically transform the agency and largely change the way it does business.

In an unusually rare special report entitled “Pathway to Global Product Safety and Quality” Hamburg points out the monitoring problems currently facing the agency and proposes a four-point plan on how to fix them. To understand the importance of this document it is necessary to point out some little know facts about the American food and drug supply.

First, almost two-thirds of all fruits and vegetables and nearly 75 percent of all seafood consumed by Americans is imported. This year the number of these types of food shipments is expected to grow to 24 million through 300 or more ports. A little as a decade ago, the agency was responsible for overseeing and policing six million shipments annually. Second, it is estimated that over 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) found in approved drugs are made in manufacturing plants found mainly in China, India and Latin America. Because of funding and “manpower” shortages, most of these API manufacturing facilities are rarely inspected for regulatory compliance. According to the report, many kinds of antibiotics, oncology drug and other medications are no longer produced in the US or in many cases anywhere in the Western world. Finally, roughly 50 percent of all approved medical devices sold in the US are made in foreign production facilities.

In 2008, government officials determined that the agency would need approximately 13 years to inspect all foreign drug manufacturing plants, 27 years to check every foreign medical device production facility and a whopping 1,900 years to check every foreign food production plant! This is because FDA has only several hundred inspectors who are empowered to perform these inspections. Consequently, only a fraction of the food and APIs imported to the US are inspected. For example, less than one pound in a million of imported seafood gets as much as a “visual inspection” to determine whether or not it is fit for American consumption. This led the report’s authors to contend that “the safety of America’s food and medical products remain under serious threat.”

Yet, despite this ongoing threat, Republican lawmakers last week voted to cut the agency’s budget rather than increase it to perform the necessary number of food and drug inspections. Further, the same lawmakers oppose any corporate or consumer fees, whether voluntary or forced, to help to underwrite the inspections calling them an unacceptable tax. This has forced the agency to enlist the help of regulators in other nations to create a global coalition or network to perform the required inspections to insure the regulatory compliance and safety of foods, drugs and devices imported into the US. While the FDA has limited cooperation agreements with regulators in Europe and other Western countries, it just recently stationed its own inspectors in emerging markets like China, India and Central America. In theory this should work. However, in the past, some of the governments of these countries have refused to fully cooperation with FDA. Further, and perhaps more problematic, is that regulatory agencies in some other countries are largely corrupt or nonexistent. Finally, some outspoken former FDA employees and critics contend that improvements in the communication between FDA in Washington and its field offices in US states may be necessary before the agency can effectively enlist the cooperation of foreign regulators.

There is no doubt that contaminated foods, counterfeit medical devices and tainted drugs are increasingly finding their way into the US. It is FDA’s legislated responsibility to insure that all foods and drugs sold in the US are safe and effective for all Americans. Republican lawmaker’s refusal to increase FDA’s budget to allow the agency to fulfill its mandate is unconscionable and indefensible. The safety and health of all Americans is critically important for the well being of the nation and ought to take precedent over budget shortfalls and a looming US trade deficit.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

 

In Case You Haven't Been Paying Attention: The Indian and Chinese Life Sciences Markets Are Poised For Expansive Growth

Posted in BioBusiness

Over the past week or so there have been daily snippets on various media platforms about business deals and opportunities in the Indian and Chinese life sciences market. While it is not news that many life sciences companies are expanding operations into these markets, the growing frequency of news items about the “goings on” in both markets are noteworthy.

The first bit of news that started the Indian and Chinese life sciences news avalanche, was a note on May 29 that appeared on The Economic Times’ website that reported that New Delhi-based JB Chemical and Pharmaceuticals planned to double the size of its medical sales reps to 1,500 over the next two years to increase its penetration into rural Indian markets. The company had previously divested it over-the-counter consumer business in Russia and other Commonwealth Independent States (CIS; composed of countries from the former Soviet Union) to start up new divisions in gynecology and dental products.

