Top pharmaceutical and biotech salaries

‘Big Pharma’ has been dealing with a lot of challenges lately. You might be curious to know what the people at the top of the pharma career ladder are earning to manage those challenges.

FierceBiotech — which is a great resource for keeping on top of rumours, news and developments in the pharma / biotech sector — has published their annual list of the top ten 2010 pharma CEO salaries. Suffice it to say that the CEOs are doing all right! In position #10, John Martin of Gilead Sciences brought home $14M, whereas Bill Weldon of J&J earned twice that much to take the top spot.

Of course, very few of us will reach these stratified heights. Once you move a few steps down the ladder, salaries quickly drop from 8 figures down to six. For example, I recently came across salary information for a VP of Research for a small firm developing a new molecular diagnostic test. His salary? $225K, along with a very generous relocation package.

If clinical research is your focus, our previous post “How much does a CRA earn?” might interest you.

Why don’t research scientists get paid more?  We discussed biotech scientist salaries in a previous post.

Good luck in your job search!


Posted: June 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No Comments »

What’s it like to work for a CRO?

Over at ask.metafilter, someone has posed the question “what’s it like to work for a CRO?”

The person asking the question is a university research assistant with a background in cognitive neuroscience and an interest in statistics and applied math.

So far, one excellent answer has been posted. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted: June 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Clinical research, Preclinical R&D | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

New Book: PhD [alternative] Career Clinic

Readers of this blog may remember Jane Chin, who provided some insightful commentary on the realities of a career as a Medical Science Liaison.

Jane has recently published a book which sounds very interesting: PhD [alternative] Career Clinic Read the rest of this entry »


Posted: June 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Medical Science Liaisons | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

BIO Career Fair – June 27

Just thought I’d share this announcement I got in my email recently.  BIO is, of course, possibly the largest biotechnology meeting/conference in North America.

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted: June 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Industry associations, Interviewing, networking | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Jobs in Contract Research: Medicinal Chemistry

I recently discovered a blog by a medicinal chemist who has shared some interesting career insights.  Medicinal chemistry, or pharmaceutical chemistry, is the discipline of designing and synthesizing new drugs, and it can be a very interesting career pathway for chemists looking for a job in the pharma or biotech sector.

In his post “Life with a Drug Discovery CRO“, the author describes what it was like to work for a contract research organization that specialized in combinatorial chemistry, synthesis, scale up and process development on behalf of big pharma clients.

How it worked for us in med chem was we would be presented with a project (in varying detail and with varying amount of leeway in our allotted tasks) with some fixed length of contract. Most were annually renewable and many continued for multiple years. The customers in question were a mix of pharma and start-up: for the established players, we were outsourcing for a project they did not have the internal capacity for (usually because there were more pressing projects and/or synthetic challenges to overcome). For the start-ups, we were their chemistry department.


Posted: June 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Preclinical R&D | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »