Skip to main content

Blog Housekeeping

A Quick News Update

I wanted to mention something going on back behind the curtain here, namely that my employer and I have parted ways. A number of my other colleagues are going through similar experiences as things reorganize, but for my own part, I’m looking into several new opportunities in the Boston/Cambridge area. And that’s just the place to do it, too – I’ve really been enjoying seeing some of the things that are going on, and I’m actively adding appointments to the calendar

Blogging will continue apace. The only change is that if you’ve got a neat new paper that looks worth blogging about, I wouldn’t mind having the PDF as well, since for the time being I can’t just wave my hand and have the full text (legally) appear.

139 comments on “A Quick News Update”

  1. Marcin says:

    Another one bites the dust! I am sure you will not go to Amgen…
    There will be time to collect and publish your blogs, recipes, etc
    Good luck!

  2. Anthony Azzara says:

    Best wishes on the search!

  3. myma says:


  4. John Wayne says:

    I’m excited for you; you get to do the next thing!

    You probably have the largest network in all of Boston, with the interesting caveat that you don’t know all of the people who know you via your blog. Let us know if you need help.

  5. Twelve says:

    Congrats on your graduation!

    Unconnected Q: have you seen the New Yorker article partly titled ‘Is Death Optional?…’

    Much to discuss. Can forward link if needed.

  6. Adam Hallett says:


    Are you opposed to using Sci-Hub on moral grounds?

  7. Chemcat says:

    I agree that one of the unsung bummers of the job transition phase is losing journal/database access until a person finds new employment. Best wishes on your job search, Derek!

    1. pete says:

      ..not to mention access to fancy espresso machines

      happy hunting, Derek

    2. Steve says:

      No, the worst thing you’re leaving behind must surely be all that great unpublished work which no-one left has any particular expertise (or incentive) to get published. Good luck on the job search Derek.

  8. bhip says:

    Hang in there. It sucks (God, don’t I know it….) but hopefully something better is on the horizon for you & your colleagues.

  9. anon says:

    It would be extremely interesting to see your resume Derek…

    1. anon says:

      I don’t think his resume is extraordinary. His connections on the other hand….

  10. MM says:

    Did you blog too much so they let you go?

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      Hah! No, that wasn’t a factor. A number of non-blogging types were affected as well, so we have a control set.

      1. anon says:

        Do employers negotiate the time about blogging in your job interviews? I am guessing employers are aware of your online presence.

        1. RM says:

          My understanding was that Derek blogs in his “down time”, that is, during the train ride to work and during lunch/breaks. So instead of reading blogs and doing Facebook (as “normal” employees do during that time), he’s writing blogs.

          But yeah, any employer who is unaware that Derek has a blog is probably an employer that’s so out of touch that Derek doesn’t want to work for them. (Is Theranos hiring?)

          1. Derek Lowe says:

            And that blogging means reading the current literature, which has actually helped me out a lot over the years. . .

          2. Dr. Manhatten says:

            Explains why I haven’t seen him get on at South Acton for a while…

            Best of luck with the job search; I hope you have several options to choose among!

  11. Anon says:

    Sincerely, good for you, and good luck with your search. I’m sure you won’t have any problem at all finding a great role, and I hope you end up joining our organization!

    Just don’t put “medicinal chemistry” on your CV. It doesn’t seem to do any favours these days. 🙁

  12. Ray Reeves says:

    Best of luck Derek, I hope the total number affected was not too great; my prayers go out to all of them.

  13. Ray says:

    Best wishes for you, Derek! It’s been a great pleasure reading your blogs.

  14. sgcox says:

    Since Derek was always very scrupulous about not posting anything remotely connected to his employer, the biggest pharmas, Pfizer? Novartis? must be queuing up to enlist him now…

    1. Passerby says:

      Yes, Derek working for Pfizer. Right.

