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Life Sciences: How Florida’s growing bioscience industry has exceeded that of the U.S.

The development of any regions’ life sciences sector takes as much time as its accomplishments; treatments and cures, advancements in medical technology, and expansion to meet unmet needs in fields like oncology and regenerative medicine - years. 

Over the past decade, however, South Florida has become part of a state-wide global hub for biotechnology. With an ideal combination of startups, private corporations, universities, venture capitalists, and nonprofit researchers to further the region’s momentum in the sector, South Florida’s Life Sciences industry is rapidly making an impact on the industry and the local economy as well.

The Life Sciences South Florida (LSSF) is just one initiative that focuses on linking these elements to accelerate research density and commercialization. 

There are four steps to their Strategic Priorities and Goals towards stimulating economic growth:

1. Establish a shared communication portal, technology platform, research core facilities, and institute of commercialization 
2. Conduct an extensive asset map and cluster analysis
3. Recruit, develop, and retain talent in the region
4. Create, develop and strengthen programs designed to increase STEM student workforce and development within the region

By building an innovation ecosystem that both sustains the local population and retains it through education, Florida’s growing bioscience industry has exceeded that of the U.S. 

Now, over 10% of all biotech companies are established in Florida, and the growth rates of total life science establishments, drug and pharmaceutical companies, and medical device and equipment facilities have outpaced the national averages up to 24%. As a result, approximately 6,000 businesses have created 95,534 industry jobs as of 2020. 

Life Sciences and the economy

Life Sciences make a huge contribution to the South Florida economy. A PhRMA report addressed, not only the doctors and distributors, but the 100,000+ biopharmaceutical jobs are all supported in other sectors as well.

Besides STEM, production, office, and administration, the biopharmaceutical sectors also encompass management, financial operations, architecture and engineering, sales, software development, and material moving. 

There are several large healthcare networks and top-tier medical facilities across Florida. There is also a large bioscience academic research sector. According to statistics from the National Science Foundation (NSF), millions of dollars each year go towards the following concentrations:

Health Sciences - $848.5 million
Biological and biomedical sciences - $412.5 million
Agricultural Sciences - $185.3 million
Bioengineering and biomedical engineering - $32.4 million
Natural resources and conservation - $29.8 million

As a result, the number of bioscience-related patents created between 2016-2019 has reached 5,459. 

Additionally, a report created by the University of Florida (UF) named South Florida as one of the four major regions that venture capital firms invested in. 

In 2014, 42% of funding went to South Florida companies; primarily, Xcovery and Sancillio. Other medical research and biotechnology companies making an impact include Zimmer Biomet, Medtronic, NeoGenomics Laboratories and Goodwin Biotechnology.

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