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November 07, 2016

U.S. Hot Spots for Biopharma Jobs

Employment Picture Remains the Brightest in Ten Regions

U.S. Hot Spots for Biopharma Jobs

“One of the primary drivers of establishment growth, and overall growth” in biopharma clusters is their pipeline of people capable of filling the industry’s growing number of jobs, says Roger Humphrey of commercial real estate firm JLL. [creatarka/Getty]

  • Philadelphia

    Number of jobs: 53,614 (JLL)

    The region anchored by the “City of Brotherly Love” is seeing expansion by WuXi AppTec. On October 6, the company opened a 150,000-square-foot biomanufacturing center, the company’s third facility within the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where 200 manufacturing and support staff will be based once fully configured. Later this month, one of the region’s research anchors, The University of Pennsylvania, is set to formally open its Pennovation Center startup space within its Pennovation Works campus. The 58,000-square-foot site has four biopharmas occupying its customizable lab spaces, starting with Liquid Biotech USA, and has found startups to occupy 80% of its space.

    The region’s (and nation’s) oldest urban research park, the University City Science Center, won $50,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration last month for its Phase 1 Ventures commercialization program, a partnership with Wexford Science + Technology. The Science Center’s current and past incubator residents account directly and indirectly for a combined 40,000 jobs in Greater Philadelphia, according to a report released in June by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and Econsult Solutions. 

    AstraZeneca is keeping 134 sales and support jobs in the region, but shifting them from Fort Washington, PA, to its North America headquarters in Wilmington, DE. However, Merck & Co. is cutting 148 sales and administrative support jobs in North Wales, PA, after ending U.S. promotion of the cardiovascular drug Zontivity (vorapaxar), on top of up to 360 R&D jobs being eliminated by the pharma giant in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

  • Raleigh–Durham, NC (includes Research Triangle Park, NC)

    Number of jobs: 35,073 (JLL)

    Bayer’s planned $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto has sparked concerns that the combined company may cut jobs in the region, where Bayer is a major employer. The companies aren’t discussing specifics of job cuts while the deal waits regulatory approval—though Bayer has said it will retain an “important presence” in Durham, NC, where Bayer now bases 640 employees at the headquarters for the Crop Science division of its North American operations. Durham and the rest of North Carolina are growing biopharma jobs at three times the national average, according to JLL.

    Among employers expanding is Novo Nordisk, which in March started construction on a $1.8 billion diabetes drug production site in Clayton, NC, that is expected to employ 700 when fully operational in 2020. That same month, Braeburn Pharmaceutical announced plans to create 52 jobs by building a $20 million manufacturing/R&D hub at Keystone Technology Park in Morrisville, NC, near Research Triangle Park (RTP). On September 20, Almac Group announced plans to bring 102 more jobs to Durham in an expansion that would expand its Bull City workforce by more than one-third from its current 288 staffers. Also last month, Inivata, a British developer of clinical applications for liquid biopsy and circulating tumor DNA analysis, expanded into the U.S. by opening an office at Research Triangle Park.

    However, BASF earlier this year began cutting about 100 of its 1000 jobs at RTP, where the company bases its North American Crop Protection business and global headquarters for BASF Plant Science—part of a global 350-job reduction.

  • San Diego

    Number of jobs: 64,690 (JLL)

    The “Plymouth of the West” will host next year’s Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) International Convention. At that event, the region’s biopharma leaders can be expected to show progress toward achieving the 2020 Strategic Plan unveiled earlier this year by life-sci industry group Biocom. The Plan’s goals include accelerating job growth in the San Diego region and the rest of Southern California.

    Indeed some biopharma giants are growing. Illumina in April inked its third expansion lease within 15 months, agreeing to lease the 316,000-square-foot i3 campus in University Towne Centre, developed by BioMed Realty Trust and set to be completed next year. Illumina’s HQ grew in June when it moved into Building 6, developed by Alexandria Real Estate Equities. By year’s end, Alexandria plans to complete another San Diego building for Eli Lilly, which is expanding its Biotechnology Center. Vertex Pharmaceuticals next year is set to more than double the space of its La Jolla, CA, research site, from 80,000 to 170,000 square feet—and more than double its regional workforce with an eventual 250 employees.

