The number of biotech sector jobs advertised in the fourth quarter of 2011 was down slightly compared with the third quarter, whereas pharma sector hiring numbers were similar (Nat. Biotechnol. 29, 1053, 2011) as seen in three representative job databases tracked by Nature Biotechnology (Tables 1 and 2).

Table 1 Who's hiring? Advertised openings at the 25 largest biotech companies
Table 2 Advertised job openings at the ten largest pharma companies

China continues to attract new investment, as Quintiles Transnational (Research Triangle Park, NC, USA) launched Kun Tuo, a Beijing-based contract research organization providing clinical trial management, regulatory submission preparation, biostatistics and data management services to Chinese biotech and pharma companies. Quintiles plans to add 300 employees in China this year.

The US Northeast was another hotbed of job growth, with 11 New York–based medical centers coming together with Illumina (San Diego) and Roche (Basel) to create the New York Genome Center, a nonprofit genomics collaboration that will include the creation of a research facility in Manhattan in the spring. Member institutions will be able to share clinical and genomic data and resources as well as access large-scale DNA sequencing, data mining and computational technologies. Meanwhile, upstate, Cleveland BioLabs (Buffalo, NY, USA) has formed a joint venture called Panacela Labs (Buffalo, NY, USA) with Rusnano (Moscow), that aims to develop and commercialize products for cancer and infectious diseases.

Finally, the Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, ME, USA) announced a tentative plan to create a center for personalized medicine and genomics in Connecticut. The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, to be located near the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, would have a budget of about $1.1 billion, with The Jackson Laboratory providing $809 million through federal research grants and philanthropy. The center would employ 300 people within the first 10 years and 600 employees within 20 years.

Fourth-quarter downsizings within the life science industry are shown in Table 3.

Table 3 Selected biotech and pharma downsizings