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Signs of Life The Biotech Industry in D.C. Heike Mayer & Alan Fogg Assistant Professor Graduate Student Urban Affairs and Planning Master of Urban and Virginia Tech – Alexandria Center Regional Planning. Roadmap. Introduction to Biotech Industry

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signs of life the biotech industry in d c

Signs of LifeThe Biotech Industry in D.C.

Heike Mayer & Alan Fogg

Assistant Professor Graduate Student

Urban Affairs and Planning Master of Urban and Virginia Tech – Alexandria Center Regional Planning

  • Introduction to Biotech Industry
  • Key Findings- Nation (Brookings Study 2002)- Regional update
  • Key Lessons
why biotech
Why Biotech?

 The next Silicon Valley

 The battle for the Dot.Coms

 Next Big Thing: Biotech

  • 83% of local development agenciesplace bio among their top two priorities
  • 41 States have biotech programs

 Next next thing? Nanotech, Bio IT ?

definitions methods
Definitions & Methods
  • Biotechnology
    • Firms using genetic and cellular techniques
    • Biomedicine: diagnostic/therapeutic
    • Industry-developed definitions & data
  • Top 51 Metropolitan Areas
    • Census-defined CMSA/PMSA list
  • Triangulation of data sources:Research & Commercialization
industry segmentation

Very large, global firmsTop ten average $15 bio sales

Assets are products, distribution, manufacturing expertise

Very profitable

Industry Segmentation


Small, mostly single establishment firmsTop ten average $700 mio sales

Principal assets are people, research and future potential

Lose money

nine metros dominate
Nine Metros Dominate



New York


San Francisco

Why these nine?


Los Angeles

Research Triangle Park

San Diego

pillars of biotech development
NIH Grants


Venture Capital

R&D Partnerships

Startup Firms

Established Firms

Pillars of Biotech Development



leaders vs the pack
Leaders vs. the Pack

Average Levels of Activity

research dispersing
Research Dispersing

1980s 1990s

NIH $ 63% 59%

Patents 71% 68%

Top 9 Centers Share

commercialization concentrating
Commercialization Concentrating

1980s 1990s

Venture Capital* 81% 86%

R&D Alliances* 89% 96%

New Firms 61% 77%

*Base data from early to mid-1990s

Top 9 Centers Share

nih funding
NIH Funding

Research Grants, 2000 (Millions)


biotech related patents
Biotech Related Patents

Patents Awarded, 1990-1999


venture capital
Venture Capital

Investment, 1995-2001 (Millions)


r d alliances
R&D Alliances

Value of R&D Alliances, 1996-2001 (Millions)


biotech startups
Biotech Startups

New Biotech Firms Started Since 1990


established biotech companies
Established Biotech Companies

Firms with 100 or more employees


washington baltimore cluster
Washington/Baltimore Cluster
  • Research Assets
    • Johns Hopkins, NIH
  • Cadre of Biotech Firms
    • Human Genome Sciences, Celera, Med-Immune, Alpharma, Genvec, Neurologic, Macrogenics
    • Dozens of others in biotech & related fields
  • BIO: National Industry Association
washington baltimore cluster18
Washington/Baltimore Cluster
  • Clearly among the top 9
  • Very strong in research
    • High levels of NIH funding
    • High volume of patents
  • Not as strong in commercialization
    • $85 million in venture capital
    • $17 million in R&D alliances with big Pharma
    • Heavily concentrated in Rockville-Gaithersburg
nih grant awards
NIH Grant Awards

Millions of Dollars

nih grant awards virginia
NIH Grant Awards: Virginia

Major recipient communities

in Virginia:





Washington MSABaltimore MSA

Note: NAICS 54170 includes R&D in Social Sciences

number of firms
Number of Firms

Note: Includes NAICS 3254 and NAICS 54170 (includes R&D in Social Sciences)

vc investment dc metroplex
VC Investment: DC/Metroplex

Millions of Dollars




biotech initiatives maryland
Biotech initiatives – Maryland
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore, opens $300 million BioPark
  • East Baltimore Biotech Park ($200 mio project; will house 30 to 50 companies; urban redevelopment)
  • Baltimore Development Corp. opens two Emerging Technology Centers (one near JHU) for bio and IT companies
  • University of Maryland College Park and University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute launch educational and research initiatives in nano-biotechnology and molecular bioprocessing
  • Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) fund early-stage companies
  • Townsend Capital of Towson launches a company to develop science- and technology-related projects with universities and health care systems
biotech initiatives virginia
Biotech initiatives – Virginia

In Northern Virginia

  • $500 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute campus (Janelia Farm) to open in Loudoun County
  • Eli Lilly to open plant in Prince William County
  • George Mason University awarded $25 million grant (largest in school history) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for construction of a Regional Biocontainment Laboratory at its Prince William campus.
  • George Mason and Italian institute sign a three-year agreement to develop proteomics research program to unveil cancer diagnostics and therapies

And in Richmond:

  • Philip Morris USA to build $300 million research and development facility at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park in Richmond
lessons from this region
Lessons from this region
  • The share of biotech employment in the overall economy is very small (~1.5 %)
  • Biotech is heavily concentrated in MD
  • Maryland ahead in commercialization
  • Baltimore MSA may become a leader
  • Strong & pro-active economic development environment in MD
  • D.C. and VA portion of metro need to focus on gaining in research, but even more so in commercialization
  • Potential to link to other economic strengths (such as homeland security, IT, telco, etc.)??
general lessons
General lessons
  • Biotech tends to cluster (even sub-regionally)
  • Leaders have an edge (commercialization)
  • Entrepreneurship & VC are key- Entrepreneurial researchers- Industry-relevant talent- VC
  • “Bottom 42” -> hard to catch up
  • Modest payoff- No biotech firm among 25 largest employers- Averages about 3.5 % of manufacturing empl.- Most firms stay small
thank you
Thank You!

Questions, Comments, Suggestions…

Heike Mayer

Virginia Tech

Phone: 703.706.8122


Brookings Publication:

Cortright, J., & Mayer, H. (2002). Signs of life: The growth of biotechnology centers in the U.S. Washington DC: The Brookings Institution.