“In the News”

June 14, 2017

Top 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters

GEN’s Annual Ranking Counts Down the Nation’s Most Nurturing Regions

According to the Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), Chicagoland placed #10 among top 10 US Biopharma Clusters in 2017.

GEN ranks regions based on five criteria:

  • NIH funding—Taken from the publicly available NIH RePORT database, for the current federal fiscal year, from its start on October 1, 2016, through May 23, 2017.
  • Venture Capital (VC) funding—Taken from 2016 and Q1 2017 figures furnished by the publicly available MoneyTree Report.
  • Patents—Based on the number of patents containing the word “biotechnology” awarded since 1976 in namesake cities and suburbs where key companies are located.
  • Lab space—Based on total-size-of-market figures, in millions of square feet, furnished by the commercial real estate brokerage JLL in its U.S. Life Sciences Outlook report for 2016.
  • Jobs—Based on JLL’s report. While job numbers are ranked this year compared with last year’s Top 10 US Clusters list, less weight had to be given to job totals in regions where GEN has found widespread discrepancies in job figures. However, workforce size was factored in when deciding the ultimate position of a region.

Other cities in the top 10 are: Los Angeles / Orange County (#9), Raleigh-Durham (includes Research Triangle Park, NC; #8), Seattle (#7), Greater Philadelphia (#6), Maryland / Virginia / DC Metro (#5), San Diego (#4), New York-New Jersey (#3), San Francisco Bay Area (#2) and Boston / Cambridge (#1).

Chicagoland has maintained the 10th position on GEN’s list for a few years (2016, 2015, 2014). In the 2017 report, the CBC and its new Executive Director, Jim Audia, are prominently featured:

“Improving the region’s biopharma ecosystem will be among the priorities of James E. Audia, CSO of Constellation Pharmaceuticals, who on May 25 was named the new executive director of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, effective August 1. The consortium was formed to stoke collaboration among researchers at Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and other institutions.”

Indeed, with the renewal of the CBC funding by the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust for 2017-2021, the CBC has entered “Phase 2” of its operations expanding its programming to include not only basic but also translational research initiatives. In addition, CBC Phase 2 plans to launch new efforts to foster a strong biotech entrepreneurial culture in Chicago.


▸ Top 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters, by Alex Philippidis, June 5, 2017