Monday, June 20, 2011

A shift away from pharma/biotech to chemical companies?

This week's Chemical and Engineering News has an interesting set of contrasting articles. Lisa Jarvis has a cover story on the challenges that biotechs are facing as their pharma partners are (in some cases) breaking off collaborations on clinical candidates. Jarvis' article starts with the story of Michael Morrissey, CEO of Exelexis (a Evans group alum, it appears) and the story of the company's broken-off collaboration with BMS. According to another article in this week's issue, the biotech sector as a whole was steadily profitable in 2010 for the second year in a row. However, R&D funding is said to be under pressure (unsurprising, really.) 

In the same issue, there's coverage of the American Chemistry Council and the relatively flush times they're experiencing. It's an unusually happy story for these days: chemical companies use natural gas as a feedstock and a source of energy. With the advent of cheap natural gas (thanks to hydraulic fracturing, I suspect) and growing overseas demand for their products, US chemical companies' profit margins are going up. 

Not many bright spots for chemistry employment in the US for this week, it seems. It will be interesting to see if chemistry R&D positions will begin to come from chemical companies, as opposed to pharma/biotech. One can only hope. 

Good luck to all of us. 


  1. Could you please call the new tech by its awesome cognomen: "fracking"?


  2. BTW, in Czech the word "fracek" is not endearing - it means an intolerable brat.