Who’s Hiring in Seattle Biotech? It’s Not All Layoffs, All the Time

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from $12 million six years ago to more than $170 million expected this year, so it has some enviable flexibility in hiring.

Cepheid’s chief medical and technology officer, David Persing, also has a strong Seattle tie. He was the chief scientific officer of Seattle-based Corixa until it was sold to GlaxoSmithKline in 2005.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

I counted 34 job openings for external candidates on “The Hutch’s” website listed since Nov. 1, ranging from lab aides to a statistical researcher to a staff scientist. The Hutch has more than 3,000 employees, so this isn’t exactly a hiring binge, and I know people there are watching to see what President-elect Barack Obama decides to do with the budget for the National Institutes of Health, the main rainmaker for scientists at the center.

The Hutchinson Center is mainly looking for scientists, lab technicians, and postdoctoral research fellows, said Han Nachtrieb, the center’s vice president for human resources. But be warned, the competition for these jobs is fierce. “We’re seeing a lot more resumes coming in,” Nachtrieb says. “I’d say it’s doubled or more in the last two months. It’s palpable.”


The Seattle-based nonprofit, which works to improve global health, has 40 jobs posted on its website in various commercialization, human resources, and public health jobs. About a dozen openings are in Seattle. The organization has been growing rapidly for years, and now has more than 700 employees worldwide. It got a boost in September, when it was awarded another $168.7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to administer the Malaria Vaccine Initiative.

But even at a fast-growing place like PATH, it sounds like the downturn memo has gone around to cool things down a bit. “PATH’s growth is driven by increasing interest and investment in global health,” says spokeswoman Amy MacIver, in an e-mail. “In response to today’s uncertain economy, we are focused on strategic hiring opportunites in key areas that will have the greatest impact on our ability to fulfill PATH’s mission and commitment to addressing global health inequities around the world.”

CMC Icos Biologics

CMC Icos Biologics, a company in Bothell, WA that manufactures biotech drugs for other companies on contracts, plans to expand its factory capacity and double in size to 250 employees over the next three to four years. These jobs require some technician-level training, but aren’t something for people with a Ph.D in molecular biology or biochemistry.

Seattle Biomedical Research Institute

The SBRI, a nonprofit center that studies diseases of the developing world, has 10 openings posted on its web site, and is planning to fill them as part of its continued growth, says spokeswoman Lee Schoentrup in an e-mail. Some of the jobs are related to its addition of a Malaria Clinical Trials Center, and others are coming with a new principal investigator, Nick Crispe, who is joining in the coming year, she says.

Institute for Systems Biology

The ISB, a nonprofit research center led by biotech pioneer Leroy Hood, is growing to carry out an additional $35 million in grant work awarded by the National Institutes of Health, says spokesman Todd Langton. It has 10 open positions posted on its website, including a faculty gig, a couple of research associate posts, and three postdoctoral fellowships.

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3 responses to “Who’s Hiring in Seattle Biotech? It’s Not All Layoffs, All the Time”

  1. Seattle says:

    Nanostring Technologies, 3 jobs

  2. Richard says:

    It is really great to read about companies that are hiring. Research still needs to be done, even in a horrible economy.

    A large fraction, if not a majority, of the PhD level positions appear to be found at non-profit research institutions. The biotech companies appear to mainly want more entry-level technical positions.

    This seems to be continuing a trend of research being performed at non-profit institutions while corporations are interested mainly in development and clinical trials. Technology is being nurtured for a longer period of time in non-profits, before corporations take the ball and run with it.

    Thus the different needs for biotech companies and non-profit research institutions.

  3. Richard says:

    I wanted to say thanks, Luke. It is this sort of ‘personalized’ news and reporting that makes Xconomy so much fun to read. This is not an article I would be likely to read in any of the MSM.

    I stopped my Times subscription some time ago and get my news online. Xconomy is a must to find out what is happening locally. Nice job.