Biotechnology as a Business

Advancements in medical, agricultural, industrial, and environmental biotechnology create enormous opportunities for the biotech industry. According to a recent study, Growing the Nation’s Bioscience Sector: State Bioscience Initiatives 2006,1 released by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)2, biosciences are a rapidly growing sector of the U.S. economy, with more than 40,000 businesses employing 1.2 million people across the nation. Government funding at research institutions and private companies plays an important part in the advancement of the biotechnology. In turn, state research and development investment is returned when the biotech industry facilitates the transfer of new applications into commercial products.

The 2006 BIO report examines biotech industry growth trends, state and regional bioscience initiatives, and employment data in the various bioscience subsectors: agricultural feedstock and chemicals; drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices and equipment; and research, testing and medical laboratories. Key findings of the BIO report include3:


• Total employment in the biosciences in the United States reached 1.2 million in 2004, with bioscience workers found in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The highest rate of growth in jobs is in the research, testing, and medical laboratories sector.
• The nation’s 1.2 million bioscience jobs generated an additional 5.8 million jobs in the economy. Each bioscience job in the United States generates 5.7 additional jobs in affiliated industries.
• States are spending billions of dollars to support bioscience research and development, with research funds and construction of academic and medical facilities.
• States are also using investment funds and tax incentives to attract large industry anchors, instead of solely focusing on launching and growing new bioscience ventures.
• Smaller states that have not traditionally invested in building bioscience industries are beginning to do so.

1 Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, Growing the Nation’s Bioscience Sector – 2006 State Bioscience Initiatives (2006), available at
2 BIO, the major biotechnology industry lobby, represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. In April 2006, BIO 2006 held its 14th annual international conference in Chicago drawing 18,000 life science professionals.
3 BIO, Press Release, Nation’s 1.2 Million Bioscience Jobs Generate Additional 5.8 Million Jobs (Apr. 10, 2006), available at