  15. Ted says:

    I’ve been through a few of these myself (roughly 4…) and I’ve been surprised at how positive some of these transitions look in the rear view mirror. I imagine it’s a window into the life of an electron in a circuit…

    Good luck, Derek!


  16. MoMo says:

    Been wondering about Vertex and their pipeline and how they can keep up the appearance of actually being worth their stock price. For a SBDD company they sure don’t do it very often or very well.

    Good Luck Derek! You deserve better than VRTX.

  17. OEM says:

    Good Luck Derek

  18. Peter Shenkin says:

    Best of luck, Derek. I’ll be listening in….

  19. HTSguy says:

    Sorry to hear that! Best wishes for your hunt.

  20. An Old Chemist says:

    Hi Derek, Your new job will likely be better than the current job, as happens with most of the laid off people. Call Dan Sternbach, he has got a big network of laid off med chems all over USA. BTW, I guess that you must have made a truck-load of money in the Vertex stock now that you have been there so long.

  21. BigPharma Employee says:

    I wish you all the best in your next endeavour.
    Thanks for all the great blogposts, I hope you will be able to continue to blog.

  22. Ash@Curious Wavefunction says:

    Good luck Derek! I am sure you will end up at a great place.

  23. Steve says:

    Sorry to hear about that.. good luck

  24. Hap says:

    I am sorry to hear that. I hope you get a better job soon.

  25. Vaudaux says:

    “A number of non-blogging types were affected as well, so we have a control set.” Are you willing to say how large the control set is?

    Best of luck from someone whose position at Vertex vanished in the blink of an eye four years ago. As when someone stops hitting you on the head, it’s a great feeling!

    Re journal articles, remember you can walk into the library of the Harvard Medical School (aka Boston Medical Library) and get access to any of their online journals, simply by showing your local public library card to the people at the circulation desk.

    1. HTSguy says:

      aka Countway Library of Medicine. I took many fine naps there as a grad student 🙂

    2. MIT Library used to just let anyone use one set of (very slow) computers which could access all their journals. I once almost left my keys there — they were attached to the USB thumbdrive. Luckily I was on my bike & quickly discovered the issue. I haven’t been by there in years so I don’t know if that policy is still in place.

  26. Alex G says:

    Best wishes on your job search, Derek.

  27. luysii says:

    Old cowboy saying — no man is so rich he don’t need neighbors. You have a lot of them. Good luck

  28. NMH says:

    You appear to be my age (early 50’s), so I’ll be curious to see how quickly you get your next job…..

  29. anon forever says:

    No chance to switch to a purely public persona? I’m thinking blog/conference/journal editor. And/or there must be an academic position somewhere at a smaller school, I would think.

    Seems like the med chem labhead role for someone over 50 is a battle. Plus, med chem hasn’t really changed in a decade, so most people start getting bored with the job too.

    Best of luck, I find the news depressing…

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      I’m actually not depressed at all, if that helps – looking forward to trying something new!

    2. 25+ years in and loving Drug Discovery says:

      Anon forever, I’m not sure where you are working if you think Med Chem hasn’t changed in 10 years. If that is anyone’s experience, they should start looking for a job at another company ASAP, because their job is in danger. There are companies (including big Pharma companies like the one I work for) that change with the times and encourage you to grow and learn throughout your career. Look for them! Always keep your tools sharp, and network so you have some friends at other companies, just in case.

  30. Chemjobber says:

    Best wishes, Derek.

  31. milkshake says:

    Boston biotech is doing well, and I am sure there will be something for there you – perhaps a smaller company where you can have a better control over the direction of your projects. Best luck! (And let me know if and when you need a process development chemist)

  32. Chrispy says:

    You can use the time to pull together the “Things I Won’t Work With” book!

    I just want to say that I am sick of the constant layoffs in our industry. Very few of my colleagues have avoided the axe at one time or another, and sometimes staying was worse than being shown the door. I know several people who are now gun shy from the experience: they stay quiet about anything remotely controversial and fawn over their bosses’ ideas. Honestly, in many ways they have stopped being scientifically objective. Who can blame them? They just want to keep their jobs.

