Boston, Philly, San Fran Ranked as Top Life Science Clusters

Boston, Greater Philadelphia and Greater San Francisco are the three most successful regions at sustaining and building value in the life sciences area, according to a newly released study by the Milken Institute. These cities’ healthy life science sectors are to a large extent buoying the markets in the midst of the current economic turmoil.  Having a strong presence in the life sciences area is likely to pay dividends for these cities, the report states, as it is an industry that is likely to weather the economic downturn, and poised to benefit from federal policy and stimulus initiatives and future overall recovery. The report compared Greater Philadelphia to 10 other metropolitan areas considered to be the leading life science clusters in the U.S., and ranks them based on employment, research and development capacity, output, work force, investment,and dozens of other measures. The report states that the life sciences industry–which includes biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, R&D, medical devices, and health care services–has been highly sought out by economic development agencies for its high-paying jobs and growth potential. The sector continues to show promise based on its ability to innovate, creating new products and services, and based on growing demand from an aging and increasingly unhealthy population. The study found that the life sciences sector in Greater Philadelphia was responsible for generating 380,000 jobs, $20.2 billion in earnings, and $39.7 billion in output in 2007. Fifteen percent of all economic activity, and one out of every six jobs in the region, can be traced back to life sciences. Boston continues to have a strong lead in R&D capacity among the ranked regions, and also leads in success rate of National Science Foundation funding for submitted proposals, at 27 percent. Greater Raleigh-Durham emerged as the top performer for indexed relative employment growth between 2002 and 2007, 14 percent above the national average. Greater Los Angeles leads in life sciences small-business vitality in terms of number, share and growth of firms, with the other California regions of Greater San Francisco and San Diego close behind. Greater San Francisco continues to be strong in life sciences, particularly in the availability of risk capital and in relative growth, but slipped in the overall composite index due to Greater Philadelphia’s advances in biotechnology, R&D and other measures. Other cities, after the top three, were: Greater New York; Greater Raleigh-Durham; Greater Los Angeles; Chicago; San Diego; Minneapolis; Washington, D.C.; and Seattle. The study, titled “The Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Cluster 2009: An Economic and Comparative Assessment,” was sponsored by BioAdvance, PhRMA, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Select Greater Philadelphia, BioNJ, Delaware BioScience Association, Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress, and Pennsylvania Bio.