Thursday, September 24, 2015

Test Tube Cities

Few things have had stronger staying power in the economic development business than pictures of lab coat techs starting at test tubes.   And with about 20 regions claiming to be top 5 in biotech, thought I'd do an Indeed search to see how many openings each metro actually had in this field.

Washington, DC.   Lots of hype about the 270 Biotech corridor, Human Genome, and MedImmune.  Within 50 miles of NIH's Bethesda HQ, 1,275 biotech jobs.

Boston.  Research, universities, more research, MIT, Harvard, Gronk (really is an amazing tight end, look up his stats).   Within 50 miles of Biogen HQ in Kendall Square, 2,996 jobs.

Seattle.  Paul Allen's money, Bill Gates's money, the intended biotech campus turned Jeff Bezos HQ in South Lake Union. Within 50 miles of the Westlake Avenue Streetcar (don't call it the SLUT anymore), just 379 biotech jobs.  Wow. San Diego came in higher at 785.

San Francisco.  2,356.

Outside of the Northeast Corridor and the Bay Area, only other regions I found over 300 were Chicago at 607, and LA at 814.

So within the Northeast Corridor,  there's a steady flow of companies from NIH to MIT.  Made sense then to run some 25 mile searches as well.

1,096 jobs within 50 miles of the Liberty Bell, but only 526 within 25 miles of the Philadelphia landmark.   Similar numbers within 25 miles of Princeton University, but 2,139 within 50 miles of that school, where you can tap into both Philly and NY Metro areas.   There are more biotech jobs within 50 miles of Princeton than there are within 50 miles of Manhattan.   Some of this is because New Jersey has a lot more going on with traditional pharma than Connecticut.

Also wanted to see how these places measured up in terms of VC raised, based off of data in the PwC Moneytree Survey.   Metro Boston and the Bay Area are tied at about $2.1 billion biotech raised over the last 12 months.   Metro NY, Philly, and DC each have done about 1/10th this, less than San Diego and Seattle.   So outside of Boston, the NE Corridor seems to be pulling in a lot of old school pharma.

Boston's clearly #1 with San Francisco #2.   After that, it's a huge drop off to #3, with San Diego and Seattle in a tie if you're looking at edgier, experimental companies, and NJ Turnpike Exit 7 getting #3 if you pull in biotech jobs at older pharmaceutical companies.    So no matter how many pictures of lab techs starting at test tubes are on your region's economic development website, pretty good chance it can't compete with Exit 7.

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