The same day, another New Delhi-based drugmaker called Lupin that specializes in generic drugs, announced that it plans to launch 50 new products by FY12; twelve of which will be generic drugs launched in the US. Both bits of information suggest that new previously untapped commercial opportunities are rapidly beginning to emerge in India and that Indian drug makers are looking to compete in the US and Western European markets that were previously dominated by American, Western European and Japanese companies.

In other India-related pharmaceutical news, an article appeared on June 2 at the Online Pharma Times website that reported that Shlomo Yanai, CEO of the Israeli generic pharmaceutical giant Teva, had flown to India to discuss potential collaborations with pharmaceutical companies there. While most analysts do not think that an acquisition is likely—Teva agreed to buy US-based Cephalon in May for $6.8 billion and also paid $460 million to acquire a controlling stake in Japanese generics group Taiyo Pharmaceuticals—it signals a growing interest by foreign companies to do deals in India to establish a presence it that market.

Like the Indian market, the Chinese market is beginning to heat up. An article at Bloomberg.com published on June 1 reported that Novo Nordisk will boosts its investment in China to preserve its dominance in the diabetes market after rival Sanofi announced a new foray into the Chinese market.

According to a report issued last fall by the International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group, the Chinese diabetes market is expected to grow from $642 million in 2009 to more that $2.8 billion in 2015. The reason for the increase is attributed to the trend of more people moving from rural areas to cities and changes in eating habits and lifestyles that are contributing to a growing Chinese obesity problem. At present the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta estimates that roughly 8.3 percent of the U.S. population and 6.6 percent of the global population has diabetes

Novo first entered the Chinese market about 15 years ago and in 2002 created a diabetes research center and in 2007, in association with the Chinese Academy of Sciences established a foundation to fight diabetes. This year, the company plans on expanding its insulin packaging plant in China becoming the world’s largest insulin packaging facility.

Likewise, in 2005 Sanofi created a diabetes clinic. Three years later is expanded the clinics operations, established a clinical trial center and entered into a partnership with the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences to develop treatments for diabetes, cancer and neurological diseases.

On Jun 3, Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker (for now) announced that it plans to partner in a joint venture with China’s Zhejian Hisun Pharmaceutical Company to produce generic drugs for the emerging Chinese market. According to the post on Bloomberg.com

“Pfizer is looking for new sources of revenue before it loses U.S. patent protection in November for Lipitor, the cholesterol medication that was the world’s best-selling drug last year with $10.7 billion in sales. Off-patent medicines, including branded generics, are one of the fastest growing segments in the global pharmaceutical market, Pfizer and Hisun said in a joint press release.”

At present, Pfizer is the top drug company in China (by sales) followed by AstraZeneca and Sanofi according to information supplied by the prescription drug intelligence firm IMS. The size of the Chinese drug market is project to grow by 25 percent this year and rough 60% of the existing market is dominated by generic drugs.

Finally, Chinese pharmaceutical companies are also beginning to invest in the US market. Late last week, the Tianjin Tasly Pharmaceutical Group signed an agreement with the State of Maryland to invest $40 million to build a tradition Chinese medicine (TCM) facility to provide TCM training and information. According to a press release:

“Tasly Pharmaceutical is currently preparing materials for approval by America’s Food and Drug Administration and plans to sell compound danshen drip pills in US and European markets. The medicine’s primary ingredient is obtained from the salvia miltiorrhiza species and is used to treat cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Danshen is also known colloquially as red sage or Chinese sage.”

I think it is time to pay more attentions to the ebb and flow of the Indian and Chinese markets!

Until next time,

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting (try India and China)!!!!!!

