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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

« You Should Take Chemistry: A Response | Main | Another Controversial Scaffold? »

October 18, 2012

Layoffs at Human Genome Sciences

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Posted by Derek

Like night follows day: GSK completes its acquisition of HGS, and the scythe begins to come down. The company had previously notified the state of Maryland that it was cutting 114 positions, and now it's saying that 97 more are disappearing. That Fierce Biotech post says that even more are on the way after the first of the year.

GSK had offered $13 a share for the company, which the company turned down as too low. They got $14.25 in the end, which is not the sort of premium that they'd been hoping for, I'm sure. Lower-than-expected Benlysta sales are the primary cause of all this trouble. Without that approval, the company would likely have disappeared (or contracted beyond recognition). With it, the company is disappearing, and contracting anyway. . .

Comments (9) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. annonie on October 18, 2012 1:37 PM writes...

No surprise here. When will GSK come to reality & cut bait in Cambridge at Syrtris? Well overdue.

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2. startup on October 19, 2012 3:16 AM writes...

I hope you realize that they all are going to lose their jobs. There's going to be no survivors.

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3. David Formerly Known as a Chemist on October 19, 2012 8:47 AM writes...

Well, AstraZeneca is adding several hundred positions in their China R&D operation...soon all the R&D jobs will be in China.

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4. Hap on October 19, 2012 9:22 AM writes...

It would be sort of nice if being successful at making a drug didn't mean that you'd get laid off.

Since being unsuccessful at making drugs seems to mean that you will get laid off, and being successful at making them also means that you will get laid off, what exactly do you have to do well to keep a job (discounting skills inappropriate for discussion on this blog, or being in upper management)?

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5. David Formerly Known as a Chemist on October 19, 2012 9:25 AM writes...

@4...Hap, you need to be willing to learn Chinese and relocate to China.

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6. entropyGain on October 19, 2012 10:46 AM writes...

@4 - you need a sustainable business model instead of "slash and burn capitalism". I know plenty of mom and pop small companies feeding their families with science. Unfortunately, very few are in chemistry.

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7. DCRogers on October 19, 2012 11:12 AM writes...

@5 "you need to be willing to learn Chinese and relocate to China"

You forgot: "and accept Chinese wage scales".

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8. Anonymous on October 20, 2012 11:41 PM writes...

My advice,

Tell them you have a PhD in chemistry and watch the doors fly open.

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9. Jon on October 22, 2012 4:36 AM writes...

I'm vaguely curious if the original company received any sort of tax break, state, county, or municipal, for locating where they did.

And if that break involved local investment and employment, and if so, how much.


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