1 The career ladders document the types and levels of positions in each job family - discovery research, clinical development, regulatory, quality, product/process development, manufacturing, and facilities - a supervisory pathway, required education and experience, and a typical salary range.

Cassie also recommends getting about six to 10 years of Big Pharma experience before moving to a smaller company, "or else you won't bring much to the party. A scientist coming from Merck will bring discipline, structure, and form to a small business. They will know how to put a business together."

Because life science has become such an important economic force in the region, Laird predicts, "We won't have an academic brain drain. People won't have to go to the west coast for employment."

1. "Biopharmaceutical industry human capital infrastructure, final report," Life Science Career Alliance, October 2006, www.lsalliance.org

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