Massachusetts Strengthens Position as Biopharma Industry Leader

September 13, 2012

Annual statistics show Commonwealth outpacing other clusters for growth in employment, investment

Massachusetts jobs in biotechnology research and development grew faster than in any other state in the nation and Massachusetts is home to more biopharma R&D workers than any other cluster, according to an annual industry report produced by MassBio.

The 2012 MassBio Industry Snapshot shows Massachusetts is strengthening its biopharma “location quotient,” a measure of the concentration and strength of an industry in a region versus the nation as a whole.

“Massachusetts remains the best place for biotechnology innovation and growth, despite the economic downturn or the regulatory uncertainties the industry faces due to ongoing reform,” said Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio. “This is an industry that is thriving here in the Commonwealth and we must remain committed to continued investment and attention to ensure our preeminence for years to come.”

Using more timely data this year, MassBio has revised the number of people working in biotechnology in Massachusetts to 53,253 in 2011. The figure is based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), where past MassBio industry reports have used the U.S. Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns (CBP) data. QCEW figures are released quarterly and are therefore more up-to-date than CBP’s annual data. A more complete explanation of the federal data sources is included at the end of the report.

While the rate of biopharma job growth has slowed since the recession hit in 2009—growing just 1 percent from 2010 to 2011—the industry is still growing jobs at a rate faster than the Massachusetts economy as a whole. Massachusetts also outpaces any other state in biotechnology research job growth from 2007-2011.

The 2011 numbers may act as positive indicators for additional growth in 2012. Postings for open biopharma industry positions on MassBio’s online job board are up since 2009, with 6,223 jobs being advertised in 2011.

The report shows Massachusetts still leads the nation in biotechnology research & development jobs, with over 28,000 positions in 2011. Overall, Massachusetts maintained its position as the leader in R&D in biotechnology, as defined by industry concentration.

Venture investment in Massachusetts biotechs reached an all-time high in 2011 at $1.071 billion. That makes $8.054 billion invested in the industry here since 2002. Mass.-based biotechs also received 22.6% of all VC biotech financing, just below the 2010 all-time high.

Perhaps more importantly for the industry here, “start-up” and “early stage” companies in Massachusetts received a greater percentage of total VC investment than their peers across the United States.

“It’s good news that our early stage companies are attracting the highest levels of funding out there,” Coughlin said. “In order for Massachusetts to remain the world leader in biotechnology, we must ensure new, innovative ideas and companies have access to the capital they need to grow.”

This year’s Snapshot was produced in partnership with Evaluate Pharma, the premier source for commercial analysis of the pharma and biotech sector, delivering exclusive and trusted insight into industry performance. Charts on venture capital deals and venture financing by stage of company development were compiled based on Evaluate’s proprietary Analysis & Insights tools.

“As we saw in this year’s MassBio Biopharma Industry Snapshot, Massachusetts continues to demonstrate its ability to foster innovation, particularly in start-up and early-stage biotech companies with continued investment from the venture community. This trend will further drive biopharma job creation in the Bay State,” said Debbie Paul, EvaluatePharma CEO of Americas. “We are proud to support MassBio with the inclusion of such analysis in this year’s report.”

Due to the Evaluate partnership, for the first time MassBio looked at the success of 93 companies backed by venture over the last decade. Of that 93, 40 remain VC-backed, 26 were acquired, 15 went to IPO and 12 are defunct.

Also new this year, MassBio compared NIH investment and venture capital investment across the leading biopharma states. In Massachusetts, every dollar invested by NIH is matched by 43 cents of venture investment here, amplifying the impact of NIH funding. That is second only to California, which sees 53 cents of venture investment for every NIH dollar.

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • Massachusetts biopharma industry employment reached an all-time high in 2011, continuing the industry’s eight year pattern of growth, and now accounts for over $6 billion in payroll.
  • The estimated average salary in the biopharma industry is $113,364, 89.9% higher than the estimated state average salary of $59,676.
  • Nationally, biopharma manufacturing employment has declined by 7.9% since 2002. Massachusetts ran counter to the trend, as one of only 5 of the leading biopharma manufacturing states that grew employment since 2002.
  • TESARO, Agios, and Merrimack were among the top 10 biotech VC deals globally in 2011. TESARO and Merrimack both have since had IPOs in 2012.
  • Massachusetts- headquartered companies have a total of 955 drug candidates at some stage of R&D. Oncology drug candidates make up 37% of that pipeline.
  • The top 5 NIH funded independent hospitals in the U.S. in 2011 are in Boston. Ten of the top 20 are in New England.
  • On a NIH-funding per capita basis, Massachusetts continues to far exceed other leading NIH-recipient states.
  • Quality Assurance positions surged to the top of all open job postings on in 2011. Manufacturing listings also moved higher on the list. This may indicate that manufacturing employment will rebound from recent declines.


Download the complete MassBio Industry Snapshot.


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