Seattle area still smarting over Lilly's Icos deal

July 27, 2007
Emotions in the Seattle area are still raw months after Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. bought full ownership of Icos Corp. and promptly announced that it would wipe out most of Icos' 700 jobs.

Lilly acquired the Bothel, Wash., maker of the Cialis erectile dysfunction drug for $2.3 billion in December.

The massive job loss continues to be viewed as a severe blow to the region's unsuccessful struggle to grow a hometown giant to compete with such biotech hotspots as Boston and San Francisco, according to The Seattle Times.

A few companies have been started by Icos refugees. One, Cisthera, founded by a former scientist, will focus on inflammatory diseases, cancer and fibrotic diseases.

But most workers have shifted to other local companies or abandoned the area.

The CEO of a company that hired seven Icos workers, ZymoGenetics Inc., Bruce Carter, decried the impact.

"For the biotech industry in Seattle, it's a very bad thing-it's an industry where the bigger it gets, the bigger it gets," Carter said.
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