    I just want to say I think it stinks. There used to be a premium for being able to think independently, and the scientific merits of a plan would be subjected to active debate. The most valuable scientists were often the most vocal and opinionated — these are typically the first weeded out in layoffs, though. Now it seems our industry has collective PTSD and no one wants to rock the boat. This is how dumb decisions like buying Sirtris happen.

    OK, rant over.

    Good luck, Derek! I’m sure you will find that your blog has impressed quite a few people and that you will get your choice of what to do next.

  33. echoes says:

    Hope you find something new very soon!

  34. Anony says:

    Really enjoy reading your blog. Best wishes for whatever is next. Med chemists seem to be taking a lot of hits. I worry about all that happens behind the curtains in China.

  35. Palo says:

    Good luck, Derek!

  36. Chewedupandspitout says:

    Too experienced (company says “we’re paying your boss for those kinds of contributions”) you make too much money, you have a family so your healthcare costs too much, and so on and so on, human resources says thanks for the memories, “do you know how much less we can pay an H1B”, see ya.

    Too many fail to realize that a lot of “career paths” almost always guarantee you wont be allowed to work until you’re 65.

  37. lynn says:

    Good luck, Derek! I’m sure something wonderful will come along. if not at the bench then something equally fulfilling.

  38. Peter Kenny says:

    Best of luck, Derek, and I hope that you will find a great new position at lightning speed.

  39. Bruce Hamilton says:

    Happy hunting, and best wishes for your search.

  40. dearieme says:

    Chin up! Fight the good fight. Best wishes.

  41. Derek Freyberg says:

    Your blog has kept me informed (always) and entertained (frequently) for several years. Best wishes for a short hunt and a better (however you choose to define better) job.

  42. cancer_man says:

    This is what happens when you don’t take your NR!

    Speaking of which, you could work for Elysium as one of their numerous science advisers. How cool would that be? Anyway, good luck.

  43. Kling says:

    Hi Derek – you will do well. Maybe blog about your job hunting experience. There are ridiculous interviewers out there.

  44. Nick K says:

    The very best of luck with your job search.

    Have you thought of making the leap to full-time blogging and writing? You certainly have a knack for it.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      I still really enjoy doing the science, though (and with two kids heading to college, I could use the scientific income as well!)

  45. Tongue-in-cheek says:

    Have you sent your CV to Nativis yet?

  46. Pennpenn says:

    Best of luck in your job hunting! May the Beast of Employment not evade your spears too long.

  47. NewIndustryScientist says:

    How do you get used to constant layoffs? Without getting scared/depressed? I’m a new grad in industry and it just frightens me the idea of a future layoff.

    Best of luck in your job search!

    1. GirlChemist says:

      You get used to it, and also realize that life goes on and things will work out. Maybe not the way you envisioned, but they’ll work out.

    2. NHR_GUY says:

      Been in the industry with 19 years of continuous employment at four major pharmaceutical companies. In spite of 2 site closures, a couple company buyouts (by the same company) and since 2002 constantly living under the layoff sword of Damocles I have managed to somehow survive. What I found to work for me is the following:
      1) ride the wave, don’t fight it
      2) keep your head above water, and below the radar
      3) accept and embrace change….it is the one constant in this business
      4) be a positive voice (even when its easy to be cynical), people will gravitate to you
      5) be the employee everyone wants to work with
      6) During times of layoffs, closures etc. avoid the rumor mills and mongers. One thing I have always found is that nobody knows anything.
      6) have faith in your self. Having been on both sides of the hiring table, you’d be surprised to find out good help is really hard to find. Be the good help
      Well that’s my two cents
      Best of Luck

    3. LMH says:

      Also, be prudent and don’t buy the biggest house and fanciest car. Pay off debt, save your money. Definitely celebrate and splurge a little but have a rainy day fund. “Eff-it” money goes a long way to fight anxiety.

