Report: Bio booming in Maryland
Government, company officials pitch state at international trade conference in Chicago
From 2006 to 2008, Maryland's bioscience industry added jobs far more quickly than the national average, according to a report released Monday.
The state's bio sector employed 32,383 people in 2008, some 27 percent more than in 2006, according to figures from the report by Battelle and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Nationally, bioscience employment increased by 10 percent in those two years to 1.4 million.
BIO opened its annual international conference Monday in Chicago. Numerous Maryland officials and company representatives are attending.
On Tuesday, Christian S. Johansson, secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development, along with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), H. Thomas Watkins, president and CEO of Rockville biotech Human Genome Sciences, and others plan to discuss in a news conference there the state's latest bioscience initiatives. Watkins is also chairman of the state's Life Sciences Advisory Board.
Among those endeavors is the newly approved Great Seneca Science Corridor Plan, which calls for 17.5 million square feet of life sciences-related development in Montgomery County's Shady Grove Life Sciences Center.
The average salary of a bioscience job rose in Maryland to $84,082 in 2008 from $73,879 in 2006. The national average salary in 2008 was $77,595. Bioscience jobs pay almost double the average private-sector position.
While the bio industry added jobs during the first year of the recession in 2008, bio-related venture capital investment in Maryland declined to $118.5 million in 2009 from $263.3 million in 2008 and $285.1 million in 2007, according to the Battelle report.
The recession has resulted in some public bioscience companies going bankrupt due to lack of capital, James C. Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO, said in a statement. BIO is based in Washington, D.C.
"But there is much good news," Greenwood said. "Biotech stocks outperformed virtually every other index in the first quarter of this year. The markets have come back, but biotech has come back faster and stronger."