Life sciences industry thriving

    The Philadelphia region has surpassed the San Francisco Bay Area in the strength of its life sciences industry.

    The Delaware Valley’s life sciences industry has inched up the rankings in a survey of the country’s bio-business hot-spots.
    (Photo: Flickr/gonzales2010)



    An economic think tank gives the Philadelphia region a second place for strongest life sciences industry in the United States. The Milken Institute’s analysis moved the area up from third place because of increases in biotechnology companies and the creation of skilled workers. Ross DeVol is Milken’s director for health economics.

    DeVol: Most of that gain was from rapid growth in the biotech sector and one of our measures of human capital in the life sciences where Philadelphia moved up to first over all.

    Mickey Flynn is president of the trade organization Pennsylvania Bio.

    Flynn: We’ve got this strong infrastructure in place in terms of the emerging companies, the mature companies that we have the strength with our large pharmaceutical companies that are located within the region.

    DeVol says pharmaceuticals have been the area’s long-standing asset, but the drug sector is undergoing major changes.

    DeVol: With some of the mergers and acquisitions taking place in the pharmaceutical industry it suggests that there will be some downsizing of jobs, not necessarily in the Philadelphia area, but it’s going to happen and I would be surprised if Philadelphia were spared entirely.

    According to the Milken Institute, life sciences companies employ 56,000 people in the region. DeVol says the one area where the Philadelphia region could improve is in the creation of start-up companies. Boston earned the top ranking for strongest bio-business cluster.

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