    On a smaller scale, Xencor, based in Monrovia, CA, said last month it will add four staffers to its 17-person San Diego office. And San Diego County saw 330 new life sciences jobs among the 1650 created by tech-focused “innovation startups” last year, the nonprofit regional tech entrepreneurship group Connect said last month.

  • San Francisco Bay Area

    Number of jobs: 67,738 (JLL)

    The West Coast’s largest biopharma cluster received three recent votes of confidence from big pharma. Novartis on October 5 said it will move its Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases to Emeryville, CA, from Singapore. Merck & Co. began recruiting 100 researchers for interim labs set to open next year in South San Francisco, where AstraZeneca has opted to consolidate 350 regional R&D jobs next year at a single 163,000-square-foot site now under construction at HCP’s The Cove at Oyster Point.

    The “Birthplace of Biotechnology” is also home to The Landing at Oyster Point, which will be transformed into 2.25 million square feet of life sciences R&D space under plans by a joint venture led by a U.S. entity of the Shanghai-based Greenland Holding Group, which bought the 42-acre property in August for $171 million.

    Beyond big pharma and big campuses, South San Francisco welcomed Verily (formerly Google) Life Sciences, which announced plans to base an initial 400 staffers relocating from Mountain View, CA, in three buildings at the former Onyx Pharmaceuticals site being subleased to the company by Amgen, which bought Onyx in 2013. Verily said it will eventually expand to a fourth building and add 600 more jobs—though in August, the city’s Planning Commission was told that construction was being postponed until 2018. Job growth also stems from early-stage companies. A June report by the California Life Sciences Institute found that 137 Bay Area life sciences startups provided jobs for more than 1200 people in full-time, part-time, and consultant positions. 

  • Seattle

    Number of jobs: 24,320 (JLL)

    The CEO for one of Seattle’s best-known biotechs, Juno Therapeutics, delivered an unflattering picture of the region’s biopharma industry earlier this month at the GeekWire Summit 2016: “We’re going backwards,” declared Hans Bishop, according to GeekWire, before adding: “We’ve got a lot to do, but I think the work is starting and I believe there is real intent, and I hope we can get ourselves back on track.”

    The region’s biopharma leaders vowed to get their industry back on track 2 years ago after Amgen pulled out and a beneficial R&D tax credit expired. They have met with some success: Seattle Genetics told the Puget Sound Business Journal earlier this month it plans to continue adding about 100 new staffers each year, and is now expanding its Bothell, WA, headquarters by 100,000 square feet. Juno remains expansion minded, exercising an option to lease an additional 183,623 square feet at Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ Alexandria Center lab/office building, giving it all 287,000 square feet in the only life sciences space under construction in Seattle’s Lake Union section.

    In March, BioMed Realty Trust formally opened a 122,700-square-foot addition to the Vue Research Center, whose tenants include NanoString Technologies, Novo Nordisk, Presage Biosciences, and Blaze Biosciences. Over the summer, BioMed completed a new 43,000-square-foot startup space, The Labs @201 Elliott, at The Omeros Building.

  • Washington, DC (includes portions of Maryland and Virginia)

    Number of jobs: 39,145 (JLL)

    Two sizeable expansions were announced in the region this year. Novavax in June said it will triple its workforce, adding 850 jobs at its headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD, as well as in Rockville, MD, where the company leased additional space for manufacturing and offices. Also last summer, Wellstat plans to grow into 115,000 square feet it agreed to sublease at GlaxoSmithKline’s Global Vaccines R&D Center.

    Despite a sizeable job base, biopharma leaders say the region can do more to grow their industry. One solution may have emerged in June, when Maryland’s Department of Commerce said it was joining with Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, Baltimore, and University of Maryland, College Park, to create new “centers of excellence” to support commercialization of research in cell, gene, and regenerative therapies. One center will be created in Baltimore and the other somewhere in suburban Washington, DC. The need to nurture startups spun out of universities was a challenge identified at the 2016 Regional BioTech Forum, held in April at the Gaithersburg headquarters of home-grown MedImmune, the biologics arm of AstraZeneca.

    In Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and state lawmakers agreed to spend $2.2 billion toward academic research with the goal of growing biopharma, with the governor declaring in August: “I want Virginia to be known as the brain state.” Virginia and Maryland biopharma leaders this year restated their ambitious goal of growing the region’s base of jobs and employers to “top 3 by 2023.”

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