CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Resums at the ready, more than 1,130job-seekers -- at least half of them Ph.D.s -- crowded into thegrand ballroom of a leading hotel here on Monday to confrontnearly two dozen biotechnology companies in a mood to hire.

The applicants were responding to full-page advertisements innewspapers throughout the U.S., plus Science magazine,announcing "Biotech '93," a career fair organized by one of thelargest and oldest such recruitment enterprises in the country.

Ernie Lendman, chairman of the Lendman Group of VirginiaBeach, Va., told BioWorld that his firm stages 120 professionalemployment fairs a year, but that this was its first venture intothe biotechnology job market. The ad in Science, he added, hadyielded another 450 resums.

Lendman said that the event here in the Boston area hadgenerated so much excitement among would-be employers andemployees that he plans to repeat it in the San Francisco BayArea this coming April.

Participating companies each paid $3,250 to attend, with a$300 discount for members of the Association of BiotechnologyCompanies (ABC), which co-sponsored the occasion. People insearch of employment entered free, but were pre-screened atthe door to filter out those lacking qualifications.

Steve Campbell, the group's president, told BioWorld that FDA'sCenter for Drug Evaluation and Research signed on "because ithas 600 job openings in this field." He also noted that CentocorInc., an early registrant, maintained its participation despiteadverse clinical trial results that drove down its stock lastweek.

Celia McQuiston, Centocor's manager of human resources forR&D, told BioWorld that she had garnered more than 200resums at the fair, and that the Malvern, Pa., company'srecent reverses have not affected its hiring program. "We have20-some job openings in R&D," she said.

Rhonda S. Alderman, the FDA recruitment specialist who cameto the fair representing the agency's Drug Evaluation andResearch Division, said she was looking for chemists andpharmacologists to review new drug applications. Most of theresums she picked up were from molecular biologists, so shewill pass them on to the FDA Center for Biologics. The "500 to600 positions" for which she is pre-recruiting, she toldBioWorld, opened up with recent passage of the FDA user-feelegislation. Before actual hiring can begin, Congress must passan appropriation bill authorizing the expenditures.

Human Resources representative Mattie Schadt of CambridgeBiotech Corp. of Worcester, Mass., said she came "looking forlots of manufacturing people, from junior entry level tomanagerial level." With "15 or 20 positions to fill," sheshortstopped "237 resums at the fair, and more keep faxing into us since."

Recruiter Joan Curtice of Creative Biomolecules Inc. ofHopkinton, Mass., was amazed when "people showed up at thedoor, and at least three or four hundred of them came to mybooth. It was a wave of qualified humanity, of professionalmembers of the biotech environment."

She intends to circulate about 50 of the 300 resums handedher, "which are probably applicable to at least eight of my openpositions." Curtice observed that "success equals one hire;that's worth your time at a job fair. I'd love to see half adozen."

She suggests that "current hiring efforts are a clear indicator ofthe growth orientation of this industry."

-- David N. Leff Science Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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