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The Biotech Century

The biosciences industries are booming - and more locations than ever are sharing the wealth.

Apr/May 07
(page 2 of 3)
• Iowa: This state's biosciences industries employ about 12,000, with a particularly solid position in agricultural feedstock and chemicals. Some two-thirds of its university research expenditures, or about $335 million, are in the life sciences. The University of Iowa is involved in a growing number of life sciences initiatives, including its Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing, human nutrition studies and proteomics research. Iowa State University also has many irons in the fire, from the Plant Sciences Institute to the Iowa Biologics Facility, along with solid commercialization programs.

• Massachusetts: Strong in both medical devices and research and testing, Massachusetts has biosciences employment totaling about 53,000 and university life sciences R&D expenditures approaching $1 billion. The state's highly regarded research universities are extensively involved in development and are solidly committed to commercialization, with major tech transfer operations at University of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University, among others. Notable facilities include the Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park, adjacent to the UMass Medical Center. New developments include a $100 million investment at AstraZeneca's R&D center near Boston, to boost work in infection and continue the company's growth in cancer research. Life sciences developments continue to sprout along a corridor that is creeping westward from the Boston area toward the central part of the state. In the past five years, half of the 100 largest biotech firms in Massachusetts have located between Route 128 and Worcester.

• Minnesota: This state has long been known for top-flight medical care, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Its biosciences employment of 33,000 is dominated by the medical devices sector, in which it ranks second only to California. About $375 million is spent on R&D at the state's universities annually, and the Bioscience Zone Program aims to spur R&D activity near the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses, within a life sciences corridor in southern Minneapolis and near the Mayo Clinic.

• New Jersey: Eager to lead the way toward lucrative human stem-cell research, New Jersey was first to make state grants in this area and arranged an agreement between Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey to create the New Jersey Stem Cell Institute. Some $367 million of life sciences research has been tallied at New Jersey institutions. The biosciences industry supports more than 82,000 jobs, half in New Jersey's top-ranking drug and pharmaceutical sector, and many more in research, testing, and medical laboratories.

• North Carolina: Talk about cutting-edge research and the conversation will invariably include activities at Research Triangle Park, which has helped the state become a leading employer in drugs and pharmaceuticals. Biosciences employment in North Carolina totaled 48,000 at last count, and life sciences research was just over $1 billion. The state was an early leader in biosciences, launching the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in the 1980s, and significant investments continue today in such places as Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Greenville, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem. Opting for a location in Research Triangle Park last year was Stiefel Laboratories, a pharmaceutical company specializing in dermatology that picked the area for its global R&D headquarters. Also on the way is The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, an independent life sciences campus.

• Ohio: Agricultural feedstock and chemicals lands Ohio on BIO's list of biosciences hot spots, accounting for about a fifth of the state's 32,000 biosciences workers. Ohio is a hotbed for life sciences research, tallying $736 million in university life sciences R&D at last count. Ohio's Third Frontier project aims to fuel innovation and power the economy, and bioscience is one of five focus areas. Several programs provide support and incubator space, and research parks can be found in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland.

• Pennsylvania: The Keystone State has long worked to boost innovation and bring it to market, through such efforts as the Keystone Innovation Zone program and the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority. Pennsylvania is busy developing more capacity across the state, including at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pennsylvania, and Penn State. Combined, the biosciences sectors employ some 73,000 Pennsylvanians, ranking the state high in both the drugs and pharmaceuticals and research, testing, and medical laboratories sectors. Life sciences R&D totaling $1.2 billion makes up more than half of the state's university R&D expenditures.

• Puerto Rico: This commonwealth has a 40-year track record for pharmaceutical manufacturing, and in that sector its employment is second only to Pennsylvania. Total biosciences employment was 45,000 last time BIO compiled statistics, and nearly half of those jobs were in drugs and pharmaceuticals. Yet while it got its start as a manufacturing outpost, Puerto Rico is building its credentials for R&D as well, with activities including a new Molecular Sciences Complex with connections to the University of Puerto Rico. A nearby development is the Biotechnology Center for Research and Training in BioProcesses. Among many headlines is the recent announcement that filtration and purification manufacturer Pall Corporation is investing $50 million in Puerto Rican facilities and equipment.

• Texas: The Lone Star State is the leader in the agricultural feedstock and chemicals sector, and its strong presence in other biosciences sectors puts overall employment at about 56,000. Expect plenty of growth in the future, as the state is in the midst of significant efforts to build the industry further. Bioscience is one of six clusters targeted in Texas economic development efforts, and the Texas Life Science Center of Innovation and Commercialization will help bring products to market. Biosciences research facilities have been added or expanded across the University of Texas system, at Texas A&M, and elsewhere. The hope is to capitalize upon and grow the state's life sciences R&D, which already totaled $1.9 billion annually at last tally.

Don't expect an industry this hot to stand still for long. Intense efforts are being made to create new hot spots, and many regions are real up-and-comers. In medical devices, for example, keep a close eye on such places as Tennessee and Texas, says Jones, along with Georgia, North Carolina, and the Seattle area.

Here is a small sampling of the activity under way designed to affect the biosciences landscape:
• The Memphis Bioworks Foundation is building the University of Tennessee-Baptist Research Park. Its first new building is a regional biocontainment facility.
• The Georgia Research Alliance has created 18 centers of research excellence, intended to attract world-class researchers, outside investment and industry involvement. An Ernst & Young study ranked Georgia seventh in the number of biotechnology companies either relocating to or starting in the state.
• In Colorado, the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority is turning an old military base into what's being called "a square mile of life sciences." The Colorado Bioscience Park Aurora is adjacent to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Hospital Complex. Colorado research institutions also have begun reaping the rewards of recent legislation allocating additional state funds for bioscience research.

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