Life Sciences Equals Economic Development

Life Sciences drives economies, and for western PA it is one of our best contributors to economic development in the form of generating wealth and jobs. Just look at the math.

The term “life sciences” can include biotechnology, pharmaceutical, diagnostic, medical devices, and health care IT products – which make up approximately 40% of health care spending. And our nation’s health care system is projected to be $3.2 trillion by the end of the year. When you do the math, that’s $1.3 trillion in life sciences.  And that’s just the U.S.

In short, success in the life sciences is necessary for prosperity in a region, state, or nation.  We’re not talking about a subjective observation.  This statement comes via cold, irrefutable, objective calculations.  The economic impact of the life sciences industry is simply too big to ignore and too important not to invest in heavily.

Our local universities attract nearly $1 billion of federal funding each year to the region. That means if we were a state, the economic impact of western Pennsylvania’s federal funding for life sciences research alone would rank us among the top 12 states in the country.  That sounds big, and it is.

Lastly, the PLSG and its central role in fostering and advancing the life sciences in this region would not be in possible without foundation support.  Funding from regional foundations can be directly linked to an annual increase in Pittsburgh-area life sciences startups from three companies in 2002 to more than 12 today.  While we always would like to see more funding to support the innovation coming from our universities and entrepreneurs, the fact remains that our local foundations have been invaluable in moving the needle higher.

A high level of cooperation among investors, foundations, university researchers and technology transfer offices, local entrepreneurs, and organizations like PLSG is essential for success.  We must all focus on the same result – to generate economic prosperity, increased jobs, and a higher quality of life for our families, all through a stronger, more vibrant, and ever-expanding life sciences presence across this region.

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