Eight years ago, the brainchild of civic leaders in Indianapolis -- including then-Mayor Bart Peterson, who now leads Lilly's corporate affairs organization -- was to deliver BioCrossroads to Indiana's life sciences community. The life sciences potential was always there with organizations like Lilly, Purdue University, Indiana University, and Roche (among scores of others) driving discoveries and development.
What was lacking? Organization, visibility, and cash. Seems like all that, and more, has changed. BioCrossroads, born in 2002 and designed as a life sciences matchmaker of sorts -- seeking out venture capital funding and business partners for life sciences startups -- released new data today with multiple findings that support Indiana's emergence as a life sciences leader.
What does that mean? Better technologies, and better jobs. For today, let's focus on the latter. Among the findings:
-- More than 50,000 people work at 825 life sciences companies in Indiana.
-- Life sciences employees in Indiana, on average, make double the wage of other Indiana workers.
-- Indiana ranks 3rd in the nation in life sciences exports (behind only California and Texas).
-- From 2002 to 2009, Indiana added 8,400 new jobs - a growth rate of 21 percent.
"Indiana's life sciences sector is one of the nation's success stories," said Walter Plosila, Ph.D., a senior advisor with the Battelle Memorial Institute and author of the study. "I have followed the state's progress over the last eight years. Through the partnerships BioCrossroads and its members have built and their focus on existing strengths and emerging opportunities, Indiana offers a model for other cluster initiatives to follow. The state is well positioned to continue this growth and leadership."
Incidentally, the life sciences community has many tentacles. As reported in today's Indianapolis Star, Lilly has 1,300 vendors in Indiana, and in 2010 we spent more than $1 billion for their services. That means research and development partners, printers, scientific writers, law firms, and many others are de facto members of the life sciences. We need their support to succeed, and Lilly has become an important part of their businesses.
At a time when jobs are at a premium, public policies that support life sciences sectors like the biopharmaceutical industry seem more than prudent. Our CEO, John Lechleiter, will be making those points later today during a speech at 5th anniversary celebration of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. More to come today on @lillypad and tomorrow's blog.