 

Is There a Glut of Life Sciences PhDs? A Commentary

Posted in BioEducation

Last week’s special issue of Nature Magazine “The Future of PhDs” contains no fewer than six independently written articles assessing the value, importance worth etc of a PhD degree in the life sciences. All of the articles are extremely well written and insightful. The opinions of the authors range from maintaining the status quo to questioning whether a PhD degree is important for life scientists to completely revamping the requirements to obtain the degree. While I think that Nature’s decision to devote an entire special issue to problems facing PhD students and postdoctoral fellows is courageous and laudable, I can not help but ask “What took you so long?” That said, there is no questions that the proverbial “cat is out of the bag”—there was an article in last Friday’s USA Today

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which means that the American public (maybe) is now aware of the “problem.” Rather than immediately react to the plethora of posts, LinkedIn discussions and comments from bloggers and recruiters, I decided to take some time to organize my thoughts and offer some of my own insights and ideas about the issue.

For the past seven years, I, along with a few fellow career development experts, have been outspoken about the diminishing career and job prospects for PhD-trained life scientists. Like the authors of the recent Nature papers, we had determined in the early 2000s that career opportunities and job prospects for life sciences PhDs and postdoctoral fellows were rapidly declining in both academia and industry. And, more important, that there was an emerging “glut” of life sciences PhDs (mainly basic researchers) on the job market. Not surprisingly, many of the hundreds of graduate students and postdoctoral scientists—who we counseled during career development sessions at various national scientific meetings—were finding it increasingly difficult or nearly impossible to find jobs in their chosen fields of endeavors. While we were able to advise them on how to write a better resume/CV or provide them with alternate career options, we all knew that their prospects for gainful employment were severely limited. I cannot tell you how difficult and emotionally-wrenching it is to tell extremely talented graduate students and postdoctoral scientists that their prospects for gainful employment are bleak.

Yet, despite a rapidly deteriorating job market and our best efforts to alert those “in charge,” graduate training programs recklessly continue to annually “mint” as many new PhDs as possible. While the reasons for this are obvious—graduate students and postdoctoral scientists are sources of “cheap and reliable labor”— the conscious decision to continue to produce as many PhDs as possible flies in the face of basic supply and demand economics. While I can go on and on with finger pointing and assessing blame, it is not productive or helpful; nor will it help to solve the bleak employment prospects facing many PhD-trained life scientists. However, there are a few strategies that, if appropriately implemented, can help to improve the job prospects for graduate students and postdoctoral scientists.

First, graduate and postdoctoral programs could create career development programs and experiences for their students and postdocs. These programs could include seminars on alternate career options, job counseling, resume writing and interviewing clinics, internship opportunities and even annual career fairs at attended by local or national prospective employers. While many PIs will complain that this will take graduate students and postdocs out of the laboratory and impede their progress, I submit that career development activities will reduce stress and anxiety and allow persons to develop a career plan or roadmap. This, in turn, will allow them to establish goals better budget/manage their time and be more productive in the lab. Moreover, it will likely shorten the time to earn a PhD degree which will provide PIs with more employee turnover and allow them to take larger numbers of new students into their labs.

Second, training programs ought to develop and formalize alternate career tracks for their graduate students and postdocs. For example, if a student is interested in medical writing rather than a traditional academic research career he/she ought to be encouraged to take some medical writing courses or be allowed to do a medical writing internship as part of their training. If a student is interested in business, then it may make sense for the student to be able to take business courses or enroll in an online biotechnology training programs. In fact, several institutions now offer a joint PhD/MBA degree option. The bottom line here is that providing students and postdocs with alternate exit strategies will incentivize them to be more productive so that they can “get on with their careers.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, graduate training programs need to limit the number of PhDs that they train and produce. This means, admitting fewer graduate students each year until the demand for PhDs begins to rise again. While this is the easiest and most cost effective solution to the problem, I suspect that it is the one that will meet with most resistance and objections. After all, fewer graduate students means fewer postdoctoral scientists which translates into fewer bodies to do the research necessary to win grants and publish peer-reviewed papers. However, it is important to note that the increasingly competitive and challenging job market for life scientists has already taken a toll on US preparedness in science and engineering. To that end, fewer American undergraduate students are majoring in the life sciences than ever before. In fact, the most popular undergraduate major in the US today is business. Further, over the past 20 years or so, fewer American students have entered graduate school in the life sciences. A quick perusal of the rosters of graduate students and postdoctoral scientists at almost any major US research institution will reveal that a majority are foreign born nationals! New research reveals that many US-trained foreign nationals are going back to their home countries to work and in many instances, compete with American life sciences companies.

