Biotech Mergers Risky For Bench Scientists - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences
AbstractToday's trend toward industry consolidation yields a grim byproduct for some researchers: the loss of their jobs Chiron buys Cetus, while Genzyme merges with Integrated Genetics. Quidel acquires Monoclonal Antibodies, and American Home Products agrees to buy 60 percent of Genetics Institute. The headlines are coming fast and furious these days. But while the torrent of announcements concerning mergers and acquisitions among biotechnology firms are greeted warmly by many industry watchers as a sign of the biotech's move toward maturity, they're unsettling to some of the bench scientists who have played key roles in nurturing these same companies through their infancies. Indeed, for researchers whose scientific objectives and job security depend on the stability of their employers, the big deals that their bosses are making can be downright threatening. Dale String-fellow, a molecular virologist and head of R&D at Celltrex Corp., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based biotech developing cyto- kines for cancer therapy, articulates the uneasiness that can arise when a committed researcher's company suddenly joins forces with another firm. Says Stringfellow: "You're used to working within given parameters, and suddenly those parameters change. It can be quite difficult to re-orient yourself." What do the words "merger" and "buyout"