Report: Indiana lagging nation in life sciences sector growth

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Indiana’s pharmaceutical and medical device sectors, long touted as major contributors to the state’s economy, are starting to lag the nation in growth and market share and will require a focused effort to stay competitive, according to a new report released Monday.

Other states, including South Carolina, Minnesota, Florida and the Dakotas, outpaced national growth in pharmaceuticals between 2010 and 2022, while Indiana is showing “signs of stress” with a growth rate that is slower, according to the report, prepared by TEConomy Partners LLC for BioCrossroads, an organization that promotes the state’s life-sciences industry.

The report outlines numerous strategies and actions Indiana should take over the next decade to turbocharge growth in life sciences.

That includes increasing research activity, expanding manufacturing capacity, boosting the talent pipeline, and engaging small and medium-sized companies “more robustly across the ecosystem” to address their needs.

The report also lays out several ambitious goals, including becoming the national leader in pharmaceutical manufacturing, as measured by gross domestic product contribution per capita. That would require Indiana to overtake New Jersey, which is now first in the nation, with Indiana in second place.

Another goal is to move Indiana into the top five in medical device manufacturing among all states. Indiana is now ninth in the nation, as measured by GDP contribution per capita.

The report urges the sector to “cement its leadership position” in research and development and associated innovation, as measured by federal grants, publication, patents, startup activity and venture capital funding.

“By 2033, Indiana will be known as a global leader in the life-sciences industry—the place that advances innovation into products that improve health and well-being,” says the report’s vision statement.

The 71-page report was written following a seven-month strategic planning process that involved more than 40 “industry stakeholders,” including officials from research universities, life-sciences companies, hospital systems, contract manufacturers, biotech startups and others.

“Indiana stands at the threshold of a transformative era,” Melina Kennedy, CEO of Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, the parent of BioCrossroads, said in a written statement. “Our state’s life sciences sector affects the lives of all Hoosiers and countless individuals globally. With our comprehensive strategic framework and impending new leadership at BioCrossroads, we are reinforcing our status as an innovation hub and ensuring our contributions have a lasting, positive impact.”

The report, titled “A Strategic Roadmap for Advancing Indiana’s Life Sciences Industries,” comes three months after the Biden administration designated Indiana as a federal tech hub, which will position it to compete for millions of dollars and boost the state’s image as a biotech innovator.

The steps outlined in the report are meant to “transform Indiana’s life sciences sector” by targeting investments and partnerships to raise the sector’s performance. The report stops short of asking state or national government for funding or special designations.

Indiana is home to multiple large companies in the sector, including drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co., medical-device maker Cook Medical, diagnostic-instruments maker Roche Diagnostics and agricultural technology company Corteva.

Together with a huge number of smaller companies and organizations, the sector has a $77 billion economic impact and employs about 64,000 Hoosiers, the report said.

“This comprehensive approach, developed with a diverse range of industry stakeholders, will require a unified effort between public and private partners across Indiana to ensure the sector’s continued success and for Indiana’s ongoing global leadership,” Dan Peterson, chair of the BioCrossroads board of directors, said in a statement.

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One thought on “Report: Indiana lagging nation in life sciences sector growth

  1. The “elephant in the room,” or I should say in the State is the obvious fact that we do not have enough research medical schools in our State. When will the business community in our State wake up to this problem?

    Both Purdue and Notre Dame have the resources and infrastructure to accomplish this.

    Phillip D. Toth, MD, FACP

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