KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Biotech Industry Reviews Effects Of The Recession

Minneapolis Star Tribune, on the Biotechnology Industry Organization's convention in Chicago: "The biotechnology industry, hurt by the recession, is looking for inspiration from Charles Darwin. Leading executives say unless biotech companies adapt to a less-robust economy and changing industry standards, they won't survive the downturn. Biotech start-ups, seen as the lifeblood of the industry, have been among the worst hit by a decline in venture capital investments." The four-day "annual meeting comes as the industry is grappling with tighter funding, a monumental change in health care rules and potential changes to the way the government regulates the food and drug industries" (Lee, 5/4).

Meanwhile, a report released during the conference details the industry's impact on jobs, the economy and the health sector.

Crain's Chicago Business: "Illinois' biosciences industry lost jobs over much of the past decade, despite an influx of federal research money that's normally an elixir for startup companies and employment, according to a study released Monday. Employment in the state's biosciences sector - everything from pharmaceuticals and lab-testing jobs to work on agricultural chemicals - shrank 3.3% from 2001 to 2008, to 57,345 jobs, according to the Ohio-based Battelle Memorial Institute, a non-profit research group. The nation's bioscience sector as a whole added 15.8% to its workforce over that stretch, expanding to 1.4 million jobs" (Colias, 5/3). 

Palm Beach Post: "Florida's biotech industry is thriving, although the wisdom of the state's $1.5 billion bet on research labs remains unclear, a prominent industry expert said today. … Biotech employment in Florida rose 18 percent from 2001 to 2008, the report said, while the state's total private-sector jobs grew by only 7 percent. Battelle counted positions in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and research. Battelle Vice President Mitch Horowitz called the job growth a promising sign" (Ostrowski, 5/4).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "The state's bioscience sector grew at about the same pace as that of the rest of the country, according to the Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Initiatives 2010 report. ... The number of bioscience establishments in the state grew by 28.4% to 752 from 2001 through 2008, the report said. Employment in the industry grew by 15.8% to 24,694, it said" (Gallagher, 5/3).

Maryland Gazette: "From 2006 to 2008, Maryland's bioscience industry added jobs far more quickly than the national average, according to a report released Monday. The state's bio sector employed 32,383 people in 2008, some 27 percent more than in 2006, according to figures from the report by Battelle and the Biotechnology Industry Organization" (Shay, 5/3).

San Francisco Business Times: "California continues to lead the biotech race, but it shouldn't look back to see who's gaining. Several states are concentrating on niches within the biotech industry - ranging from wet corn milling to diagnostic imaging centers - in an economic development quest for high-wage jobs" (Leuty, 5/3).

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