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The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) released new data on the bioscience industry in the United States. The new report, The Bioscience Economy: Propelling Life-Saving Treatments, Supporting State & Local Communities, analyzes the bioscience industry’s economic footprint across the nation and in Illinois, the significant role of small- and mid-sized companies, and the industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis includes a fact sheet for Illinois, which can be found via the interactive map at www.bio.org/jobs.

“The bioscience industry’s economic footprint reaches into so many local communities across the country. From capital investments to research & development, this report shows the impact of the biosciences across the nation’s innovation ecosystem. The bioscience industry is critically important to Illinois and we are proud to work closely with partners like iBIO to help ensure the future of the industry and its role as an economic driver in the region,” said Pete Pellerito, BIO Senior Policy Adviser for Federal and State Economic Development and Technology Transfer Initiatives.

In Illinois the report reflects life sciences employers grew their employment base since 2016, increasing by 3.2 percent reaching nearly 88,000 direct jobs. Our community in Illinois is also 13 percent more concentrated relative to the national average. 

Research in Illinois also ranked in the top tier of all states in life sciences related academic R&D activities. Illinois research institutions spent nearly $1.6 billion in 2018 on R&D. R&D per capital in Illinois also increased to $123 in 2018, an incase of $12 from 2016 ($111). 

Venture investments in Illinois continues to increase with $2.7 billion in VC funding reported from 2016 – 2018,  an increase of $1 billion from the  2014-2017 BIO report. Illinois ranks 5th in total VC investment from 2016-2019, previously we were ranked 7th. 

The report also highlights areas for continued improvement supporting iBIO’s Economic Blueprint for Illinois and the Governor’s Economic Plan. While our community continues to grow, it is growing at a slower pace than the national average (3.2% employment growth in IL compared to 7.2% national average). Growth in life sciences establishments also falls behind the national average (3.1% in IL compared to 18% national average). The report reflected that both the Research and Testing and Medical Device industries in Illinois reported negative growth over the past couple years.  iBIO is committed to work with the State of Illinois and our members. Our Economic Blueprint focuses on key areas to support the growth of our community.

  1. Access to Capital: While venture investment in Illinois increased, we need to drive more early stage investment into our companies. Passing common sense economic policies like SBIR Matching will help early stage ventures grow. 22 states currently offer some type of SBIR Matching program. We also need to continue to increase venture investment in Illinois by building our venture community focus on our industry. 
  2. Infrastructure: We have seen a lot of growth in life sciences real estate investment in Illinois. We need to continue to support the growth of lab space in Illinois. 
  3. Training: To support a growing ecosystem, we need trained employees. Illinois is home to amazing academic research institutions but opportunities exist at the 2 year and technical college to expand training programs for labs and bio manufacturing to support the growth in that part of our community. 

From our community’s resources to our world-class research institutions to the business leadership in the state, the Illinois life sciences industry is perfectly positioned for continued growth. iBIO believes a strong and consistent commitment by our government partners is critical to maintaining an ecosystem for success in Illinois. When government, industry, and academia work together, our community thrives.