Look Who’s Hiring in Biotech: Companies That Are Built to Last

11/21/13Follow @xconomy

Many of today’s biotech companies don’t aspire to be companies at all. They’re more like temporary “virtual” projects, with skeleton crews of contractors who come together for a spell and then move on to the next thing. As others have observed, it’s much like what actors, directors and producers do to make movies in Hollywood.

That’s not how the enduring, independent biotech companies do it. These companies aspire to be bigger than any one individual, or any one product bound to lose patent protection in a few years. That means they need to do an old-fashioned thing—hire lots of smart people, give them good salaries and benefits, and challenge them to accomplish big things. Otherwise, there’s no way to carry out a long-term, lofty mission of creating valuable new products for patients.

Biotech hiring has been on my mind lately as I get ready for the next big Xconomy event. It’s called “Building Biotechs to Last,” and it will be held the afternoon of Dec. 9 in San Francisco. We have a great lineup of speakers who have spent much of their professional lives trying to build biotech companies that have staying power. Hiring is important to all of these people. So I wondered—exactly how many jobs are these people trying to fill at their companies right now?

The easiest way to answer this question was to look at the open job postings on the company websites of every organization that’s scheduled to speak at the Xconomy event on Dec. 9. I tallied up 899 total posted openings. Most of the jobs are at the big established companies, while 65 of them were in venture-backed companies that come from the portfolios of Venrock, InterWest Partners, and Bay City Capital. More than half of the jobs are at South San Francisco-based Genentech, which I counted in this analysis because Hal Barron still must have some pull over there, even though he has agreed to join Calico, the new Google-backed anti-aging startup.

Of course, not every speaker at the upcoming event is in a direct hiring position, like the VCs. But every speaker is essentially one degree of separation removed from the person in their organization who is actively looking to fill jobs. Essentially, these are great “connectors” to meet in person.

Here’s the full list of jobs at the speaker organizations, with links to the detailed descriptions on their website. I’d encourage job seekers to scan the listings here, and if you see something of interest, get yourself a ticket for the Xconomy event on Dec. 9 and make good use of the time by introducing yourself to a potential future employer. See you there at UCSF with the biotech companies that are being built for the long haul.

Company Openings Link to Job Postings
Genentech 522 http://www.gene.com/careers/find-a-job
Illumina 163 https://www.illumina.apply2jobs.com/ProfExt/index.cfm?fuseaction=mExternal.searchJobs
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 45 http://careers.gatesfoundation.org/search/?q=&location=
Genomic Health 42 http://genomichealthjobs.com/#.Ugu0kNJ_4Qo
Fluidigm (InterWest portfolio) 21 http://tbe.taleo.net/CH06/ats/careers/jobSearch.jsp?org=FLUIDIGM&cws=1
Sarepta Therapeutics 19 http://www.sareptatherapeutics.com/join-our-team/career-opportunities/
Infinity Pharmaceuticals 18 http://www.infi.com/careers-opportunities.asp
Isis Pharmaceuticals 15 https://www11.ultirecruit.com/ISI1000/JobBoard/listjobs.aspx?__VT=ExtCan
Fate Therapeutics (Venrock portfolio) 9 http://fatetherapeutics.com/human-resources/open-positions/
Civitas Therapeutics (Bay City portfolio) 9 http://www.civitastherapeutics.com/careers.php?action=list
Tesaro (InterWest portfolio) 9 http://tesarobio.com/careers/departments
Veracyte 6 http://www.veracyte.com/about-us/careers/
Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (Venrock) 5 https://ch.tbe.taleo.net/CH12/ats/careers/jobSearch.jsp?org=IRONWOODPHARMA&cws=1
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals 4 http://www.oncomed.com/Careers.html
Welltok (InterWest) 4 http://www.welltok.com/jobs.html
Hyperion Therapeutics (Bay City) 4 http://www.hyperiontx.com/job-postingsapply
Intarcia Therapeutics (Venrock) 3 http://www.intarcia.com/careers/available-positions.html
Epizyme (Bay City) 1 http://www.epizyme.com/careers/
TOTAL 899

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    These companies aspire to be bigger than any one individual, or any one product bound to lose patent protection in a few years.