William Nowatzke is Director of the Ligand Binding Assay Laboratory at Worldwide Clinical Trials in Austin Texas.
One of the leading biotech states in the country, Texas, will serve as the venue for this year’s 2013 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition—the largest gathering of pharmaceutical scientists in the world! Housing more than 4,500 biotechnology manufacturing and research and development firms and employing more than 89,000 workers in biotech-related sectors, Texas is investing in pharmaceutical science in a major way. It is the combination of having a concentration of trained biotech workers, several top-tier research institutions, and a flourishing business climate that gives Texas its edge.
In 2011, it was reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that approximately 1 out of every 15 U.S. biotechnology establishments was in Texas. For example, dozens of global biotech companies, such as Novartis, Abbott, and Medtronic, have major operations in the state. Kimberly Clark and Celanese are among the largest biotech-related companies headquartered in the state, and in 2012 both were on the Fortune 1000 list.
Rick Perry, the state governor, recently set the bar high by launching an aggressive campaign offering major tax incentives to businesses relocating to the state. Additionally, the newly formed Texas Bio Corridor Alliance has been established to increase collaboration, attract bioscience business to Texas and improve biotechnology innovation. The biotechnology industry in Texas in 2009 was estimated to have a $75 billion economic impact, according to the Texas Healthcare & Bioscience Institute. They additionally reported that for every 1 biotechnology job created, another 2.3 jobs were created elsewhere in the Texas economy. As recently as 2010, Texas ranked second in the United States for the number of life and physical scientists employed and third nationally for employed science, engineering, and health doctorate holders.
As we all know, research and development (R&D) is the lifeblood of the biotechnology industry, and in Texas the R&D pipeline is supplied by the state’s vast network of public and private universities. These institutions and other health-related establishments invest heavily in R&D and intellectual property generation. In 2012 alone, Texas public institutions of higher education expended almost $2.6 billion on medical and life sciences research. This accounted for over 60% of all higher education R&D expenditures in the state. In fact, from 2009 to 2012, Texas public universities awarded over 50,600 biotechnology-related degrees. The Dell Medical School at the University of Texas in Austin, for example, is scheduled to accept its first class in 2016 and will include extensive research programs.
The low cost of living, no state income tax, mild climate, a thriving information technology hub, experienced science workforce, and a state-focused goal of being a biotechnology leader all suggest that biotechnology companies of all sizes will continue to be attracted to the Lone Star state.