Thursday, December 18, 2008

Biotech Bailout? Enough Already!

I'm living in Canada, running a headhunting firm called Cortex Search Inc.. My business revenue is dependent on biotech companies hiring new positions, or filling vacant positions.

Success has come from my business being drawn from small biotech companies, usually less than 100 people, and 99% of the time the companies are funded, but have no revenue. The good companies stay around until there is no chance their product will be a success. Not because they ran out of money, but because their product had no potential to save lives or improve quality of life.

Now, it seems, some of the biotech executives are feeling like the boys from detroit. A biotech bailout was recently proposed.

If ever an industry would understand Darwin, i thought it would be the biotech industry.
Trust me, show investors a drug that helps cancer patients, lowers cholesterol, relieves pain, treats arthritis effectively, etc., there will be investors... Enless their money was with Bernie Madoff.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My country is falling apart. Oh, Canada ;-(

For those of you that aren't Canadian, but are somewhat alert, i want to let you know that a "political coup" is going on here at the federal level.

Simply go to any of the newspapers like "The National Post" or "The Globe and Mail" and you'll see that the federal government, albeit a minority, is about to be taken over by a coalition of the other parties. Basically, we have four parties; the current "conservative" party (pretty left if you're an american, though) a socialist party (NDP), a Liberal Party, and The Bloc Quebecois (BQ). The BQ party is a separatist party supporting Quebec to separate from Canada, and they are the party holding the democratic rights and privaledges of the other 9 provinces of this country in their hands that are open for federal money, and using that money to promote succession from Canada.

For my American readers, all the parties up here are more like the Democratic party than any resemblance to the Republican Party. Although, that view probably differs the further west you go in Canada.

Another election is not far off in Canada, and that will cost another $300 million dollars, so almost $1billion tax dollars going to elections in Canada; during the worst economic environment in history.


I apologize, more stuff relevant to what the nature of this blog should be about tomorrow.

I'm moving to the Antarctic. Oh, wait, I think I read somewhere the ice shelf down there is about to collapse, just like western economies.

I hope the future holds more promise than tomorrow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: "US IS IN A RECESSION" - oh ya, and Biotech funding down. Go figure.

I received a newsflash from CNN that the US is in a recession. Isnt that like telling your friend he has a pimple on his face after he's already popped it?

Regardless, a friend of mine keeps forwarding me the doom and gloom of the biotech industry, including an article detailing the fiscal troubles on the horizons.

Read the article here from the Boston Globe called "Biotech Firms cutting back as capital grows scarce"

I thought about the article's content then replied to my friend with the following:

The financing may be down in some areas, true. However, companies with a good drug program in place won't die, as pharma companies are still (at least for now) cash rich and investing in smaller biotechs or buying them. Companies with shit drugs, ideas or products will die, and allow better new drugs and products to flow. The university is a strong place where drugs get discovered.

Let's hope academic research funding doesn't get slashed too much as tax revenue dwindles, and nation deficits and debt rise, that would put a huge black hole into innovative drug and diagnostic discovery. A perfect example of this is: "Stem Cell spin-offs merge with $18MM in new VC Cash", in an article I saw at

Friday, November 28, 2008

Emerging Canadian Companies.

I'm still busy recruiting a director of radiopharma, and a vp/cso for a diagnostic company. In the meantime, I was surfing around and thought it may be a good idea to show the world, on another platform, that the Canadian biotech industry is alive and well. Okay, it's well. Okay, it's alive.

Check out the page here that is a subpage of, that talks about emgerging biotech companies in Canada

Some of you out there may find this a bit strange, but a lot of the Canadian companies do have government grants, some don't but many do. The problem is, as you know, few of the investments/grants into these companies don't amount to much. Job creation yes, curing disease, not so much.

I say happy gobble gobble to Americans out there. I also say that I think we should remember that the evil that took place in India this week is a wake-up call for many to tell their loved friends and family about how you feel about them.

Interestingly, an acquaintance of mine from University, was in the hotel that got raided by the terroists. Small world, I know, but simply a reminder of how small the world is. I heard he is back safely in Canada, thankfully. I won't put his email up here without his permission, but I will ask him if i can. His email details the time he went to sleep in his hotel room, to the time he falls asleep on a plane bound back to Canada, with the incredible account of his experience during the terrorist attack.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Interesting blogs, twitter, etc.

Part of my goal is to eventually get listed as part of the blogs at

Getting on there, I think, may be a great way to promote Cortex, and my business, and just keep getting known in the mainstream biotech world in the US. Traditionally, I have been working with smaller companies, say less than 100 people, without revenues, but in personnel growth phases. More biotech (and pharma) companies might not have me on their radar, so, that's one of my goals using this blog.

I can link up with other blogs for some content, like Sciencebase who has a bit more of a focus on the science side of things.

I am also trying to figure out how to add people to my "following" list at twitter. Can anyone help me out?

note; I figured out the twitter thing. i'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Time to blog again

These sure are interesting times. As a sole practioner I am still very busy within the biotechnology industry. Currently, I am working on the following positions:

1. Deputy Director of Raw Materials (Pharma company in Toronto)
2. Vice President/CSO in vitro Diagnostics start-up in Toronto
3. Executive Vice President/CSO of a small molecule drug discovery/development company in the Pacific Northwest
4. Director of Development, Radiopharmaceutical company

Recently, I have closed deals ranging from VP Sales and Marketing, Analytical Chemist, Director Medical Affairs.

I think the biopharma industries are going to be hit, and hit hard in this economy, but drug discovery and the search for scientific pursuits will not stop. Plus, I also have read in a few places and spoken with some experts that suggest the VC money will still be flowing, and the big pharma companies, who are still cash rich (pipeline poor) will seek out smaller start-ups in early development to either partner with or right-out purchase.

I am surprised at how many executives are still willing to relocate, or believe that they can relocate without too much of a loss on their real estate holdings. Yet, I do have a candidate that relocated for a job 8 months ago from Philly to San Francisco and now owns a house she paid over $2million dollars for in Philly, and a house in San Fran worth about the same. She is VERY open to relocating to Canada, perhaps to be a bit of a "mortgage dodger"?? Who knows, but this is definitely an interesting time.

What will happen in the new year is yet to be determined.

As a scientist, NOT a headhunter, I became excited when I saw the following two blogs

1. which is a blog about drug discovery and the pharmaceutical industry. Check it out

2. The name speaks for itself. There are some amazing links, including the "ask the recruiter" section of the site. I strongly encourage everyone to surf over to these to blogs and enrich their brain.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Split Network for the biotech and pharma industry

Business is pretty good so far this year. I've picked up a couple of new clients, and keep working with existing clients. Jobs range from VP level research and development to Quality Assurance.

The summer is approaching and the golf season here in Canada is only about 6 weeks away (fingers crossed).

Obviously, as a recruiter, I am constantly developing and expanding my network, and my database is broad and spans various levels of expertise in the biopharma industry.

I imagine that other sole practioners, like myself, have money left on the table with candidates that didn't get placed, or jobs not filled because we just can't know everyone. So, I'm putting it out there for search firms out there that want to set-up a formal split network. Trust is going to be a big issue, and to be involved in this platform, everyone accepted to join will have to adhere to maintaining integrity and trust. I believe the industry is small enough to facilitate this.

Therefore, I am asking individuals/corporations/practioners that are interested in being involved in a strictly biopharma split network to contact me by email at:

Immediately, I am seeking a VP R and D for a company who has expertise in neuroscience (alzheimer's or parkinson's etc). This is for the development of drugs, specifically large molecule drugs.