BioCrossroads Report: Life Science Sector Thriving, With Room to Grow

Xconomy Indiana — 

BioCrossroads, Indiana’s public-private initiative to grow the state’s life sciences sector, has a new report highlighting the industry’s economic activity in 2017 based on data from Indiana University.

According to the report, Indiana’s life sciences sector continues to expand in a couple of key areas, including the number of companies created, the number of new products receiving FDA approval, and the overall impact of the sector on the state’s economy.

Brian Stemme, BioCrossroads’ project director, says he’s excited about what the report reveals: Steady growth and significant expertise across the life sciences industry, whether it’s in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, agricultural tech, or research and testing. Major life sciences companies headquartered in Indiana include Anthem, Assembly Biosciences (NASDAQ: ASMB), Cook Medical, Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY), and Zimmer Biomet (NYSE: ZBH).

Stemme points to a few 2017 stats in particular as bright spots: The FDA approved 80 new products developed by Indiana companies last year, and 1,689 life sciences companies operated across the state, employing nearly 57,000 people. The average life sciences wage was $94,749, for a total industry payroll of $5.3 billion and a statewideeconomic impact of $78 billion. Indiana also rankssecond in the nation for the number of life sciences exports.  In comparison, last year’s report noted a $68 billion economic impact; 1,687 life sciences companies in operation; and 77 new products approved by the FDA.

“The number of jobs and average wage shows the strength of the industry and what it’s bringing to the table,” Stemme says, noting that the average life sciences salary in the state is more than double the per capita average of $45,000. “Our venture capital numbers have really gotten better, but they’re still not where they need to be. We need more access to funding, but having 33 life sciences companies raise $107 million last year is exciting.”

Indiana also had two nearly billion-dollar life sciences transactions in 2017: Eli Lilly’s acquisition of CoLucid and Cook Pharmica’s acquisition by Catalent (NYSE: CTLT), Stemme says. In addition, Indiana’s life sciences sector saw a company make its stock market debut when Orthopediatrics (NASDAQ: KIDS) raised $52 million in an October initial public offering (IPO).

“Indiana has not had many IPOs, so to see a life sciences company go public—go the distance and issue shares to raise money—makes me really proud,” Stemme says. “Compared to five years ago, the fact that we had companies here doing billion-dollar transactions is also really meaningful.” Both acquisition deals were about a decade in the making, he adds.

In 2018, Stemme says, BioCrossroads will continue to support work on existing projects, such as the seed investments made by the Indiana Bioscience Research Institute, to advance public-private growth opportunities.

“We’ve been keeping stats for six or seven years and the numbers keep rising, which is exciting to see even while the industry is consolidating,” Stemme says. “It’s all about shots on goal—we know the science is hard; to have a doctor willing to believe in it is so hard. But the more life sciences companies we have, the greater the likelihood of success. If we have more shots, we have more opportunities for success later on.”