Life-sciences companies—especially pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical-device companies—have been steadily increasing their U.S. economic output and employment in high-skilled, high-wage jobs. But not all states are equally well positioned to grow and attract these companies. That’s because while life-sciences companies have significant flexibility to conduct their research, clinical trials, and production anywhere in the world, they grow best in locations that can combine qualities like a good business environment, skilled workers, strong research universities, and available capital. Strengthening these and related factors can give states a stronger competitive advantage.
At least 27 states have specific life-sciences-focused economic development efforts. This report examines how five—Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Washington—are working to create environments that support the growth of their life-sciences sectors.
Among the report’s findings:
- In 2016, life science companies in the United States employed 1.2 million workers.
- In 43 states, pharmaceutical wages are at least 50 percent greater than each state’s average private wage.
- Life-science industries account for between 25 and 30 percent of all high-tech start-ups in each of the five states examined.
- From 2008 to 2012, U.S. patent awards rose 63.3 percent for pharmaceuticals and medicines, and 161.3 percent for medical equipment, compared with 56.2 percent for patents from all industries.