The staff at Immunex Corp. likes to joke that no wall in the biotechnology firm's Seattle headquarters has ever stayed in one place for more than a year. Instead, the walls keep getting moved around at this nine-year-old company to make room for more scientists and more labs.
Although the staffers are talking about the tangible plaster and wood walls, they might as well be talking about the invisible divisions that normally define scientific teams. At Immunex, those sorts of walls get moved around all the time, too.
The boundaries that define research teams at the firm are just about as fluid as they can get, says biochemist Linda Park. And the resulting cooperation among the scientists is one reason the firm has been so successful - and rapid - in its interleukin research, says Park's colleague Ray Goodwin.
The working environment at Immunex is "not like a university, where...