Adaptive Biotech, Juno, NanoString Continue Hiring Spree in Seattle

Adaptive Biotech, Juno, NanoString Continue Hiring Spree in Seattle
February 17, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

SEATTLE – As Seattle continues to grow as one of the main pharmaceutical hubs, companies are having trouble filling open slots for positions due, in part, to the state’s education system, which isn’t keeping up with the demand to support attracting out-of-state workers, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

Three companies in the Seattle area, Juno Therapeutics , Adaptive Biotechnologies and NanoString Technologies , are leading the way in hiring. Juno’s website lists dozens of positions in manufacturing, medical, quality assurance, research, marketing and more. Adaptive’s website also shows a number of positions open, such as production associates, project management and science positions. And NanoString’s website is also showing dozens of open positions, such as scientists, biostatisticians, research associates and more.

The open positions for these companies continue hiring efforts from 2015, when all three were hiring in support of strong research and rapidly expanding pipelines. Juno, which went public in December 2014, had a big 2015 with the acquisition of German cell therapy company Stage Cell Therapeutics and a lucrative 10-year deal with Celgene . In May, Adaptive Biotechnologies announced it raked in $195 million in Series F financing, the largest venture capital raise in Washington State so far this year. The company said the financial boost will be used to fund its work studying T-cell and B-cell receptors in the immune system. NanoString struck three partnerships over 2015 to bolster its oncology pipeline. In 2015, NanoString also benefitted from its collaboration with Merck on that company’s potential blockbuster Keytruda, which has shown efficacy in treating patients with three types of cancer, melanoma, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Although Seattle is on the rise for its pharmaceutical jobs, Dennis Kroft, vice president of marketing and membership for Life Science Washington, told the Journal there are some challenges companies are facing in recruiting employees to the Pacific Northwest. With a struggling education system, Kroft said the local pharma companies are “giving supplementary training to graduates of Washington universities while struggling to attract middle- and upper-level workers.” Additionally, Seattle is not seen as a large market area, which means perspective employees have fewer options for fall-back positions if they suddenly find themselves in need of another position in the industry, Kroft told the Journal.

Life Science Washington, formerly known as Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association, shows more than 400 open positions in the Seattle area.

In addition to the three above-mentioned Seattle companies, those are not the only pharmaceutical companies in the area hiring. Seattle Genetics , which is based in nearby Bothell, Wash. is planning to increase company headcount by about 15 percent this year, nearly 100 jobs. Seattle Genetics, which focuses on drugs to treat various forms of cancer, including Hodgkin’s disease, has been on a bit of a hiring spree. Last year the company hired 100 employees for various positions, including researchers and biostatisticians.

Seattle Genetics isn’t the only company in the area to continue hiring sprees from 2015. Last year Juno, Adaptive Biotechnologies and NanoString also ramped up their hiring efforts.

While those companies are hiring, the Seattle area has also been hit by some pharma job losses as well. Last year Bothell lost more than 600 jobs when biotech company Amgen shuttered its Bothell and Seattle sites. Additionally AMRI , which provides contract research and development services to biotech and pharmaceutical companies, closed its Bothell site in 2012, eliminating 24 positions.

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