The life sciences in Pennsylvania – biopharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics and more – is a huge economic driver for the commonwealth, employing more than 79,000 and generating annual wages of $7.2 billion. But a new
is a strong reminder that there is danger is complacency.
In 2001, Pennsylvania showed tremendous foresight in its use of tobacco-industry settlement funds to support life science growth, says Christopher Molineaux, president of Pennsylvania Bio
, a 520-company member trade group. Over the years, $120 million leveraged $3.7 billion in private investment, funding more than 260 life science startups. "It was a brilliant move and dollars very well spent," he says. But with today's competition "we risk losing those companies and those jobs to other states and potentially to other countries … the time to renew our state's commitment to life sciences is now."
In its 42-page report, the Life Science Leadership Advisory Council, an ad hoc group comprised of representatives from academia, business, industry and government, lays out a plan for continued growth for the next 10 years with strategies including improving the state's business climate, boosting research and development, accelerating the pace of technology commercialization, attracting private investment capital and expanding state support.
The report notes that some of its recommendations are costly and may not be immediately feasible (such as the suggested expansion of the state's R&D tax credit from $45 million to $100 million). But others are low- or no-cost and can be implemented immediately, such as promoting the life sciences' role in the state's economy.
"The ultimate goal," says Molineaux, "is making Pennsylvania the global leader in the life sciences."
Source: Christopher Molineaux, Pennsylvania Bio
Writer: Elise Vider