Biotech bloodbath

Layoffs in 2002 left basic researchers reeling.

Peg Brickley(pegbrickley@hotmail.com)
Dec 29, 2002

The recession-driven job crunch caught up to the high-flying biotechnology industry during 2002, as company after company fired researchers in save-the-firm "restructuring" moves.

CuraGen Corporation of New Haven, Connecticut and Exelixis of South San Francisco announced their respective restructurings in early November, joining dozens of former industry leaders that cut early-stage and pre-clinical science researchers this year in a drive to get products on the market before scarce cash ran out. The trend continued into December, typified by Millennium Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Massachusetts, which shed more than 100 preclinical research jobs, and Targeted Genetics of Seattle, which warned half its staff that their jobs were likely to go as the company shut down preclinical lines of inquiry.

CuraGen postponed the building of a research facility and cut 25 percent of its staff, 128 jobs, most of them scientists who had been probing the human genome for drug targets. Exelixis trimmed...

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