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JLL's Global Life Science Cluster Report Examines Emerging & Established Clusters

The "Global Life Science Cluster Report - 2011" report produced by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) looks at the advantages and strategic strengths of both emerging and established clusters, and discusses how clusters can affect a company's growth and health.

The 97-page document examines clusters within three global regions: the Americas (United States, Canada, Brazil and Puerto Rico); EMEA (France, Germany, Switzerland and the U.K); and the Asia Pacific region (China, India, Indonesia and Singapore). Expansion into emerging clusters around the globe is at the forefront of most companies' location strategies, says William Barrett, leader of the Life Sciences business at Jones Lang LaSalle. This is due to "market share opportunities and favorable cost structures for manufacturing and other operations. Not to be discounted, however, are the plans to remain in critical established clusters where deep and mature talent pools increase innovation efficiency."

As life science companies determine which aspects of the business are vital to drug discovery and innovation, "they are bifurcating their location strategies to optimize the cost versus output equation," reveals the report. "Established clusters within the U.S. and Europe remain destinations of choice for core aspects of drug discovery."

Specifically in the Americas, established clusters are identified as the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, San Diego, Seattle and Washington DC/Suburban Maryland.

The Bay Area continues to reign as one of the premier locales for biotech and other life sciences companies, notes the report, due to its proximity to several world-renowned university research institutions and "an impressive roster" of tenants. "South San Francisco contains the highest concentration of life sciences companies in San Mateo Country and brightest talent pool in Northern California. The restoration of venture capital confidence has resulted in increased demand for space and expansion, spurring some hiring."

The future of the East Bay life science industry "looks bright." For example, The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, run by UC Berkeley, wants to expand in the East Bay by 45 acres.

Emerging clusters in the America are identified as Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Florida, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Canada, Brazil and Puerto Rico.

In one emerging cluster-Minneapolis-its "deep intellectual resources prime the region for growth and development," said the report, despite a lack of innovation-friendly incentives and programs. Here, success in life sciences is "anchored in the state's agricultural and medical technology industries, but.made possible by the strength of its high-technology industries." Unlike nearly 30 other states, Minnesota has not "developed, funded or implemented a major, comprehensive science and technology initiative to support recruitment and retention of top talent," point out the authors. To counter this reality, "both public and private parties are taking action. Minnesota's two largest non-profit organizations representing the life science industry-LifeScience Alley and The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota-have announced a strategic affiliation to strengthen the state's economy and leadership in the life sciences."

Another emerging cluster-Puerto Rico-has deep-seated roots in pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing. "Many of the industry's leading players have moved manufacturing operations to the island over the past five decades to take advantage of incentives and reduced taxes," explains the report.

For example, recently Monsanto announced a $4.3 million expansion which will build a 20,000-sq.-ft. R&D lab and create up to 50 jobs in the town of Juana Diaz. And Legacy Pharmaceuticals announced a $34 million expansion project at its Humacao complex expected to add 300 jobs over the next five years.

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