As noted in a recent CBRE report, the U.S. life sciences industry is growing at the fastest pace since 2000. The 3.2% year-over-year growth rate in U.S. life sciences employment ending Q3 2018 is a strong acceleration from the slow,but temporary, growth in early 2017 and well-above the 1.7% increase in total U.S. nonfarm employment over the same period. Employment in the industry has grown 42% over the past 20 years. All sectors of life sciences (Manufacturing, Testing Labs, R&D) are growing, but R&D continues to outperform. The key subsector that is driving growth, even within the larger R&D sector, is research & development in biotechnology. This subsector grew at an annual pace of 6.2% in Q3 2018, far greater than other sectors of life sciences. Biotech R&D has grown 88% over the past 20 years.
An abundance of capital allocated to the life sciences industry is helping fuel strong growth. The $15.8 billion in annual life sciences venture capital funding through Q3 2018 was an 86% increase from the prior year. Though most of that funding was diverted to companies in Massachusetts and California, early indications show the share allocated to these states has waned over the past few years as investors seek greater opportunities elsewhere. Among segments of the life sciences industry attracting the most capital, about half of all funding is being allocated to biotechnology pursuits, clearly helping drive that subsector’s astonishing growth.