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Report outlines growth, potential of state’s life science industry

Report outlines growth, potential of state’s life science industry
A  report on the Delaware life sciences industry outlines the sector’s growth and potential.

Produced by Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) and the Delaware BioScience Association (Delaware Bio), the study, “Life Sciences in Delaware: Momentum and Opportunity,” is the first comprehensive assessment of the breadth, depth, and potential of the Delaware life sciences landscape, a release stated.

The Prosperity Partnership is Delaware’s public-private economic development agency, with Delaware Bio representing companies and organizations in the biosciences sector.

The report defines life sciences as a broad category that includes agriscience products, medical equipment, and pharmaceuticals.


Companies mentioned included AstraZeneca, Incyte, Gore, Siemens, FMC, Prelude Therapeutics, and Agilent.

The report puts to rest the view that the sector never recovered from the cutbacks and the end of research efforts at AstraZeneca and DuPont selling off many of its businesses.

There has been concern over Delaware not taking greater advantage of its location on the edge of the suburban Philadelphia life sciences corridor, home to many start-ups and fast-growing companies.

The report took note  of the state’s “lack of megaphone of its own distinct major media market” and called on leaders throughout Delaware to “better define and tell the story of the state’s diverse and dynamic life sciences sector.”

The media landscape in Delaware is defined by the northern part of the state being part of the Philadelphia TV and, to some extent, radio market. In addition, the central and southern parts of the state have local TV stations that operate in an area where life sciences do not have as significant a presence.

Print media has continued to struggle with the state’s largest newspaper no longer have a business desk under a nationwide edict from News Journal owner Gannett.


  • The life sciences sector employs approximately 11,000 people and directly generates $2 billion in GDP (gross domestic product), accounting for 2.5% of total state employment and GDP) along with payrolls of at least $230 million.
  •  The number of life sciences operations in Delaware has grown significantly in the past decade — most notably in the biotechnology R&D subindustry with an increase of 65% — and Delaware now ranks seventh nationally for life sciences venture capital funding per capita.
  • Nearly 30% of all biochemists and biophysicists in the U.S. and one in six U.S. pharmaceutical employees work in Delaware’s region. The greater Philadelphia area ranks fourth in life sciences employment nationally, with Delaware employers drawing about one of five employees from across state lines.
  • Since 2000, Delaware’s research and development funding from the National Institutes of Health has more than doubled. The state is among the top three recipients per capita of funding from the NIH Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), based at the University of Delaware, recently opened a $156 million center for R&D and biopharmaceutical workforce training. In July, it received another $153 million in federal grants.
  • The number of degrees in the life sciences disciplines awarded by Delaware institutions has grown by 64% since 2010.
  • Recent developments –   These include the announcement of a several hundred-million-dollar-investment in a new pharmaceutical development and manufacturing facility in Middletown, hundreds of millions of dollars more in investment planned for a new science and innovation park at a former DuPont site, a $10 million program supporting the expansion of lab space and one of 2020’s most successful biotech initial stock offerings by a Delaware company.
  • The state is ideally situated to accelerate sector growth with sustained, strategic investment in workforce development, infrastructure and lab space, and improved university-industry engagement and access to capital.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has vividly demonstrated the enormous importance of the work biomedical researchers devote their lives to advancing,” said Delaware Bio President Michael Fleming. “With growth across every facet of our sector – from private businesses of every size to new degree and training programs and increased R&D investment and expanding manufacturing capacity – the Delaware bioscience sector has never been stronger, and this report provides a compelling roadmap for the life sciences’ role as a central driver of the state’s success while transforming the lives of the patients it serves.”

“We are seeing both strong organic sector growth as well as a substantial increase in external interest by life science companies considering Delaware for their home,” said Kurt Foreman, CEO. “The findings in this report make clear why the state has increasing momentum and appeal as an ideal location for life sciences companies to invest and grow.”

The complete report is available by clicking here or by accessing the downloadable report below