Industry Snapshot: MA Drug Development Pipeline Grows by 10%, Candidates in Clinical Trials by 14%

Aug 24, 2016

Report shows R&D strength, biopharma and biopharma manufacturing employment growth

CAMBRIDGE, MA (August 24, 2016) – The number of drug candidates in clinical trials from Massachusetts-headquartered companies increased by 14% from 2014, and the total number of drug candidates increased to 1,645, a 10% increase, according to an annual industry report published by MassBio.

Massachusetts researchers are currently researching and developing products for patients with 362 different medical indications. Oncology drugs make up 36% of that pipeline with systemic anti-infectives, central nervous system, and musculoskeletal therapeutic areas as other strong areas of research. The Massachusetts drug development pipeline includes 13 candidates that are pending FDA approval.

The 2016 MassBio Industry Snapshot shows that in the last 10 years, Massachusetts biopharma manufacturing employment has grown by 34% to 10,616 jobs statewide. In the same time period, the United States lost 24,000 biopharma manufacturing jobs, a 7.9% decrease. Massachusetts biomanufacturing employment grew by 6.3% year over year, outpacing other industry subsectors in 2015, including research and development.

“Massachusetts continues to shine in research and development, and this year we are also proud to see marked growth in biomanufacturing,” said Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio. “MassBio has been working with our partners in government and academia to cultivate an ecosystem that supports biomanufacturing, so we are pleased to see those efforts paying off.”

Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in biotechnology R&D jobs, a segment of the larger industry employment, with 31,469 positions in 2015, and maintained its position as the leader in biotech R&D as defined by industry concentration. Total employment in the biopharma industry in Massachusetts rose to 63,026 in 2015, approximately 2,570 jobs more than 2014, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).

As a result of the growth in combination products and the continued blurring of the lines between drugs, diagnostics and devices, MassBio has also started to track the performance of the medical device segment of the life sciences industry. Data shows that medical device employment is down by 6.9% over the last 10 years, which puts Massachusetts in the middle of the pack of states with the largest number of medical device jobs.

The report also highlights that venture investment in Massachusetts rose to a record $2.1 billion in 2015, with Massachusetts receiving 28% of all VC dollars in biotech in the U.S.

This year, MassBio analyzed the locations of lead venture capital funding for Massachusetts companies. MassBio found that Massachusetts-based VCs invested over $596 million into Massachusetts biotechs, representing 25% of the total investment. Massachusetts-based VCs provided 79% of the total seed capital and 49% of Series A funding for Massachusetts biotechs in 2015. This shows that the local venture community is playing a disproportionate—and critical—role in funding seed and early stage ventures.

Last year, MassBio took a look at slowed growth in the area of seed-stage funding for Massachusetts companies. In 2015 and so far in 2016, there has been a turnaround in seed-stage investing, which is a positive indicator of the industry’s long-term growth potential.

This year’s snapshot also includes the MassBioEd Foundation’s job demand forecast which predicts a total increase in employment from May 2015 to May 2018 to be 4,325 new jobs, a 6.7% increase. MassBioEd conducts quarterly job trends research that can be accessed at

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • Massachusetts accounts for 13% of the U.S.-based drug development pipeline. Massachusetts-headquartered companies account for 5.9% of the global pipeline.
  • So far in 2016, there have been 7 Massachusetts biotech IPOs.
  • The top 4 NIH-funded independent hospitals (and 7 of the top 15) in the U.S. in 2015 are in Boston.
  • On an NIH-funding per capita basis, Massachusetts continues to far exceed other leading NIH-recipient states. Only California receives more total NIH funding.
  • Since 2007, 9 million square feet of commercial lab space has been added to inventory in Massachusetts. 
  • Massachusetts-headquartered companies have developed therapies that focus on patient populations of more than 250 million in the U.S. and more than 1.8 billion around the world.  

This year’s Snapshot was produced in partnership with EvaluatePharma®, the premier source for commercial analysis of the pharma and biotech sector. Snapshot statistics are compiled annually by MassBio from sources including EvaluatePharma®, National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages and others.

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