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Cover Story

November 2, 2009
Volume 87, Number 44
p. 52

Quality Control

Jeff Lands On His Feet

Ivan Amato

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A consequence of Eli Lilly & Co.’s joint venture with Icos Corp., which centered on the erectile-dysfunction drug Cialis, was that a lot of researchers from Icos lost their jobs. Chemist Jeff Moore and his 126 colleagues at the Bothell, Wash., company found themselves in early 2007 treading on tidal motions that were beyond their control.

“I survived a big layoff because I was with a contract manufacturing group and we still had contractual commitments” to meet, says Moore, who has bachelor’s degrees in both chemistry and biology. As those commitments ended, the Copenhagen-based contract biomanufacturing firm CMC bought the former Icos group from Lilly. The group had remained intact while under Lilly’s banner, but in the shuffle, Moore and perhaps a dozen of his colleagues were let go. That was in January.

It was an ironic moment for him to lose his job, Moore notes. “I was laid off on Tuesday, and the following Friday I was in Austin, Texas, training to become a career consultant for ACS,” he says. He came out of that training with certification to help members prepare résumés and interviews and to search for jobs. The training would come in handy in a more personal way.

“I was, of course, scared,” Moore recalls. “I have a family and I had a mortgage to pay.” He knew the severance package from Lilly would hold him over for a while, but just for a while. “What I was most concerned about was that I would have to relocate, and in this economy, it is impossible to sell a home,” Moore says.

Fear gave way to optimism as Moore, in his words, “opened my horizons.” He was most experienced in the quality-control and quality-assurance area, but he warmed to the possibility of seeking positions with different job descriptions. And he tapped into his network at the professional networking site LinkedIn to help his cause. One of those interactions proved particularly fateful. A colleague from his Icos days who had gotten a job at Seattle Genetics, a small company intent on finding and developing biologic drugs to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma, told Moore about a job opening at the company. “She told me to send a résumé to the hiring manager, who was getting pressure to fill the slot,” Moore says.

By opening himself up to a “facilities position,” Moore found a job that suits him at a company just two blocks from the one that had dropped him from the payroll. His new job combines quality control with validating, certifying, and maintaining analytical equipment. Says Moore, “I love my job.”

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