      (R&D chemist in two very large merging companies)

  48. matt says:

    Best wishes to you and your family during this uncertainty. This blog has been a wonderful read for many years–I appreciate both the content and the persistence to keep going so well, so long.

    1. pete says:

      Well said and I’ll second that. I’m hugely impressed how you’ve kept the blog going at such a high level of quality over the many years. Rock on, brother.

  49. Anonymous Researcher snaw says:

    Best wishes for a quick and successful job hunt; I was there myself not too long ago. Landed in a good place, but there were some ups and downs along the way.

    I do hope you get the Things I Won’t Work With book completed during the hiatus!

  50. MightBeARedneck says:

    Time to write that book

    1. Mark Thorson says:

      Time to start that empire of predatory chemistry journals.

    2. David Antonini says:


  51. GoldenRabbit says:

    The very best of luck with your next job!

  52. 123 says:

    Good luck, Derek. Hope Conman did ot have anything to do with you!Hope you do not ask your kids to choose medicinal chemistry. It frightens….hope you will find the position and income to keep you at blogging for the benefet of the DD INDUSTRY.

  53. Vinod says:

    All the very best, Derek!! I am sure you’ll land a much better position! Your blogs are absolutely fantastic, and a huge learning experience for me, who made the switch from academia to industry!!

  54. anon the II says:

    Sorry to hear about your separation. Hope you and the rest of your colleagues find something lucrative and enjoyable real soon. I’ve enjoyed your blog over the years and hope you keep it up. God’s speed.

  55. Dionysius Rex says:

    Best wishes on the search Derek! Is it only Cambridge that is suffering? San Diego or UK sites?

    1. WindowCleaners says:

      They’re actually in a fancy building on Bostons harbor, not in Cambridge.

    2. InfMP says:
      translation – site closure for all chemists in MTL too

  56. 123qwerty says:

    Good Luck Derek!
    You made people like me -who are early to mid-thirties- got introduced into the basic facts of the industrial aspect of our academic lab life.

    Even though I would be only a H1B candidate at my luckiest day in life, I hope I am allowed read your blog.

  57. Usually lurking says:

    I am typically too ignorant to contribute to the commentariat here, but one doesn’t have to be a walking encyclopedia to know that you will be in high demand. My only fear is that you will be scooped up TOO soon. I hope you get to enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation before starting the next adventure.

  58. JimM says:

    You must be one Hell of a chemist if that work even begins to match the significance of what you’re doing here, Derek.

    I can’t imagine what you’ll end up doing, because I couldn’t have imagined anyone doing this.

  59. Prof says:

    Derek, consider going academic. You are a natural for this and you will succeed. I did the switch at age 50 and I couldn’t be happier. Good luck and thanks for your excellent blog.

    1. tangent says:

      I don’t know if Derek has any interest in going academic, but I would certainly be interested in reading his take on that world as he sees it from the inside.

  60. AndyM says:

    Derek – I hope you find some time to write a book about the science, luck, and hubris of drug discovery. Business, science, and technology are strange bedfellows in the drug pipeline that would make a good read for the general public. You have ample material, perspectives, and the talent to write a best seller. Good luck in the next phase of your career.

  61. Randi says:

    As a blogger and journalist, you can get probably access to ScienceDirect for free, as long Science Mag signs off on it. That way, you’ll still get access to a lot of studies. Other sites, such as Wiley, will give you access to a handful of journals for free if you register as press.

  62. Gregory Hlatky says:

    I hate HR types with the heat of a million suns. Young bits of fluff with a degree in some “social science” who robotically recite their lines and ruin the lives of people who do really tangible and useful things. The little yapping lap dogs of the MBA consultants. Companies don’t have to have R&D but they always need HR.

