New report reveals scale of US industry

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A new report released at the annual international convention of BIO has revealed the staggering scale and economic contribution of the US-based bioscience sector.

The report, Transforming Ideas into Advances, has assessed US regions and states according to the policies they maintain to attract the bioscience sectors.

According to the report, "...state sponsored programs to encourage investment and help bioscience companies leverage existing resources has been shown to be instrumental in helping these innovative companies and enhance the overall economic prosperity and economic diversity of communities where the bioscience industry is located."

The report highlights the importance of factors like access to venture capital, the development of a skilled workforce, technology transfer systems and state of the art facilities.

Yet arguably the highlight of the report is its quantification of the US-based bioscience sector.

The sector directly employs 1.77 million people in the US, in more than 85,000 businesses, and more than another six million indirectly. Its total direct employment has grown by over 270,000, or almost 20 per cent, since 2001.

Its annual financial contribution to the US economy is over US$2 trillion and the sector's average wages "are consistently higher and growing faster...than those for the overall economy, reflecting the skilled, high-quality jobs in demand."

"The average U.S. bioscience worker earned nearly $99,000 in 2016, 85 percent greater than the average for the overall private sector," it said.

According to the report, 27 US states offer tax credits to angel investors who invest in technology companies including the biosciences, while 39 states offer sales tax exemptions on equipment for both R&D and manufacturing. Almost 40 states offer R&D tax credits for early-stage research.

The report has also identified the 'enabling' policies for bioscience companies at different stages of growth.

It says emerging companies engaged in early-stage development require policies like tax credits to promote venture capital and investment in R&D.

Clinical-stage companies engaged in early to mid-stage human clinical trials benefit from tax credits in R&D but also for capital investment.

Manufacturing-level companies require policies focused on investment in infrastructure and mitigating the cost of utilities.