The first quarter of 2013 saw a noticeable increase in the number of advertised biotech and pharma sector jobs compared with the previous quarter (Nat. Biotechnol. 31, 175, 2013). Listings for the top 25 biotech companies increased by 90% on Monster, by 92% on LinkedIn and by 29% on Naturejobs. Pharma company listings were more mixed, decreasing by almost half on Monster but increasing by 4% and by 20-fold on LinkedIn and Naturejobs, respectively (Tables 1 and 2).

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

AstraZeneca announced a major restructuring this quarter. Starting this year, it will cut about 5,050 positions over 3 years, saving the company about $800 million annually by 2016. In the UK, it will close its London headquarters and its small-molecule R&D facility in Alderley Park and establish a new $500-million R&D facility and corporate headquarters in Cambridge. In the US, small- and large-molecule R&D will be consolidated into AstraZeneca's Gaithersburg, Maryland facility, the headquarters of its MedImmune biologics unit. However, its North American commercial headquarters will remain in Wilmington, Delaware.

In London, Johnson & Johnson opened the first of four planned innovation centers to identify and accelerate the development of early-stage life-science innovations. The company plans to open three other facilities in Shanghai, San Francisco and Boston.

Merck Serono's Entrepreneur Partnership Program, a $37-million fund to create spinouts resulting from the company's restructuring, launched its sixth new company—Calypso Biotech. Calypso, which will continue R&D of an undisclosed Merck Serono preclinical antibody program for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, joins previous spinouts Ondaco, TQM Insight, Asceneuron, Quartz Bio and Prexton Therapeutics.

Meanwhile, the employment situation for some of the 1,250 employees affected by the closure of the company's Geneva headquarters in June 2012 has been resolved, with 280 employees transferring to other Merck Serono sites, 390 finding employment elsewhere and 80 retiring early. Merck Serono had previously announced that 500 jobs would be eliminated with the facility's closure.

Other notable first-quarter downsizings in the life-science industry are shown in Table 3.

Table 3 Selected biotech and pharma downsizings