Report: Industry added jobs even as private sector lagged
By Ken Alltucker – Jan. 31, 2012 06:02 PM The Republic | azcentral.com
Arizona’s bioscience industry posted gains in jobs after the recession even as the state’s private-sector employment dipped, according to a new report.
The Battelle Technology Partnership Practice annual report of the state’s bioscience efforts showed that bioscience jobs in Arizona increased 7.4 percent in 2009 and 2010 compared with a 1.8 percent drop in the state’s overall private-sector employment during the same period.
Other bright spots for the state’s bioscience sector included a surge of venture-capital funding last year as several private-sector biotech companies secured large funding rounds.
The state’s bioscience sector had 96,223 jobs in 2010, a surge of nearly 41 percent since Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap was launched in 2002, according to Battelle. Most were hospital jobs, but other bioscience areas such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and research, testing and medical laboratories showed fast growth in high-paying jobs. Bioscience experts say the annual report shows the state has made strides in areas such as forming new companies and creating jobs, but the report also points out challenging areas such as sustaining funding for university research and securing investments in early-stage companies.
“It shows we are making progress,” said Joan Koerber-Walker, CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association. “It also highlights how far we have to go.”
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said the region must expand its efforts with a new bioscience campus on 600 acres near the Mayo Clinic in north Phoenix. “This is our best opportunity to successfully compete with cities that are leading in this area like San Francisco, Boston and Houston,” Stanton said.
The road map, commissioned by the Flinn Foundation, provides a list of goals for the state to grow its bioscience sector. Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, the technology-based economic-development arm of Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle, gathers data and provides annual updates on the state’s progress on goals outlined in the road map. The annual report said Arizona last year made “substantial progress” on 10 measures and “progress” on eight measures. The only goal not reached has been establishing technology zones to spur bioscience or technology clusters.
Read more about Arizona’s Bioscience Road Map and the Distance Traveled