MA Life Sciences Industry Sees Record Jobs Growth

Dec 30, 2015

Massachusetts biopharma employment grew by 4.9% in 2014, the highest annual growth rate for the Massachusetts industry since 2008, according to an annual industry report published by MassBio.

The 2015 MassBio Industry Snapshot shows that employment in the biopharma industry rose to 60,459 in 2014, approximately 2,800 jobs more than 2013, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).

Massachusetts also continues to far outpace the nation in biopharma manufacturing employment growth. In the last 10 years, Massachusetts biopharma manufacturing employment has grown by 28.4% to 9,989 jobs statewide. In the same time period, the United States lost 6,329 biopharma manufacturing jobs, a 2.2% decrease.

“As the Massachusetts life sciences industry continues to grow, there is both the need and the opportunity to increase our capacity for advanced manufacturing,” said Robert. K. Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio. “We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Charlie Baker and his administration as well as our partners in academia to support an ecosystem that boosts biomanufacturing growth, which will, in turn, be an economic driver for the Commonwealth.”

Postings for open biopharma industry positions on MassBio’s online job board are trending up, with an average daily number of listings above 2,000 jobs in 2015. is not a comprehensive listing of all jobs available in the industry in Massachusetts but given its significant volume, it does provide a statistically strong sampling in determining job hiring trends.

Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in biotechnology R&D jobs, a segment of the larger industry employment, with more 29,897 positions in 2014, and maintained its position as the leader in biotech R&D as defined by industry concentration. The industry’s economic impact as measured by MA-based payroll topped $7.29 billion.

Venture investment in Massachusetts rose to a record $1.8 billion in 2014, and 2015 is on track to be another banner year. In the first two quarters of 2015, Massachusetts biotechnology companies have received more than $1 billion in financing.

The data does show some slowed growth in one area—seed-stage funding for Massachusetts companies. The average amount of seed-stage funding for the five years through 2014 was lower than the five year period preceding (2009-2013). While not an immediate cause for alarm, MassBio continues to monitor seed-stage funding as an indicator of the industry’s long-term growth potential.

“The Massachusetts cluster is built on a foundation of technologies spinning out from academic institutions and medical centers and a strong early-stage research community,” Coughlin said. “We need to ensure these very early ideas receive the funding necessary to reach proof-of-concept or test whether they could become our next generation of treatments and cures.”

In response to growing concern regarding transportation in Eastern Massachusetts, this year the Snapshot also includes commuter survey responses collected by MassBio. The survey suggests that those who use the bus or the T as a primary means of commuting are substantially more satisfied with their commutes than those who drive or use the commuter rail. More than 70% of commuter rail users are dissatisfied with their commutes. MassBio will continue to advocate for improvements to public transportation and the infrastructure necessary to fuel the industry for growth well into the future.

Additional highlights from the report include:

    Massachusetts-headquartered companies have a total of 1,491 drug candidates at some stage of R&D. Oncology drug candidates continue to make up 37% of that pipeline with systemic anti-infectives, central nervous system, and musculoskeletal therapeutic areas as other strong areas of research.
    Massachusetts accounts for 11% of the U.S.-based drug development pipeline. Massachusetts-headquartered companies account for 5.5% of the global biologics pipeline.
    With 17 IPOs in 2014, Massachusetts almost doubled its previous biotech/pharma annual IPO record of 9 (2013).  Thus far in 2015, 9 additional Massachusetts biotechs have had IPOs.
    The top 4 NIH-funded independent hospitals (and 8 of the top 14) in the U.S. in 2014 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, 6 million square feet of commercial lab space has been added to inventory in Massachusetts. Approximately 1.6 million square feet of additional lab space is under construction.
    The estimated average salary in the biopharma industry is $120,628.
    Massachusetts-headquartered companies have developed therapies that focus on patient populations of 232 million in the U.S. and more than 1.5 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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