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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline

« Less Than Zero | Main | Outsourcing Blues? »

April 29, 2007

Time To Conduct Some Business

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Posted by Derek

It's been nearly three months since my former workplace closed its laboratory doors. By now, many of my co-workers have landed positions, although certainly not all. The experiences have varied widely: some of the associates were able to move to new positions so quickly that they hardly skipped a day of commuting, while other people are still updating their CVs and hustling up every connection they can.

I wanted to put in a brief plug, then, for some former colleagues who have reacted to the closure of the Wonder Drug Factory by striking out on their own. They've started a service company called Cheminpharma, which supports all sorts of chemistry related to pre-clinical drug discovery efforts: medicinal chemistry, synthesis of intermediates, reference compounds etc. They have a site in Connecticut and synthesis capacity in India, and they'd welcome any queries:

Uday Khire (Ph.D., MBA)
25 Science Park at Yale,
150 Munson Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Phone: 203-773-1737 (O), 203-231-3060 (cell)

I hope that they can make a go of it - by publishing that e-mail address, I've at least ensured that they'll get lots of spam, anyway. Works for me! With any luck, they'll hear from some people with more need for med-chem than your average Nigerian scam artist has.

Comments (7) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Current Events


1. MolecularGeek on April 30, 2007 9:58 AM writes...

Good luck to them. If I were in a position to need anything made, I'd send some business their way on general principles. Personally, I think that with big pharma and biotech getting ossified and risk-averse, these small start-ups are the best chance of keeping the industry moving forward.

When the big Upjohn facility in Kalamazoo was closed, one of the industrial parties involved (I forget if it was Upjohn, Pharmacia, or Pfizer unfortunately) made some money available for start-up funding to displaced researchers. Maybe that ought to become a stock term of any tax abatement offered to entice new R&D facilities, some amount of cash in escrow to be used to fund new business development if the facility is closed under certain conditions.


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2. Flanders on April 30, 2007 12:33 PM writes...

Yeah, Great Big D! You're plugging a chem outsourcing business? I've never seen someone so much in denial as you. You lose your job to outsourcing yet you sponsor a group looking to exacerbate the process? You'd make a great spokes-person for the American Chemical Society!

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3. Jose on April 30, 2007 3:06 PM writes...

Flanders- I feel pretty certain in stating that the closing of Derek's "WDF" had nothing whatsoever to do with outsourcing to India. Two entirely separate problems- I'm quite certain Bayer didn't just hire an equivalent number of FTEs in Mumbai....

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4. SRC on April 30, 2007 3:54 PM writes...

It's ungracious and ungentlemanly to kick someone, especially when he's at a tough time, and most especially when he's at a tough time and is trying to help his friends and colleagues.

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5. Derek Lowe on April 30, 2007 4:27 PM writes...

Flanders, Jose is correct. My site's closure had nothing to do with India or China, as far as I can see. It was a flat-out reduction in head count - and I might add the the reductions are continuing outside the US as well. The jobs didn't move - they disappeared.

My opinions on outsourcing are on the record: demand is going to push costs up in those countries, and in the long run we (and the rest of the world) are better off with the resulting educated higher-wage work forces there. After all, they have to be able to afford what we want to sell them, too.

But if you're doing a job that someone in Montana, Maine, Mexico, India or China really can do just as well for less money, then you'd better keep your CV updated. That's been true for a long time. Neither the world nor the ACS owes any of us a living.

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6. Johan on April 30, 2007 4:41 PM writes...

I don't think it would have been right to prevent a skilled friend who is offering a service from being able to offer that service.

It sounds like he is helping a friend and isn't caught up in isolationist ideas. In drug discovery, there is a lot of work remaining to be done, and there is a huge amount of unanswered questions.. so there will always should be chem work.

The more people worldwide working in this field the better, and the faster we'll have cures.

It is better for everyone if the world is healthier and everyone should be allowed to contribute.

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7. milkshake on April 30, 2007 8:20 PM writes...

I would start worrying about my own technician medchem synthetic job at the moment when companies in India, China, Singapoore or Russia get their own top-class biologists, to run the projects there.

But the chemists doing work that is not tied to some screening input directly, (parallel chemistry/combichem, custom-synthesis of building blocks, process development and scale-up) have reasons to be nervous already.

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