    1. anon the II says:

      Greg, you’re expending a lot of bile on the wrong people. You should turn that heat on the people who send those poor HR guys in to do the dirty work.

      1. Hap says:

        They did choose to do what they do, though. They may not be the main responsible party, but without someone to do the dirty work, the responsible parties likely wouldn’t do it or would have to find some other way.

    2. Wile E. Coyote, Genius says:

      As a former boss of mine used to say: You can’t spell horrible without HR.

  63. entropyGain says:

    Please please please, go to a very small company that is willing to let you tell the startup tale to your loyal readers! It would be redemptive for the whole community.

  64. Dr CNS says:

    their loss… good luck in your next chapter.

  65. SteveM says:

    Re: Chewedupandspitout above.

    Concur. The ruthless Grim Reaper swinging his scythe that lops off the heads of highly competent middle-aged American scientists has “H-1B” stenciled on his back.

    P.S. Makes perfect tactical sense for Vertex. Whack senior American staff now and do the H-1B replacements (Best & Brightest of course) shortly thereafter to beat the possible Trump regulations that may limit the perverse H-1B opportunities downstream.

    P.P.S. Best of luck to you Derek whichever way the wind blows.

    1. Anon says:

      You can literally see how many H1B or green card applications have been filed by Vertex. Read the whole thing and see yourself.

      1. c says:

        30ish H1B hires certainly doesn’t seem like a large number. A very small number compared to the thousands involved in the IT sector.

        Are the H1B fear monger’s misplacing their rage, or is this just not the full story?

        1. Forensic says:

          This latest bout of complaints about H1-B is definitely a case of misplaced frustration, and the old “they’re taking our jobs” trope. I am guessing this was all stirred up by the 60 Minute episode last week or fortnight, and the fact that H1B is topical, despite how no one in med chem are losing their jobs to underqualified and low salaried foreigners. Think about it for a second…

        2. anon says:

          Keep in mind that that number includes new applications, renewals, relocations, changes etc. So they are not even hiring 30 new people every year. Also, the number includes all the jobs, not just chemists. H1B abuse is a big problem in especially tech sector. The salary data in the link clearly shows that no one is stealing chemists’ jobs for $60K a year in pharma.

      2. SteveM says:

        The question is Vertex’s hiring objectives in the future. The standard mechanism is to do the layoffs, wait 6 months for the smoke to clear and then restaff with cheaper (immigrant) labor.

        Also keep in mind that a single H-1B visa represents up to 6 employee years, I.e., 3 years per visa and then a 3 year extension. So 10,000 H-1B visas granted per year represents up to 60,000 immigrant employees at full implementation.

        I recently finished some work for a small quant shop owned by an American. They were staffing up and considering ONLY Asian H-1B applicants by default. American applicants were shut out.

        I had no dog in that fight, but I know what I saw…

        1. Forensic says:

          H1B visa goes to a single applicant who then works for six years. See link for salary, none are being paid less than American applicants. Med chem positions can’t be filled by cheap labor. No idea what a quant shop is, but somehow I don’t think it relates to this discussion.

          1. SteveM says:

            You no doubt know the med chem environment better than I. It’s my impression that senior American scientists have been driven out of labs. True? You tell me. If so, who is replacing them? That’s a real, not an adversarial question.

            About H-1Bs and salaries, a large immigrant cohort depresses ALL salaries by their very presence. Simple law of supply and demand. Silicon Valley aside, that’s why IT salaries have been flat for years. What has Phama R&D salary profile looked like?

            The double whammy is that older American technologists are run off by age discrimination and then replaced by H-1Bs. So older Americans get kicked to the curb, and younger Americans don’t get hired to replace them.

  66. Grumpy Old Alchemist says:

    As a retired chemist who worked at one of the big pharmas during the golden years (1980s), I am very saddened by the current state of the industry. Great companies that used to be run by visionary scientists are now run by piss-ant MBAs and lawyers who would struggle to pass a basic introductory science course and have no business running science-based companies. They know nothing about science but the do know how to conduct mass layoffs of talented scientists and use the resulting cost savings to justify massive increases in their own salaries.
    And while we’re on the subject of “layoffs” – can we stop using that term, please? These companies are not laying people off, they’re FIRING them, often for no reason other than the fact that they’ve passed the age of 50. Layoff implies a temporary dismissal during a period of slow business with the intention of rehiring once business picks up. None of those conditions are true for the current drug industry. These companies are wildly profitable and they have no intention of ever rehiring any of these people. It is also untrue that these positions are being eliminated (another inaccurate term that is often used to justify mass firings). In many cases, job postings for very similar “new” positions are posted shortly after the mass firings. Of course, the “new” positions require much less experience so they can be filled with much younger and less expensive scientists.
    What’s really going on here is that the MBAs and lawyers running the companies, who know nothing about science, don’t understand or value the experience and knowledge of long-term employees. So, they fire the highly compensated older employees and replace them with less expensive younger ones. “But age discrimination is against the law!” you say? Yes, it is. So is exceeding the speed limit on highways but drivers do it anyway and most of them get away with it because they know ways to evade enforcement. Similarly, pharma execs know how to get away with age discrimination. Among other things, they fire just enough young chemists to make it difficult to prove age discrimination and severance packages for terminated employees are conditional on waiving the right to sue for age discrimination. The lawyers running big pharma today don’t know science but they do know how to dodge the intent of the law while staying within the letter.
    In closing, here is some advice for the younger scientists who are the current beneficiaries of big pharma’s short-sighted strategy: Enjoy it while it lasts but do not expect a long career in industry. If you are lucky enough to still be employed at age 50, you WILL be fired shortly thereafter and you will find it difficult to find employment in your 50s. You need to have an exit strategy. Learn as much as you can during your time at big pharma, make contacts, publish papers to get external visibility and save money for the rainy days that will come. Above all, do not expect loyalty from your employer. The MBAs and lawyers will throw you under the bus without a second thought if that’s what they think they need to do to keep boosting their compensation. Keep an eye out for other opportunities – don’t stay with your employer out of a misguided sense of loyalty. The company will not be loyal to you so you owe no loyalty to the company. Do what’s best for yourself and don’t worry about the impact on the company because the one thing you can be absolutely certain of in this uncertain world is that the company does not care about you or the impact of its actions on you. Good luck!

    1. Anon says:

      Blah blah whatever. Here’s your pink slip.

    2. Harshreality says:

      All the business types see is empty pipelines, so they say “exactly what is your experience worth”?

  67. Ken (from Jury Duty) says:

    Good luck, Derek!

  68. Toluene says:

    I agree with Prof! Going academic is the best way to be relatively sure of employment into your mid-60s. I joined an academic group eight years ago after 23 years in Pharma and have had a blast

    1. Dr. Manhattan says:

      Three and a half years ago after 26 years in 3 Big Pharmas. Started out as an assistant professor and am now back in academia (Harvard Medical School) and loving every minute of it!

  69. wannabe says:

    ouch, guess I shouldn’t have mentioned my appreciation for your blog on my co-op application to vertex med chem? so continues my hunt for the necessary experience for an entry level position…

  70. SteveM says:

    Re: Grumpy Old Alchemist

    Supplementary to that advice, I have commented before that I started out as a BS level Chemist but then went to grad school and studied analytics. So that became my career.

    If a scientist is out of work and looking for a career change, analytics may be something to consider. Right now that opportunity space is very robust and you use the same kind logical thinking to do the work. Hopkins offers a 9 course specialization in “Decision Science” on Coursera. It used to be free but now I think is 39 bucks a course or something for a certification. You learn R, data management and statistical methods. I taught myself R and other stuff from those courses. There are other DS course offerings and tutorials all over the place.

