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January 25, 2007
Way Out Here
Those Pfizer predictions I posted last week were accurate in outline, but not in detail. (The company must be doing a reasonable job of clamping down on leaks). La Jolla and St. Louis survived, confounding expectations, and Michigan got hit very hard indeed.
That's sad, and ironic. The very research facility (ex Warner-Lambert) that discovered and developed Lipitor, the drug that's been most important in keeping Pfizer afloat, is getting the axe. I know some people up there, and I have a lot of sympathy for them. Not only are they out of a job, but they're out of a job in a part of the country that will almost certainly not be able to absorb them.
I'm having enough of a time trying to keep the moving vans away here in Connecticut, and my state has a real pharma/biotech presence. Nothing compares to the obvious always-find-something locations, though: Boston/Cambridge, SF/Bay Area, San Diego/La Jolla, New Jersey from Philadelphia to New York.
On the other hand, the classic example of going out on a location limb is Eli Lilly. Indianapolis, whatever its other charms (like reasonably priced housing), is not a hotbed of drug discovery research once you leave the Lilly premises. The company has generally paid people well, and it's understood that the premium is partly to offset the risk of moving to a part of the country where there's basically only one place you can work. (Well, there's Abbott in Chicago, and there used to be Searle, but it's not like anyone's going to want to commute from Indianapolis to Chicago).
Lilly's the biggest example I know of, but there are plenty of smaller companies located in unlikely places. Nominees are invited for the Most Isolated Company Award - and I'll kick things off by mentioning Albany Molecular.
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