Massachusetts bioproduction employment outpaces national average

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Shironosov)
(Image: Getty/Shironosov)

Related tags Boston Massachusetts Moderna Beam Therapeutics Takeda Biotech companies

Biopharma employment levels in the state of have Massachusetts grown at a rate of 6% since 2009, bettering the national average of 1%.

When R&D jobs are collated alongside manufacturing roles and other areas of the biotech industry, total employment in the sector reached 74,256 in 2018 and grew by 35% over the last decade.

Alongside the boom in employment in the state, industry has also added scale to available lab space, with 12.4 million-square-feet being constructed over the last 10 years, an increase of 70%. In total, there is now 30 million-square-feet of commercial lab space, as of this year.

The figures were uncovered by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) and published in its latest report, 2019 Industry Snapshot​, ahead of this year’s Biotech Week Boston.

Robert Coughlin, CEO of MassBio, said, “We’re focused on efforts to support both the infrastructure needs of the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] in terms of employee housing and transportation, and also creative ways to ensure that a diversity of companies, from small startups to established biotechs, have the investments and resources they need to sustain this growth.”​ 

The companies working in the state represent 14% of the US pipeline for new therapies, with 2,253 drug candidates moving through development owned by Massachusetts-based companies.

The development of these potential therapies is being supported by the amount of venture capital flowing into the state. According to MassBio figures, 31% of all US-based biotech initial public offerings (IPOs) emerged from the state.

In 2018, biopharma companies in Massachusetts received $4.8bn (€4.38bn) of investment; however, as of the first half of 2019, the state is set to have lower levels of venture capital investment compared with 2018, after raising $1.5bn.

This year, Beam Therapeutics has been the largest beneficiary of venture capital, after raising $135m in its Series B financing round. However, this is dwarfed by Moderna’s 2018 financing, when it raised $500m.

After Takeda’s buyout of Shire​, the former company is now the largest employer in the state, having 4,927 employees in the state. Takeda is closely followed by Sanofi, which has 4,800 employees, and then there is a significant gap to the next closest, with Biogen having half of that number, at 2,400 members of staff.

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