He is coming on Monday, the last group leader. With his arrival the whole team will be fully staffed and focus shift from assembly to production. His resume boasts drug discovery experience and excellent English ability. Both of which are scarce in China and doubly important for me. Of the almost thirty people on the team, I’m the only native English speaker (and only non-Chinese speaker for that matter) and the only one with drug discovery experience. Having another that can both foster communication and bring med chem. experience will be invaluable. It could halve my routine work load and allow more time for strategic planning…cool!
Despite not having drug discovery experience, the team impresses. Seven PhD’s, three with US academic experience, over ten MS all with Chinese industry experience and over 5 BS also all with Chinese industry experience. Then there are the ‘freshmen’. With have over 5 ‘freshmen’ in the group – fresh, untested graduates. The raw synthesis experience of the group compares well with most US groups. They have made difficult custom synthesis compounds, they have scaled up and they are good at efficiency/economical chemistry. None have ever looked at biological data. None have faced weekly assay deadlines or have tracked compounds through a screening funnel
So, we have talented chemists in need of a second source of med chem training. And its coming, and it speaks Chinese! Three days before he starts, I receive a reply to my email. He says he is not coming. I’m shocked. Not coming? He informs us three days before his start date? Would he have even told us if I had not emailed him?
In the US such behavior would be scandalous and cause harm to future employment opportunities. But we are not in the US, I contact HR and we begin hunting for another group leader.