MassBio 2023 Industry Snapshot Shows Significant Employment Growth in Research and Development Across the Commonwealth

Sep 06, 2023

Massachusetts R&D job growth up 8.5%, biomanufacturing climbs 6.3%

CAMBRIDGE (September 6, 2023) – MassBio today released its 2023 Industry Snapshot, which shows significant job growth across the life sciences industry with Massachusetts outpacing nearly all competitor states for both research and development and biomanufacturing jobs added. At the close of 2022, Massachusetts employed nearly 114,000 people in the biopharma industry.

“The data from this year’s Snapshot clearly shows we live and work in a resilient and industry-leading ecosystem that continues to play an outsized role in addressing the world’s unmet medical needs, but also one that will require ongoing public-private partnerships to thrive and remain competitive,” said MassBio CEO and President Kendalle Burlin O’Connell. “Massachusetts is slow to enter an economic slow-down and bounces back quickly. Even amidst challenging times for biotech companies, we still saw our industry’s workforce expand by nearly 7%. While we all know biotech experienced a period of cooling after a red hot few years, our workforce growth, lab space expansion, large share of overall national VC investments, and strong government relationships make me hopeful for a strong 2024 and beyond.”

The biopharma research and development workforce in Massachusetts experienced year-over-year growth of 8.5%, outpacing California and Pennsylvania (6.8%) as well as New Jersey (1.9%). In the biomanufacturing space, employment in Massachusetts rose 6.3%, a higher rate than competitor states like New Jersey (5.8%), Maryland (4.6%) and North Carolina (1.8%).

Massachusetts-based companies received $3.7 billion in venture capital funding in the first half of 2023, a decrease from the same time last year, but the highest first-half total of any year outside 2020-2022, years which set records fueled by pandemic-inspired investing. Overall, biopharma companies headquartered in Massachusetts received 32% of all venture capital dollars invested in the industry, up six percent from the first half of 2022.

The Commonwealth also saw an influx of VC spending in communities outside of Cambridge. More than half of total VC spending (55%) went to companies outside of the Cambridge biotech hub, with clusters in Boston, Waltham, and Watertown leading the way.

Numbers don’t tell the full story for Massachusetts. When it comes to lab space, pandemic-era development has created an inventory that now more than meets demand, bringing additional flexibility to lessees in more locations around the Commonwealth. The industry now has a total inventory of 61.9 million square feet of lab space in Massachusetts, with pipeline projections now significantly smaller in the coming year (between 14 and 17 million square feet). Eleven Massachusetts headquartered companies have been acquired this year for a disclosed total of $10.47 billion (vs. $4.47 billion over the same time last year), a positive signal given the absence of any Massachusetts IPOs so far in 2023.

The Snapshot also illustrates that Massachusetts continues to play a significant role in addressing some of the world’s toughest unmet medical needs. While drug pipelines of Massachusetts-headquartered companies make up 14.9% of the overall U.S. pipeline (down slightly from last year), the state’s total drug development pipeline reflects a scale that is nearly half of the total pipeline of China, a country with 1.3 billion people.

With many Massachusetts-headquartered companies not generating revenue, the state’s ecosystem acutely experiences fluctuations in the investment environment. Furthermore, the state’s dependence on the life sciences industry’s economic contributions leaves it vulnerable to outsized impacts of federal policy changes, as well as competition from low-cost states. That said, continued and targeted investment and support will help enable Massachusetts to add new competencies to our ecosystem while remaining a global leader in innovation and research and development.

About MassBio

MassBio’s mission is to advance Massachusetts’ leadership in the life sciences to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system, and improve patient lives. MassBio represents the premier global life sciences and healthcare hub, with 1,600+ members dedicated to preventing, treating, and curing diseases through transformative science and technology that brings value and hope to patients. Founded in 1985, MassBio works to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs, events, industry thought leadership, and services for the #1 life sciences cluster in the world.

See all MassBio News