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Despite Recent Layoffs, Biotechnology Industry Is Far From Dead

Assessing the biotechnology industry based on layoffs alone is misleading. While statistics related to layoffs make the headlines and certainly have serious consequences for the affected individuals, numerous other factors need to be considered in order to characterize what is happening within the industry. Overall, while 1994 represented an all-time high in the number of biotechnology companies, as well as in the number of employees, some indications point to a reversal of the upward trend. F

Eleanor Babco

Assessing the biotechnology industry based on layoffs alone is misleading. While statistics related to layoffs make the headlines and certainly have serious consequences for the affected individuals, numerous other factors need to be considered in order to characterize what is happening within the industry.

Overall, while 1994 represented an all-time high in the number of biotechnology companies, as well as in the number of employees, some indications point to a reversal of the upward trend. For example, many analysts predict consolidation within the biotechnology industry (see story on page 1). Some industry watchers predict that within five years, half as many companies will exist. A key question for scientists is: If this comes to pass, will having half the number of com- panies mean half the number of jobs? Or will the number of jobs remain the same or increase within a smaller number of companies? There are several factors...

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