There is no longer any question that “something” must be done to improve the career and employment prospects for American life scientists. Regardless of the solution, it will likely be painful. However, this is no longer a problem that can easily be “swept under the rug” or consciously ignored by the “powers at be.” Failure to adequately and seriously address the issue may not only have serious consequences for the current American life sciences training paradigm (don’t be surprised when academic tenure is eliminated) but also may affect the future competitiveness and economic well-being of the US.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!

 

Competition for Pharma Talent Is Heating Up in Emerging Markets

Posted in BioJobBuzz

While R&D scientists and sales representatives continue to struggle to find jobs in the US at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the competition is fierce to hire and retain pharma employees in emerging markets like China and India. Earlier this week, I posted a piece on big pharma’s continuing expansion of its R&D activities in Asia and the growing need for US-trained PhDs in this region. However, it appears that hiring and retaining pharma sales reps is a bigger problem in China and India for big pharma companies like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Sanofi-Aventis (SA) and Pfizer.

According to a recent article in Bloomberg News about 20 percent of GSK’s sales forces in both countries quits each year in favor of better offers from its rivals including Pfizer and SA. One GSK executive quipped “There’s a huge war for talent. It’s hard to do anything about. If you have a good person, they could find someone else willing to pay twice as much.” This is in marked contrast with the US where almost 100,000 pharma sales reps may have lost jobs over the past five years.

Emerging Asia Pacific markets accounted for roughly 17 percent of GSK’s sales in 2010 as compared with 18 percent for Pfizer and 30 percent for SA. Sales revenues for most major pharmaceutical companies declined in both the US and Europe last year. There is no question that big pharma is turning to emerging markets as a means to maintain and increase sales of drugs after patents expire and generic competition cuts into revenue. Sales in emerging markets are predicted to reach about $400 billion by 2020 which is equivalent to the current size of the US and the five biggest European markets combined!

By its own admission, GSK was “fairly late” in their investments in China and may explain why the company may be experiencing trouble with competing for talent in that market. Employment opportunities in emerging markets will likely resemble those in the late 1990s in the US and Europe, when there was a dearth of talents life sciences professionals and companies were willing to pay large salaries (regardless of whether or not job candidates were qualified) to employees to maintain operations. This trend is driving up labor costs in China and interestingly, China is beginning to outsource work to Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore where labor and raw materials costs are less expensive.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting (Go East Young Man and Woman)

 

NDM-1 Article Sparks a Discussion on the Lack of Effective Antibiotics

Posted in Career Advice

Despite the brouhaha surrounding the publication of an article about new South Asian strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria that carry the NDM-1 gene, some good may actually come from it. The Pharmalot Blog reported today that an article entitled “Are You Ready for a World without Antibiotics” appeared in the UK’s Guardian newspaper just two days after the first report about NDM-1.

While the Guardian piece is a little heavy handed in parts, it does a good job accurately portraying the growing lack of antibiotics left in the armamentarium to treat infections caused by many drug resistant Gram positive and Gram negative bacterial pathogens. As I have noted numerous times before, large pharma, for the most part, quietly exited antibiotic drug discovery and development in the late 1990s. 

Only a handful of biotechnology companies are developing new drugs to combat infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria. Unfortunately, many of these companies have hit regulatory snags for these drugs and the likelihood of approval is questionable. And if something isn’t done soon e.g. government funded initiatives, people may begin to succumb to bacterial infections at rates that haven’t been seen since the pre-antibiotic era which ended in the 1940s.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!