Monday, March 19, 2012

Tough times for neuroscience in Big Pharma

Also in this week's C&EN, an article on the tough times in neuroscience research in pharma, by Lisa Jarvis. This little sidebar accompanied the main article:
April 2009 Sanofi overhauls its pipeline, ending development of more than a dozen drugs and vaccines, including an antidepressant. The following year, the company cuts hundreds of sales jobs, citing its reduced activities in central nervous system (CNS) research. 
January 2010 GlaxoSmithKline ends neuroscience drug R&D in Harlow, England, and abandons some areas of neuroscience research, including depression and pain. 
July 2010 A year after its acquisition of Schering-Plough, Merck & Co. closes a neuroscience research lab in the U.K. and consolidates activities at two sites in the U.S. 
December 2011 Novartis announces the closure of its neuroscience R&D site in Basel, Switzerland, and the formation of a smaller group in Cambridge, Mass., to study the genetics of certain CNS disorders. 
February 2012 AstraZeneca announces it will lay off some 2,200 scientists, mostly in neuroscience R&D. The firm is closing a research lab in Montreal and ending R&D in Södertälje, Sweden.
Wow. That's not really good news for anyone, either scientists or patients. I hope this is rock bottom, to borrow a phrase.  


  1. I can tell you that the jobs market for biologists is probably even worse than that for chemists. Getting into industry is about as difficult as getting tenure in academia. I know of many people with biology PhDs working for peanuts and these are probably the lucky ones. I am frustrated that I bought into the biotechnology/biopharma hype from over a decade ago and wish I hadn't wasted my time. Does anyone know a site like chemjobber that is deals specifically with job opportunities for biologists (or lack thereof)?

    1. There used to be a "Bio Job Blog", but it appears to be having technical issues. (Or Danica Patrick is switching fields.)

  2. Editors: Note, "Biojobber" rather unfortunate-sounding. Might have to switch up for the annex.


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