Biotech spurs the economy in Texas

Wed, 10/19/2016 - 12:00pm

Austin is known for many things. “The Live Music Capital of the World”. A haven for the innovative and entrepreneurial-spirited technologists where start-ups thrive and venture capital flows. A place where Fortune 500 companies like Cisco, eBay, IBM, Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Texas Instruments, 3M and Whole Foods Market have proved successful in establishing their company headquarters or regional offices. Even technology powerhouses like Apple, Oracle and Amazon are seeking the “Silicon Hills” for our impressive labor pool and advanced high-tech atmosphere. Now there is a new addition to our thriving economy – bio technology. This may seem like a big jump for local Austinites who understand that Austin did not even have a medical school until recently. But, now there is $600+ million in construction being spent on the healthcare infrastructure, including the recent opening of the Dell Medical School in June 2016, a state of art medical school and teaching hospital. All of which sets the stage for local economy growth in the medical field.

According to Sarah Williams at StatNews, “The University of Texas at Austin already brings in around $60 million annually in grants from the National Institutes of Health. And this summer, it opened the doors to the new Dell Medical School, which promises to bring even more intellectual property, brain power, lab space, and grant money to Austin.”

In addition, there are more than 200 life sciences companies in the regions, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Life Sciences makes up a workforce of nearly 12,300 focused on the highest growth segments and research areas in the industry, including the specialties of biologics, medical devices, diagnostics, pharmaceutical, contract research, and others. More than 3,700 companies with 93,800 workers make the State of Texas one of the leading biotech states in the country. Here is a breakdown of Austin’s Life Science’s industry.

Austin’s Life Sciences Industry

  • Medical device/diagnostics (33%)
  • Biologics/biotech (12%)
  • Contract Research Organizations (17%)
  • Pharmaceuticals (16%)
  • Other (22%)

Currently, there are 190 companies with nearly 11,000 employees operating in the areas of biotech, diagnostics, medical device, CRO/IRB, pharma, biosecurity, and agribio, among others. In addition, there are more than 20 colleges and universities providing life sciences-related and healthcare education in the Austin region making “bench-to-bedside” real-life implementation possible, and seeding the talent pool that our new industry growth will need.

According to the Chamber, “Pharmaceutical and biotech companies currently comprise 29% of Austin’s life sciences cluster. The region’s world-class talent, tier-one educational institutions, and history of industry-academia collaboration make it a natural fit for innovative companies.”

One thing that I know for sure is that Austin lives and breathes on innovation. I look forward to watching this growth in medical sciences in our community, and know that our great city and talented population will exceed our expectations.

For more on the biotech growth in Austin, visit

SOURCE: Austin Chamber of Commerce @