    The pluses for analytics is that the ramp-up and overhead costs are low, (Coursera, laptop, Office & open source software). If you can line up clients, you work off of your laptop from wherever. The minuses are maybe 1099 work, so you need to self-insure and handle other expenses. And the H-1B mess has invaded that space too, but the work often requires close client interaction, i.e., good communications skills, so that gives the American consultant a leg up.

    Again, I was but a BS Chemist, but some excellent Ph.D. scientists (Princeton, Yale) I knew ended up as patent examiners when their time was up to meet the H-1B Reaper. I’m thinking better to prepare for what Grumpy Old Alchemist suggests is now almost the inevitable.

    1. Taylor says:

      Unsurprising. It’s been decades since either Princeton or Yale has had a respectable chemistry department

      1. Lipschitz says:

        Also “ending up as patent examiners” makes it sound like a disaster, when many have gone that route and found it to be a much more rewarding & lucrative career than chemistry.

        1. Hap says:

          You do have to read patents though…maybe they’re better than management books or SOPs, though?

          1. Mark Thorson says:

            I’m sure the glee comes from citing prior art that sinks or severely restricts the patent application. Especially, if the applicant is a company you are not fond of.

  71. NOVA says:

    Best of luck Derek, but no doubt you will do fine through all of this. As someone who chose to leave a large pharma organization after 20+ years working there rather than relocate, I can say it was anxiety at the start, followed by a sense of freedom, and now I am quite happy with my new job. I bet you’d be a great medchem consultant if you chose to go down that path.

  72. NCC says:

    Best of luck Derek! I’ve been enjoying your blog for years and wish you the best. I am sure you’ll land on your feet.

  73. Robert Roggers says:


    Best of luck to you. Your blog was a main-stay of my reading while I was unemployed. I hope that you are able to transition quickly.

  74. Alquemie says:

    Change, whether sought or thrust upon you, is always a positive.

    From the evidence of your blog posts (an enviable testament), I can’t see how it’s possible for you not to become gainfully employed (and most likely with the luxury of choice).

    1. Hap says:

      Not everything gets better all the time. You still have to deal with changes whether or not you like them or they are good for you, but not all change is good.

  75. G2 says:

    This week @ Vertex (besidoe others):

    Posting Job Title Head of Medicinal Chemistry, Boston Research
    Req ID 9092BR
    Department Research Leadership Team
    Posting Location Boston, MA

  76. linuxsuperfan says:



    luck with the job search, Derek!

  77. David Borhani says:


    When I saw your posts were coming a bit slowly of late, I assumed it was just because you were celebrating a Happy Nowruz with family. I hope that was the case nonetheless, and Spring is right around the corner.

    Whatever you choose to do, I know you’ll land on both feet running, without a doubt! Like others, I will put in a request for the “Things I Won’t Work With!” book as a wonderful complement to the Chemistry Book, which I have much enjoyed.

    Good luck, let us know how we can help,
    نوروز پیروز

  78. Featherson says:


    I would be interested in a blog about “behavioral interviewing” a process that you will soon encounter. An interesting system designed to avoid any possibility of hiring talent and hire only Bulls#%& and BUNKO artists. See GHlatky comments above. Good Luck.

  79. jbiosch says:

    Hi Derek,
    take the advantage of being able to take a real vacation say the middle east or Europe and enjoy life for the next 4 weeks. Take it as an opportunity to do this without running into troubles with your company. You will find a job that suits you.

    All the best

  80. J Severs says:

    Sorry to hear this news. But deep chemistry knowledge, expert communication skills, wide network? I think you will be fine. Good luck and keep up the good work!

  81. loupgarous says:

    Good luck, Derek! Hope you find a better gig!

