Looking for a Job? These Pharma Companies Are “Hiring”!!!!

Posted in BioBusiness

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) perused the corporate websites of 10 major pharma companies to determine the number of available jobs at those companies for the week of June 17-21, 2013.  While this was a laudable exercise, it is important to note that jobs listed on corporate websites usually do not reflect the actual job openings at the companies that post them. That said, although the results offered byGENsurvey may seem encouraging to jobseekers, I would not put much faith in the conclusions that they draw. For example, the author of the piece wrote:

The results show both the U.S.’ continuing dominance of the industry, since nine of 10 companies hired the highest numbers of employees Stateside—as well as significant hiring overseas, especially in China (which dominated Eli Lilly’s listings of available jobs) and Europe.

Anybody looking for a pharmaceutical job in theUSwill tell you that it is one of the worst job markets inUShistory and that the number of new employees being hired is negligible.  Nevertheless, it is fun to rank big pharma companies when there is nothing else to do. To that end, here is the list of big pharma companies that are “hiring”

1.  Novartis

2,740 total worldwide jobs listed on website

Top nation:U.S., with 1,096 jobs listed on website

Next five countries:Switzerland(500 jobs);Germany(224);U.K.(127);India(113);Austria(109)

2.  Roche

1,450 total worldwide jobs listed on website

Top nation:U.S., with 591 jobs listed on website

Next five countries:Switzerland(240 jobs);Germany(192);China(148);PolandandSingapore(40 each)

3.  Sanofi

1,427 total worldwide jobs listed on website

Top nation:U.S., with 744 jobs listed on website

Next five countries:China(465 jobs);France(68);Germany(51);Canada(45);U.K.(18)

4.  Pfizer

815 total worldwide jobs listed on website

Top nation:U.S., with 332 jobs listed on website

Next five countries:China(249 jobs);U.K.(26);Mexico(18);Taiwan(17);Ukraine(16)

5.  GlaxoSmithKline

733 total worldwide jobs listed on website

Top nation:U.S., with 223 jobs listed on website

Next five countries:Belgium(174 jobs);U.K.(114);Singapore(55);AustraliaandGermany(33 each)

6.  Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals

655 total worldwide jobs listed on website

Top nation:U.S., with 232 jobs listed on website

Next five countries:Belgium(81 jobs);China(63); The Netherlands (40);Mexico(30);France(26)

7.  AbbVie (formerly Abbott Labs pharmaceutical division)

555 total worldwide jobs listed on website

Top nation:U.S., with 367 jobs listed on website

Next five countries:Germany(68 jobs);China(28);France(20);U.K.(16); The Netherlands (14)

8.  AstraZeneca

544 total worldwide jobs listed on website

Top nation: U.S., with 259 jobs listed on website3

Next five countries: China(202 jobs); U.K.(55)3;France (11);Turkey (8);Sweden (7)

9.  Eli Lilly

484 total worldwide jobs listed on website

Top nation:China, with 319 jobs listed on website

Next four countries2:U.S. (146 jobs);Canada (16);Australia (2);U.K. (1) 

10.  Bristol-Myers Squibb

368 total worldwide jobs listed on website

Top nation:U.S., with 318 jobs listed on website

Next five countries: Irelandand United Kingdom(12 jobs each); France(9)1;Belgium (7);Spain (5)

A quick perusal of the list indicates that Novartis, Roche and Sanofi, arguably the best positioned and well financed of the companies have the most open jobs listed on their corporate sites.  Pfizer, the world’s largest pharma company has a paltry 815 open jobs worldwide.

The remaining 6 companies on the list have had their share of misfortunes lately, most notably Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca whose development pipelines are thin. Maybe that is why Eli Lilly is aggressively expanding its operations inChinawhere it has made substantial R&D investments.

Johnson & Johnson has been rocked by highly publicized problems with its consumer products whereas Bristol-Myers Squibb has undergone significant restructuring in its executive suite of late.

Interestingly, the top three pharma companies in the world are European not US-owned. Maybe that explains why the US life sciences job market is so bad….go figure. Also, it is important to remember that roughly 300,000 pharmaceutical employees have lost their jobs since 2001.

