Originally published in the Boston Business Journal on August 30, 2022
The life sciences sector continued to grow in the Bay State last year, adding another 12,000-plus workers and nearly 16 million square feet in real estate between 2020 and 2021.
That’s according to a new report from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the trade group better known as MassBio.
In 2021, biopharma employment in Massachusetts grew by 13.2%, reaching 106,679 people, according to the organization’s annual “industry snapshot.” That’s up from 94,266 the prior year. (MassBio adjusted the way it counted biopharma employees for this report, resulting in an increase of about 10,000 employees counted for 2020.)
But other challenges are looming — ones that have more to do with planning and development policy than the industry itself.
“The biopharma workforce and real estate… I think these are both positive signs that we’re maintaining our global leadership in life sciences innovation,” Boncore said. “Bigger statewide issues, like housing and the failing transportation system, present a real and present danger and are going to have to be things we work with the legislature on in the coming years.”
“Obviously, the pandemic played an outsize role in the success of this industry, but if you look pre-pandemic we had about $4.7 billion of venture capital,” Boncore said. “There’s dry powder out there, and I think that’s just really good for the industry, and it’s really good for patients. Massachusetts companies, what we’re working on is the toughest science and getting results, and getting venture capital shifted this way.”