Mass. sees jump in biotech jobs

Massachusetts biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry employment reached an all-time high of 46,553 in 2009, industry trade group MassBio reveals in a new report. The group also reports that employment in the biopharma industry grew 19.7 percent between 2005 and 2009, while overall state employment grew by five percent.

"Despite the difficult economy, we continue to be the top choice for biotech and pharmaceutical companies looking to discover the latest cures and therapies, and the top choice for the people who invest in those companies," says Robert Coughlin, president & CEO of MassBio, in a statement.

Of the top 11 biopharma manufacturing states, only Massachusetts, California, Maryland and North Carolina added manufacturing jobs, according to the report. In addition, growth in employment in biotech R&D was the greatest among the states analyzed, hitting 27,000 in 2009--up from 24,565 in 2007, according to MassBio. Massachusetts also had five of the top eight NIH-funded hospitals in the U.S.

The report also finds that venture capital investments in Massachusetts biotech companies attained a historic high in the first two quarters of 2010. And companies headquartered in Massachusetts have commercialized 141 products that treat 90 different medical conditions. Together, these conditions have U.S. patient populations totaling over 160 million people, according to MassBio.

Massachusetts has been doing much to attract and keep biotech. For example, earlier this summer, officials green-lighted a $1 billion, five-building biotech center near Kendall Square in Cambridge. Binney Street Project, as it is known, will boast about 1.72 million square feet of office/laboratory space and other mixed uses.

The findings were from MassBio's annual Industry Snapshot, a report compiled using information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government and industry sources.

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