Report: Life sciences rocks

May 13, 2009
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Indiana University handed the stateâ??s life sciences industry a nice love letter today in the form of a study.

Pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and health care supplies were responsible for nearly a fourth of all jobs created in the state between 2001 and 2007, said the Indiana Business Research Center, an arm of the business school.

Also, the sectorâ??s share of all manufacturing nearly doubled, to about a fifth of total value created. Life sciences came on so strong that the industry now churns out more value than the stateâ??s traditional hallmark of transportation equipment. Imagine how life sciences and transportation would compare after the transportation layoffs of the past year or two.

Only California makes more medical equipment and supplies. And Indiana also is second in drug manufacturing.

Life sciences can crow about wages. The industry pays double the state average, $82,000.

These numbers reflect the prosthetics concentration in Warsaw, medical devices and pharmaceuticals in Bloomington, and, of course, Lillyâ??s presence. But donâ??t forget about the rise of companies like Suros Surgical Systems, the Indianapolis biopsy equipment maker that was sold but continues to operate here.

The letter also has warnings.

Research and development jobs, which build the foundation for manufacturing, are in retreat at a time the positions are growing nationally. And Indiana desperately needs more post-secondary biological sciences teachers; only one other state has a lower concentration.

Overall, though, the report reflects well on efforts by players ranging from universities to the companies to BioCrossroads, the promotional not-for-profit.

What do you think? Are things going the right direction? What would you change?
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