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BioCrossroads: Life sciences a $50B industry in Indiana

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The life sciences industry in Indiana employs 55,500 workers paying average wages of more than $88,500 per year, according to new figures released Tuesday by Indianapolis-based life sciences development group BioCrossroads.

The figures were produced by the Indiana Business Research Center, an arm of Indiana University, which calculated the total economic impact of the life sciences industry in Indiana at $50 billion a year.

“These data elevate Indiana to the same company as America’s other world-renowned centers of health care innovation: Massachusetts, California, North Carolina and New Jersey,” said David Johnson, BioCrossroads’ CEO, in a prepared statement.

Indiana’s life sciences industry includes the corporate headquarters of such giants as drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co., health insurer WellPoint Inc., surgical implant maker Cook Medical Inc., orthopedic implant makers Biomet Inc., DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. and Zimmer Holdings Inc., and agro-tech company Dow AgroSciences LLC.

It also includes numerous small life sciences companies, including many trying to commercialize research breakthroughs made at Indiana’s research universities—IU, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame.

The report used 2011 and 2012 data, compared with a 2011 report that relied on 2009 and 2010 data. That earlier report totaled the economic impact of Indiana’s life sciences industry at $44 billion per year.

One difference between the two reports is that the most recent one includes “biologistics” companies, whereas the original economic impact report did not. On its own, biologistics has an impact of $2.5 billion annually, a BioCrossroads spokeswoman said. That means the economic impact of the rest of Indiana's life sciences businesses has expanded by $3.5 billion per year since BioCrossroads' 2011 report.

BioCrossroads and other life sciences industry groups have been trying to emphasize—especially to state legislators—the high wages and large economic impact made by the life sciences industry, even though it employs relatively few workers compared with Indiana’s other staple industries, such as manufacturing or construction.

Those two industries, even after heavy losses in the recession, still employed 490,000 and 128,000 workers, respectively, at the end of 2012.

The $88,500 in average wages paid in life sciences industries far exceeds the state’s average wage of about $40,000.

In all, there are more than 1,600 life sciences companies in Indiana, up from the earlier report's count of 854 companies.

Collectively, they pay about $5 billion in annual wages in Indiana. They also account for $9.3 billion in annual exports, ranking Indiana third in the nation in that category, behind California and Texas.

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