In a Q&A-style interview, Stratatech Corporation President Russ Smestad tells the Wisconsin State Journal that his career path — entering the biotech industry on the ground floor and moving up to start his own company — "would be difficult to replicate today." Smestad was hired by Cetus Madison in 1982, a time when "the biotech industry was really being formed," he says. "It was not like one could hire people already with a track record in this space."
Now, as president of Stratatech and chief operating officer of Biotech Profiles, an online database he launched to track Madison-area biotechs, Smestad says the industry looks much different. "There have been a lot of acquisitions of what I call mid-tier companies. The large companies are prospering; the small companies are stable; but our mid-tier is getting smaller," he says. These days, he adds, "it is tough for any early-stage biotech company."