National study cites Arizona’s bio industry growth, strengths

June 25, 2008

By hammersmith

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and Battelle released a biennial study of U.S. bioscience industry trends at the 2008 BIO International Convention in San Diego on June 18, portraying a relatively small but rapidly growing industry with an outsized impact on the national economy. The study, “Technology, Talent, and Capital: State Bioscience Initiatives 2008,” encompassed national, state, and metropolitan analyses by Battelle, and examined job growth, wages, and key metrics such as federal and venture-capital funding.

Arizona, Battelle’s state-specific study reports, saw non-hospital bioscience jobs jump 21.5 percent from 2001 to 2006, outpacing the state’s overall private-sector employment growth of 17.7 percent. And on average in 2006, Arizona’s bioscience workers earned wages 35 percent higher than the wages of their counterparts in the overall private sector.

Perhaps as important as the high-growth, high-wage nature of the bioscience industry, Battelle reports that jobs in the biosciences have an impressive multiplying effect. Nationally, employment in the biosciences rose 5.7 percent from 2001 to 2006 to a total of 1.3 million (compared with a 3.1 percent increase in overall private-sector employment). Each of those bioscience jobs–which paid a national average of $71,000 in 2006–generated an additional 5.8 jobs in the national economy. Altogether, the bioscience industry accounts for 7.5 million jobs.

“Recognizing that the biosciences are a key driver of economic progress, states and regions across the country are building business climates that support the specific needs of bioscience companies at all stages of development,” said Walt Plosila, senior advisor to the Battelle Technology Partnership practice. Plosila also leads the Battelle team that has consulted on Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap since 2002.

In Arizona, the non-hospital bioscience subsectors that experienced the most pronounced growth between from 2001 to 2006 were:

  • Research, testing, and medical laboratories: The number of establishments rose 24 percent, and employment swelled 34.6 percent, nearly twice the national increase. The average annual wage in 2006 exceeded $57,000.
  • Medical devices and equipment: The number of establishments climbed 6.5 percent, and employment increased 19.6 percent, while nationally this subsector’s employment actually declined 0.9 percent. The average annual wage in 2006 stood at nearly $49,000.

One of the key metrics demonstrating a state’s competitiveness in the biosciences is its growth in biomedical-research grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Battelle found that among those states receiving at least $100 million in NIH funding in 2002, Arizona was one of just eight to achieve funding growth rates of 20 percent or greater from fiscal year 2002 to fiscal year 2007. Arizona’s NIH funding in 2007 rose 24.4 percent, more than twice the increase nationally.

In compiling its report for BIO, Battelle did not include hospitals as a subsector of the bioscience industry, following BIO’s definition of the biosciences. In Battelle’s separate analyses of Arizona’s biosciences industry, hospitals have been included as an industry subsector, reflecting the unusually strong research emphases many of them maintain. Several of those hospitals play key roles within Arizona’s bioscience community in advancing translational research, an area identified by Battelle as holding particular opportunity for Arizona to leapfrog competitors. Thus, many of the Arizona-specific data points in Battelle’s study for BIO differ from those presented in progress reports on Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap.

For more information:

Arizona’s biotech sector shows growth in medical devices, research,” Phoenix Business Journal, 06/18/2008

Battelle news release, 06/18/2008