The number of biotechs calling Florida home has increased even as the nation overall saw fewer developers, according to figures released by Florida BioDatabase. Nationwide, the industry lost up to 25 percent of public biotechs and up to 10 percent of private firms since 2008. But Florida's tally rose by 21 companies, or 29 percent, for a total of 165 developers in the state.
For years now, officials in the Sunshine State have poured money into programs to attract research institutions and biotechs. Florida's strategy called for incentives to lure satellite offices of well-known biotech research institutions--an approach that differs greatly from that of other growing biotech hubs. And the plan has been successful. "The growth in Florida is being driven by research institutes such as Scripps, Sanford Burnham, Torrey Pines and Max Planck and major public universities such as UF," notes the Gainsville Sun. The paper adds that the state's biotech companies landed $158 million in investment funding last year. That's up 37 percent from 2009--an impressive figure seeing that VC numbers nationwide experienced little growth.
Some critics, however, noted that Florida's biotech job growth comes at a very high cost. Last year a group of financial watchdogs reported that the state spent $1.55 billion attracting 1,100 biotech jobs, at the cost of $1.4 million per job.
- check out the Gainsville Sun report
Special Report: Florida - Top Five Regions Targeting Biotech Companies, 2008