September 13, 2010 | last updated March 25, 2012 3:51 am

Behind The Sound Bite: Life Sciences And The Economy

Several state and regional leaders were recently on hand in Lexington to celebrate the opening of Cubist Pharmaceutical's new manufacturing plant. In a press release announcing the expansion, state Rep. Peter Koutoujian, D-Waltham, was quoted as saying that "the future growth of our economy is in the life sciences sector." We decided to look behind that claim and it turns out that the numbers suggest that the life sciences industry is indeed poised for growth.

What's the Bay State's commitment to life sciences?

The Bay State has bet big when it comes to the life sciences sector. In 2008, the state created the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and promised to spend $1 billion over 10 years to help companies in the sector grow. Cubist benefited from the investment, receiving a $1.7 million tax incentive from the center for the expansion.

How many people in Massachusetts are employed by life sciences companies?

There are approximately 47,000 life sciences workers in Massachusetts, according to a recent report from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. Employment in the sector has grown by 60 percent since 200.

What's hiring expected to be?

Growth is projected to be on the horizon for portions of the life sciences economy in Massachusetts. Hiring in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing sector is expected to grow by 45 percent through 2016, according to a report from the state Office of Labor and Workforce Development. That places it as the third fastest-growing sector in the state economy.

How does Massachusetts' life sciences sector compare to others?

In terms of biopharmaceutical manufacturing employment, Massachusetts has posted significant gains, but still pales in comparison to some larger states. California, for example, employs more than 43,000 in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry. That number is just 9,700 in Massachusetts.

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