Until next time…

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


An Analysis: Big Pharma and Social Media Usage

Posted in Social Media

A study conducted in November 2011 by Cegedim Strategic Data, a market research and promotional audit firm analyzed the world’s top 100 pharmaceutical companies expenditure on traditional promotional (marketing spends) and then compared that spending with their presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Not surprisingly, Pfizer, Novartis and Merck (the world’s largest big pharma companies) finished in the top three for traditional promotional spending. However, their use of social media i.e. Twitter and Facebook varied widely. For example, Pfizer—the top promotional spender—was first in its number of Twitter followers and third in the number of likes on Facebook. On the other hand, second ranked Novartis was fifth in the number of Twitter followers and in seventeenth position for likes on Facebook. Finally, third ranked Merck was fifteenth in the number of Twitter followers (third for the number of tweets) and in the tenth position for the number of likes on Facebook (but has more pages than any of its Facebook competitors).

Other notable companies included:

  • Johnson &Johnson, eleventh in promotional spending and number two on the number of Facebook likes
  • Roche, number fifteen on the promotional spending list was ranked number two for the number of Twitter followers
  • Proctor and Gamble which ranked a distant 54th in promotional spending was number four on the Twitter follower list

What does this all mean? A whole lot of nothing because nobody can determine what effects the use of social media has on the bottom line for most pharmaceutical companies. Unlike other industries, where social media can be used to sell products, it cannot be used for direct promotional purposes in the life sciences industry. While most people will tell you this is because of the lack of guidance by FDA on the use of social media, the bottom line is that social media will never be allowed for direct-to-consumer advertising in the pharmaceutical industry. That said, pharma and biotech will have to find other uses for social media including clinical trial recruitment and retention, adverse event reporting, employee recruitment and retention and education and outreach.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Tweeting (and Liking)


So Much for The Promise of RNAi!!!

Posted in BioBusiness

Several years ago RNAi was hot and it was touted as a technology that would revolutionize modern pharmaceutical science. I never thought RNAi had much promise beyond being a research tool but what do I know? 

With this in mind, I felt exonerated today after reading that Roche had divested all of its RNAi assets to a small Madison, WI drug discovery company called Arrowhead Research. In exchange for the assets, Roche acquired an equity position in the company.  About a year ago Roche formally announced that it was exiting the RNAi business, but until now was unable to find a buyer. 

According to a press release, Arrowhead now owns the Roche Madison Inc facility (formerly the Mirus R&D facility in Madison, WI), which employs a team of 40 scientists. Arrowhead also gets licenses from several leading firms, including Tekmira Pharmaceuticals for RNAi drug delivery technology and Alnylam for RNAi intellectual property and short interfering RNA structures. Arrowhead was already in the RNAi delivery space.

Previously, Roche spent roughly a half-billion dollars to amass its position in RNAi, including $331 million paid to Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in 2007 for access to RNAi technology and $125 million for the purchase of Mirus Bio in 2008. Arrowhead, in contrast, is paying Roche no money for these and other assets; instead it is giving the Swiss firm an ownership stake of slightly under 10%.

Many other big pharma companies have also abandoned their efforts in the RNAi space. While RNAi works in the lab as a research tool, the inability to successfully deliver it to internal cellular targets has prevent companies from commercializing it. I hate to say it, but “I told you so.”

Until next time….

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


Consolidation Continues in the US Life Sciences Industry

Posted in BioBusiness

Earlier this week Roche Holding AG announced that it would pay $230 million to acquire the San Diego, CA-based biopharmaceutical company Anadys. The reason for the acquisition is to bolster Roche’s standing in the hepatitis C market which is projected to grow to as much as $15 billion annually by 2019.

Anadys has a fairly large experimental pipeline of hepatitis C drugs, the most advanced candidate being setrobuivr that is being clinically tested in combination with the generic antiviral drug ribavirin and Pegasys (PEGylated α-interferon) as a hepatitis C treatment.

