Posting questions received from registered participants for ACS Careers Industry Forum teleconference by Bill Carroll. Please share your thoughts on this discussion topic.
"With outsourcing, patent expirations, bio-generics and cost of drugs, where do you think biotechnology is headed in the US?"
I'm going to show both the ignorance and arrogance of a commodity plastics manufacturer by lumping biotech into the general field of pharmaceuticals.
The point simply is: without innovation, the industry has nothing to sell, and right now promising candidate materials are fewer than they have been traditionally. I think this means that in some fashion, there is a desperate crying need for discovery. When Lipitor(R) goes off patent a 13 billion dollar a year revenue stream dries up. What will replace it?
I think the business model will change from each pharma company as a highly vertically integrated megalith to companies as technology/manufacturing aggregators. Buy some innovation from this small company. Have these contract manufacturers do these transformations. Expand and contract as needed. The good news is, there is still great opportunity for chemists in this model--but it is and will be more in small, innovative, entrepreneurial operations and a bit less in the big companies.
From a jobs perspective, it means that candidates need to dig deeper and find the small operations that are rapidly becoming the discovery pipeline. This will be particularly true when the financial situation eases a little and venture capital is a little more available.