AZ Biosciences: Innovation, Investment and ROI

2012 marks year 10 of Arizona’s Bioscience Road Map, a collaboration between private  investors, philanthropists, public and private corporations, universities, governments and a dedicated group of leaders who share a vision for Arizona’s Bioscience Industry and our state’s future.  Committed to bioscience  innovation and the social and economic benefits it brings, our community has invested and now is reaping measurable returns on those investments.  To stay the course, we must continue to innovate and invest.


Whether it is finding new ways to feed the world, biofuels that leverage our abundance of Arizona sun or medical innovations that sustain health and improved it, Arizona innovators are working across the technology spectrum.  Arizona innovators are bridging the gap for patients await heart transplants, developing new tests so that we can catch and treat cancer early, striving for a world changing breakthrough in the battle against AIDs, and more.


This work is supported by 10 years and more of invested leadership time and talents not to mention in government, private and philanthropic capital that has flowed in our community between 2002 and 2012. In 2009 alone(the  last reported year), research invested with Arizona Universities was $437.1 Million.   We have built or expanded our research and teaching infrastructure at NAU in Northern Arizona and at TGen-North, the Biodesign Institute at ASU, and the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix as well as private institutions including the International Genomics Consortium and TGEN in Phoenix and  South of the Gila BIO5, the Arizona Cancer Center and the UA College of Medicine in Tucson continue to accelerate innovative ideas along the path to commercial success.


So, other the many benefits this work brings to the world, what are the economic impacts. Here are a few:

  • Jobs up 41% form 2002-2010 (compared to a U.S. gain of 11%)
  • Firms up 27% (compared to a U.S. gain of 20%)
  • Wages up 27% and 29% higher that the average Arizona wage
  • NIH Funding up 25% ($184M in 2011) besting the 20% rate of the  top-10  states.
  • Venture Capital totaled $69M in 2011

Add it all up, Arizona’s bioscience sector generates a total of $28.88 Billion in annual revenue and $1.1 Billion in state and local taxes based on 2009 data.

Keeping it Going

These are the kind of results our community needs as we head into Arizona’s next 100 years.  We must continue to innovate, invest and generate solid returns on investment in the years ahead.

In the Arizona Legislature our leaders are hard at work doing their part.

  • Representative Ted Vogt (Dist. 30) is the primary sponsor of HB 255.  The bill’s provisions will support growth at the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix.  If approved it would appropriate $15 million from the State General Fund to the Arizona Board of Regents in fiscal year 2012-2013 for the University of Arizona.  These fund would be allocated $12.5 million for a) 85.5 full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) at the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix to increase the first-year class of medical students from 48 to 80 in the Fall of 2012 and b) costs associated with accreditation requirements. The remaining $2.5 million applied to  a) 20 FTEs at the colleges of Pharmacy and Public Health in Phoenix to launch a Pharmacogenomics program to provide the foundation for a four-year PharmD program, b) additional new programs and c) improving existing programs.
  • Representative Vic Williams (Dist. 26) is working with stakeholders across our  university and industry communities to make our universities more competitive in the attraction of sponsored research bringing new investments to our universities and new jobs to our state.

In our community,

  • The Flinn Foundation, sponsor of the first 10 years of the Bioscience Road Map, has renewed its commitment to continued support and investment.
  • AZBio is investing the resources contributed from across our community in new programs to support local companies and spread the word about he great work being done here in Arizona. We are working with our elected representatives at the local, state and Federal level to help create an environment were we all can grow.
  • The Arizona Commerce Authority announced its second $1.5 million Arizona Innovation Challenge, the country’s largest monetary award for a technology commercialization challenge bringing the total investment to $3 Million. This commitment  to the The Arizona Innovation Challenge is an investment in the minds of talented entrepreneurs in Arizona and around the world.
  • Our industry members are investing in the research and production capabilities that will continue to move us forward faster.

We all know that innovation is not always the easiest of journeys.  But, when we stay the path, the results are worth it.  Especially when Arizona’s collaborative gene kicks in and we all work towards these goals together.

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