Search the Biotechnology Industry Organization's Web site using the keyword "cancer" and you'll come up with pages of companies with at least one product, department, or research program aimed at oncological therapeutics. The late-1998 approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Genentech's Herceptin, a monoclonal antibody used to treat metastatic breast cancer, is one attestation to the upswing for biotech cancer products.

Typically investment in biotech--and hence hiring--is cyclical. "For example, 1998 to 1999 were very lean years in which the capital markets were not receptive to research," says James Bianco, president and CEO of Seattle-based Cell Therapeutics Inc. "People are now much more receptive to putting fair amounts of capital into earlier stages of research such as genomics. It turns out that cancer and cancer-focused companies have to be one of the hot properties in the life sciences sector right now." Bianco and others describe the...

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