Move Over Boston and San Francisco, Pennsylvania is on the Cutting Edge of the Life Sciences Industry

The life sciences industry has had a strong presence in Pennsylvania for decades with thousands of companies settling here to develop pharmaceuticals, conduct groundbreaking research and engineer medical devices that are changing the world we live in for the better.

The state consistently ranks among the top tier nationwide in key measures of bioscience research, development and innovation, including in academic R&D, NIH research funding and venture capital investments.

The numbers speak loudly.

In 2014, $1.5 billion in NIH funding was awarded to Pennsylvania research projects and there was nearly $1.7 billion in bioscience venture capital investments made statewide from 2009 to 2013.

The life sciences industry also is providing great jobs for Pennsylvanians – really great jobs.

More than 78,000 people who live in Pennsylvania work in the life sciences industry with those workers earning an average of about $88,000 annually.

While there’s no doubt that Pennsylvania is a hotbed for the life science industry, it’s a fact that is somewhat overlooked.

Most people just don’t associate Pennsylvania with being on the cutting edge of the life sciences industry –that it’s a distinction reserved for large metropolitan areas like Boston or San Francisco.

Ironically those cities are taking notice and starting to look at Pennsylvania as a prime model for how to sustain and grow companies in life sciences and related fields.

Now industry leaders are helping to put Pennsylvania on the map – literally.

In October, 10 Pennsylvania life sciences organizations introduced an interactive “Life Sciences Ecosystem” map to show not only how many life sciences-related companies call Pennsylvania home, but to bring attention to their diversity, scope and breadth.

The interactive map – a first of its kind database of life sciences organizations in the state – is the vision of  Barbara Schilberg, Managing Director and Chief Executive Office of BioAdvance, the biotechnology greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

“There wasn’t a resource like this out there before,” Schilberg said. “Every (listing) I came across was outdated.”

Schilberg calls the map “a starting point” in a broader marketing effort to bring attention to the concentration of biotechnology and life sciences companies here and how those industries are a major driving force in the state economy.

The comprehensive database includes therapeutic, medical technology, digital health and diagnostic companies as well as research institutions, incubators and life sciences consultants.

The map is a resource for anyone interested in locating their biotech business in Pennsylvania, looking for research companies or for startups that may want help in growing their business.

Users can search by company name, industry sector and location. Companies that are new or not yet represented have the opportunity to add themselves to the map.

In the coming months, as this tool is further developed, it will prove to be an important resource in the life sciences community and as the industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds in Pennsylvania.

Equally as important, the database will serve as a guide to potential investors, scientists and entrepreneurs and provide them with a close look at the life sciences industry across the state as well as highlight the fact that Pennsylvania is truly at the core of the life sciences industry on a national level.

It’s a notable distinction that Pennsylvania has earned and deserves.

Megan Dapp is a Senior Director with a strong background in legislative affairs and alliance development. Her responsibilities include the development and execution of integrated advocacy campaigns. With deep experience in healthcare, Megan does extensive work for Bravo Group’s clients within the life science industry.