  82. Li Zhi says:

    My only piece of advice is don’t set your sights too low. Chances are, at your age, you’ll have more difficulty landing a job you’re overqualified for than under-.
    As far as vacation/time off. I’ve regretted not taking an extended vacation between jobs, but only after I’ve landed another. I’ve no insights on this one, depends on your personal situation and attitude (as well as family politics). I’d suggest consideration of finding a seminar/conference somewhere (warm? mountainous?) where you can not only do some relaxation, but network as well. Take a look at the tax consequences. I guess I do have another piece of advice, if you choose to take some time off, take a definite amount of time and then get back into the harness. As you probably already know, job hunting is a stressful full time job and it helps to have a full head of steam which a lack of structure can derail.

  83. Kthe Knight says:

    I found this on Vertex website:
    Vertex is proud of its team of scientists and business leaders and of the networks it has assembled to help advance the company in the years ahead.
    Furthermore I always thought (since my Abbott times) Jeff Leyden is a true leader who wants to keep good scientists in his company.
    I think I was wrong. Maybe he should sent in his resignation for a lousy job.
    Why is not anybody of these big shots in the “being great again” US saying right away:
    Hi Derek, join us?
    Good luck, Derek.

  84. McChemist says:

    I see Vertex stock is up 23% on the news that you are no longer working for them.

    (HA! Just kidding! Seriously, good luck on the job search!)

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      The news had to hit sometime.

  85. Michael Cunningham says:

    You can always work out of one of the many university libraries in the area if you need PDFs.

  86. The Aqueous Layer says:

    What’s even weirder, from FiercePharma:

    “Meanwhile, at the Boston location, an internal reorganization left 5 to 15 longtime employees without jobs, a source close to the company told FiercePharma. A few employees moved from the Canada office to Boston, the source said, “but most were cut loose.” The cuts in Boston followed a trickle of departures by other veteran staffers.”

    Longtime Employees = old and/or expensive?

  87. Molecular Pharmacology Guy says:

    Very sorry to hear that Derek, hope you and your colleagues land back on your feet in the not too-distant future.

    I would echo some previous comments and your attitude in terms of 1) how being laid off can give you time to fulfill some rewarding, non-professional items on your bucket list (e.g. long vacation, reconnecting with friends & family, side project, finally going to the gym on a daily basis…) and 2) change being, usually, a good thing in terms of “rejuvenating” a career and/or providing new and invigorating challenges.

    So, enjoy your temporary time off and good luck with your next challenge!

  88. Stu West says:

    Best of luck with the job search, Derek. If the pharmaceutical industry knows what it’s doing you won’t be out of work for long.

  89. Matthew Todd says:

    The very best of luck to you, Derek.

  90. amgen-ma says:

    its about time you got fired.

    one cannot blog full time, follow gossip and take up a full time chemist job !!! capitalism dude. vertex was probably looking to do this for awhile now.

    please save a chemist slot and do blogging full time. you are good at it. best luck.

  91. patriot says:

    I bet you will be singing the praises of TRUMP now !!!!

    bring jobs back to the USA. penalize companies to outsource jobs to CHIN/IND.

    YEAH !!!

  92. Sks says:

    All the best in your job hunt, Derek. interestingly, I discovered your blog during your previous transition – which incidentally coincided with one of my transitions.
    Good luck!

  93. Doug Steinman says:

    Sorry about your job situation. I hope you will find a good opportunity to continue your research career. I really enjoy your blog and hope that you will continue with it. Best of luck to you.

  94. SSG says:

    Best of luck. It seems that plays a big role – but I think with your experience it will favour you.

    On the other subject, try Unpaywall. It is completely legal and has a surprisingly large repository of papers sourced from eg: group websites, university department pages.

  95. Paul Stewart says:

    Their loss. I receive an incredible amount of benefit from reading your blog. I’d be surprised if you were on the market for a week before being scooped up.

  96. RB Woodweird says:

    Change directions a bit. Come join us. This field is growing:

    email me if you have interest

Comments are closed.