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Report: State's life science sector continues to grow

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A total of 220 life sciences startups have been launched in Indiana since 2004, or an average of 44 per year, according to a new report from BioCrossroads that tracked the industry’s growth over the last eight years.

“This is a dramatic turnaround in a state whose numbers for overall entrepreneurial activity generally rank very low among the 50 states,” the life science initiative says in the report.

Indiana has “held steady” in private venture capital invested in life sciences firms: $277 million over six years. The state ranked 26th nationally in life sciences-related venture capital financing.

Despite the presence of pharmaceutical firms such as Eli Lilly and Co., medical device manufacturing represented the biggest chunk of employment in Indiana: 20,300, or 35.5 percent, of life sciences workers.

Downstate residents may be surprised to learn that three Warsaw-based orthopedics manufacturers – Biomet, Depuy and Zimmmer, represent more than $11 billion of Indiana’s $27 billion life sciences sector.

Since 2002, the total new jobs added in the overall life sciences sector grew by 8,800, an increase of 21 percent.

That places Indiana third, behind New Jersey and Massachusetts, in highest quotient of life sciences workers.

Such jobs are coveted because they pay an average of $81,000 compared with the average private sector wage in Indiana of $38,100.

Though noting Indiana has made big strides to emerge as a national center in the life sciences it has a continuing number of needs. These include better access to seed/early stage and venture capital, a more skilled workforce and more focus on emerging areas such as health information technology and contract manufacturing.

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