The Anadys deal comes on the heels of an agreement last week between Roche and Merck & Co to jointly market hepatitis C treatments in the US. Merck recently won approval last May for Victrelis (boceprevir) the first new hepatitis C treatment in over a decade. Also, late last month Vertex Pharmaceuticals received approval for a new hepatitis C drug called Incivek (telaprevir). Anadys is also conducting early clinical trials on ANA773 as a possible treatment for hepatitis C infection, cancer and other chronic diseases.

In other news, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is rumored to be contemplating purchasing Maryland-based Human Genome Sciences (HGS), which recently received US approval for Benlysta a novel monoclonal antibody treatment for the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematous. 

Benlysta was the first new drug to be approved to treat lupus in over 50 years. GSK is HGS’s commercialization partner for Benlysta which is expected to be a blockbuster drug. The reason for the takeover rumors is likely HGS’s stock price which has fallen from 52-week high of $30 to its current value of $15 per share. 

Until next time…

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


Mirror, Mirror on the Wall Who's the Most Ambitious Big Pharma Company of Them All?

Posted in BioBusiness

Since I don’t have a magic mirror, I can only go on what I read in the Internet. And, it appears that Roche may be the most ambitious pharma company of them all; at least by 2013. According to a post on PharmLive, “Roche’s late-stage pipeline is progressing well with potentially ten regulatory submissions of new molecular entities until the end of 2013.”

So what drugs make up this rather full pipeline?

  1. T-DM1 (trastuzumab-DM1)-antibody-drug conjugate for Her-2 positive breast cancer
  2. Pertuzumab/trastuzumab (Herceptin)-monoclonal antibody cocktail to treat Her-2
  3. positive breast cancer
  4. MetMab-a unique monovalent monoclonal antibody for non-small cell lung cancer
  5. GA101/RG7159-the first glycoengineered type II humanized anti-CD20 monoclonal for relapsed/refractory progress non-Hodgkins lymphoma
  6. RG7204-anti-BRAF protein monoclonal antibody for BRAF-mutation-positive metastatic lung cancer
  7. RG1678-first-in-class glycine reuptake inhibitor that normalizes glutamate neurotransmission for schizophrenia and other psychiatric indications
  8. RG1594 (ocrelizumab)-humanized anti-CD20 monoclonal for multiple sclerosis

Not surprisingly, many of these molecules were developed at Genentech, the world’s largest biotechnology company that was purchased by Roche almost two years ago.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!


Pharmaceutical Job Cuts Exceed 50,000 in 2010

Posted in BioJobBuzz

Despite signs earlier this summer that job cuts at pharmaceutical companies were beginning to slow, it appears that the number of jobs lost in 2010 may come close to the roughly 61,000 pharmaceutical jobs that were eliminated in 2009. This is based on quarterly Job-Cut Announcement Report published by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. 

In past month or so, two big pharma companies, Roche and Novartis, announced that there will be major corporate reorganizations and deep job cuts to reduce spending, increase profits and bolster flagging stock prices. 

While things appear to be improving in other parts of the economy, the life sciences industry has been devastated by massive job layoffs in the past three years. Although pharma executives publicly blame the downsizing on the recession, massive R&D units, thinning pipelines and a failure to obtain a sufficient ROI on the huge sums of money poured into new drug development over the past decade are the real reason for the blood letting. Unfortunately, the US job market for life scientists won’t be improving anytime soon; mainly because it is more cost effective for companies to perform R&D and clinical testing in the emerging markets of China, India, Brazil and Russia (BRIC).

The ability of life sciences companies to successfully perform these activities outside of the US is in large part due to the lack of interest by American students in science careers and misguided immigration policies that prevented talented US-trained foreign nationals from remaining in the US after completing their training. This allowed many foreign countries to achieve a critical mass of US-trained life scientists and provide Western life sciences companies with a highly trained and well equipped scientific workforce.

With the holidays approaching, now may be a good time for those of you who work or considering careers in the life sciences industry to re-evaluate or consider alternate career options for life scientists.

