August 21, 2013

Mass. Rivals Calif. In Size Of Biotech Sector

With top universities and research hospitals, international pharmaceutical firms and start-ups, Massachusetts leads much of the nation in the size of its biotechnology and medical device industries, though on most fronts it is outpaced and outsized by California, according to a Tuesday report.

Overall employment in the biopharma industry in Massachusetts stood at 56,462 in 2012, up 40 percent in 10 years, according to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council report. Massachusetts leads the nation in the size of its biotech research and development sector and trails seven states in biopharma manufacturing.

The Bay State's medical device industry employed 23,151 people in 2012, up 1.8 percent since 2003. California and Minnesota both have more people employed in the medical device industry and added more jobs over the 10 years than Massachusetts.

"Let's be clear, Massachusetts remains far and away the most robust cluster for industry research and investment, and we continue to grow our presence," said MassBio President and CEO Robert Coughlin in a statement. "But we cannot take our eyes off the ball, as the nation and the world try to rebound from the recent recession. We must continue to advocate for policy and regulatory structures that encourage innovation and work to speed the time to market for therapies for patients in need."

Biotech job growth has exceeded overall job growth in the state and nation by 12 times since 2003, according to the study.

The industry is developing an infrastructure for more growth as well. Since 2007, about 2.6 million square feet of commercial lab space was added, and more than 2 million square feet of lab space is under construction, according to Tuesday's report.

Kendall Square in Cambridge has been adding lab space, and South Boston's Seaport, redubbed the Innovation District, will be home to a new headquarters of Vertex, a pharmaceutical company.

Massachusetts has more biotechnology research and development jobs than any other state, though California, New York and Washington outpaced the Bay State from 2007 through 2012 in biotech job growth. R&D employment stood at 27,883 in Massachusetts in 2012, with California's 23,438 jobs the closest rival. In the six years beginning in 2007, Pennsylvania lost 6,092 R&D jobs.

Massachusetts has lagged behind seven states in biopharma manufacturing, with 8,960 jobs, 666 of them added from 2002 through 2012. California has 44,229 jobs in biopharma, up about 4,000 jobs in the same period. Both California and Texas have outpaced the Bay State in the pace of biopharma job growth.

If Massachusetts has an outsized role in the country's biotech field, Cambridge has an outsized role in the state.

Sixty one percent of biotech venture capital invested in 2012 went to Cambridge companies, amounting to Cambridge investments of roughly $500 million.

The top three employers in the industry in Massachusetts are, Genzyme, a Sanofi Company with 4,600 employees, followed by Pfizer and Biogen Idec, all of which have a presence in the city of roughly 106,000 people.

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