The Omni hotel was host to a dozen local biotechnology companies Wednesday for a BioScience career fair that drew applicants from all across Connecticut and even as far away as New York.
The fair, sponsored by Connecticut United for Research Excellence — or CURE — Connecticut Innovations, and the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, featured companies working in a variety of areas from drug development to basic biology research, all pitching their slogans to the few hundred applicants who wandered in and out of the ballroom that afternoon.
President Tony Rescigno of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce said the fair was a perfect example of the burgeoning biotechnology sector in Connecticut.
“When you have eight or nine companies displaying and a couple hundred people coming through, it means there are jobs and that people are interested,” he said. “We’re interested in seeing these companies flourish.”
Rescigno is not alone in thinking Connecticut is a hot spot for new biotechnology companies.
“This is a center for biotechnology on the East Coast,” said Glenn Halpern, a recent graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Another fair-goer, Fairfield University junior Jeff Tetranlt, said he plans to work in the biotechnology industry after college and was attracted to the fair by the reputation of the companies in the area.
“From what I hear, New Haven is one of the top places to be where there will be a lot of growth,” he said.
The fair, directed mainly at recruiting full-time employees, did not cater specifically to the Yale undergraduate community, but that did not stop Jeff Shackelton ’05, who said he attended the fair to explore internship opportunities.
The variety of companies present matched the range of the attendees. International pharmaceutical giants like Bayer and Pfizer had representatives dispensing information packets next to local startups like Rib-X Pharmaceuticals. Rib-X, the smallest company at the fair, currently boasts a staff of nine employees.
Of the various business present, about half were founded by Yale faculty.
One such company, Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, has been cited recently for its promising work on developing a cure for cardiovascular disease.
“It’s important to get information out to people about what’s available in the bioscience area in Connecticut,” a Genaissance representative said. “We want to tap into the local talent.”
Marcia Valente, CURE’s managing director of cluster services, was pleased by the turnout, saying it was “absolutely the goal of the fair to attract people from the local area.”
And there certainly was no shortage of interested applicants. Achillion Pharmaceuticals, a 2-year-old company founded on Yale research, was one of the groups that garnered attention.
“We’ve collected a stack of quality resumes,” said Amy Enders, an Achillion representative.
Valente said she is enthusiastic about plans for a similar fair, which is currently scheduled for the spring of 2002.