Until next time…

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


Despite Assertions to the Contrary Novartis Lays Off 1,400 Sales Reps

Posted in BioJobBuzz

Despite public assertions made by Novartis a mere eight days ago that it would not be eliminating thousands of jobs, the company today announced that it was eliminating 1,400 sales reps. Roughly 1,150 jobs will be cut from its primary care division—which is being consolidated into three units from four in the US—and another 250 from psychiatric and neuroscience. No jobs will be eliminated from Novartis’ headquarters in Hanover, NJ. While the job cuts announced today were not in the thousands (almost) it isn’t clear whether or not more are to come.

According to a post on today’s Pharmalot blog:

"Novartis had attempted to dampen speculation that a huge bloodletting was imminent after Roche disclosed plans to axe 4,800 jobs worldwide (back story) and, in fact, Joe Jiminez, the CEO, had written on his internal blog that news reports about big layoffs were inaccurate. Technically, the Novartis reduction is not in the thousands, but the number is still large and, essentially, confirms concerns that have been expressed over the past month at CafePharma, the online forum where reps dish the dirt (look here)."

Don’t you just love the holidays?

Until next time…

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


Despite Large Profits Big Pharma Continues to Shed Employees

Posted in BioJobBuzz

The fiscal year at most life sciences companies is drawing to a close, new budgets are being crafted and the holiday season is almost upon us. In years past, this time of year typically meant that it was bonus time for most pharma workers. Sadly, over the past three years bonus time has been replaced by layoff time. And, unfortunately the upcoming holiday season may not be joyous for many Pfizer and Roche employees.

Yesterday, Pfizer indicated that it may lay off up to 11,700 more employees than the 19,500 it had announced in connection with the buyout last year of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. While Pfizer confirmed that it would be reducing its worldwide work force by more than the originally expected 19,500 the exact number remains a mystery. However, a quarterly report filed Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Pfizer has estimated termination costs for 46,600 employees, while only 33,400 workers had actually been laid off as of Oct. 3. This appears to suggest that the company plans to reduce its work force by 11,700 more than originally announced, given that Pfizer is only 1,500 positions away from fulfilling its job-elimination pledge related to the Wyeth merger.

The additional job cuts—if they are realized—would amount to about 10 percent of Pfizer’s worldwide work force. If a reduction of that magnitude were applied to Pfizer drug-research sites in Groton and New London, which currently employ nearly 5,000 workers, about 500 jobs would be lost. The company in January 2009 announced that cuts would total 15 percent of the combined Pfizer and Wyeth work force. At the time, the combined work force numbered about 130,000; the latest official figure places that number at 111,500.

In other news, Roche today announced plans to cut 4,800 jobs, or 6 percent of its worldwide workforce of 82,000. Today’s announcement confirms the news leak three months ago (reported by the Pharmalot Blog) which suggested that job cuts would be likely during the fall.

According to today’s press release, technical operations activities will be reorganized in California, Mannheim, Germany and various other sites, resulting in the elimination of 750 jobs. The company also intends to sell sites in Florence, South Carolina and Boulder, Colorado; shedding an additional 600 jobs. About 1,200 jobs will be cut in the North American commercial operations, mainly in Roche’s primary-care business, while 700 positions will be lost in commercial operations in Europe.

R&D will also be affected. The company will discontinue activities in research and early development in RNA interference in Kulmbach, Germany, Nutley, New Jersey, and Madison, Wisconsin. Also, there are plans to reorganize other operations at these sites which will eliminate another 600 jobs.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting (are there any left?)!!!!


Bucking the Trend: Roche to Add 500 Jobs in Tucson, Arizona

Posted in BioJobBuzz

In contrast with many of its competitors, which have layed off thousands of pharmaceutical employees over the past two weeks, Roche today announced that it was creating 500 new life sciences jobs at Oro Valley, Innovation Park in Tucson Arizona.

Roche already has a strong presence in Southern Arizona, having acquired Oro Valley-based Ventana Medical Systems in January 2008. The new positions will garner median salaries of $70,000 per year or more and new employees are expected to be added over the next year or so.

Oro Valley and, in particular, Innovation Park, is quickly becoming a regional hub for cutting-edge bioscience research. In addition to Roche, Sanofi-Aventis also has a research center at the 535-acre campus. Further, the University of Arizona recently acquired Sanofi-Aventis’ older, smaller lab space a few miles from the park. Plans for that lab call for drug research, but the lab will also be used as a business incubator.

Mix in the UA’s Bio5 Institute, which helps move research in science and engineering into the marketplace; and Tucson-based Critical Path Institute, which focuses on shortening the process it takes to bring medical innovations to the public, and there is a growing cluster of bioscience research taking place in the Tucson area.

While this may be good news for scientists and other white collar workers, it isn’t clear who will be responsible for maintenance and operation of these facilities given Arizona’s egregious and indefensible anti-immigration laws!

Until net time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!

The Convergence of Pharma Celebrity Spokespersons and Web 2.0

Posted in Social Media

Over the past few months, a number of celebrities have agreed to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies pitch their products in direct-to-consumer advertising campaigns. Perhaps this is related to the economic downturn and these actors are having trouble finding high paying gigs to support their lifestyles. Alternatively, their motives may be altruistic or they or one of their loved ones may suffer from a life-altering or threatening illness.

The latest addition to the celebrity pitchperson parade is the soap opera diva Susan Lucci. After her husband Helmut Huber was unexpectedly diagnosed a decade ago with atrial fibrillation—a type of irregular heartbeat that increase the risk of stroke five-fold, Lucci yesterday announced that she and her husband would partner with Boehringer Ingelheim the National Stroke Association and StopAfib.org to launch a new education campaign to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation. Financial terms of the relationship were not disclosed.

In other news, Amgen and Pfizer yesterday announced the joint launch of "Psophisticated Style:  A Guide to Everyday Style and Psoriasis™," an online resource, providing a wealth of style advice specifically for people with psoriasis.

The new online presence will be hosted by B-list celebrity Tim Gunn, mentor to the designers on TV’s "Project Runway" and chief creative officer of Liz Claiborne, Inc. and dermatologist Susan C. Taylor, M.D., the style guide includes five videos, which illustrate various style issues for individuals with psoriasis. Practical and insightful highlights from each video are also available and can be printed.  The new website is well designed and has a decidedly web 2.0 look and feel to it. And, you can even follow Psophisticated Style on Facebook and share the site with your friends!

According to a press release Addressing Psoriasis™ was developed to inspire people with plaque psoriasis to actively manage their condition, be more confident and not allow the condition to inhibit their everyday style. 

Despite the slow uptake, Pharma’s attitude on the use of social media is beginning to shift. Last week, Eli Lilly &Co announced the launch of Lilly Pad a blog and twitter feed designed to provide information and helpful tips to patients with diabetes. Yesterday at the Business Development Institute’s HealthCare Social Communications Leadership Forum in Manhattan, Todd Siesky , Public Relations Manager, Roche Diabetes Care described an innovative and creative initiative (started two years ago) to establish a network of influential bloggers in the diabetes space. The bloggers are not paid and do not benefit financially from their interactions with the company. Roche interacts with the blogging network on a quarterly basis and has held two summits to bring the bloggers together to brainstorm and interact with one another (Roche covers airfare and hotel accommodations).

Also, Ted Phelan, Senior Regional Scientific Manager Medical Affairs at Astra Zeneca gave an illuminating talk about his company’s efforts to build a physician community in the gastrointestinal therapeutic space. Ted’s take away from his impromptu presentation (the originally scheduled Astra Zeneca representative couldn’t attend) was you won’t be successful unless you understand the needs of community members (he is married to a physician).

For those of you who may not closely follow the pharmaceutical social media space, building Facebook fan pages and creating a Twitter feed are no longer de rigueur. Instead, the next big thing is building company-sponsored, unbranded, online patient and physician communities around different therapeutic indications! Move over Patients Like Me, there may be some new kids on the block in the very near future!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Tweeting!!!!!