Pennsylvania is a National Leader in the Life Sciences Industry

Pennsylvania is a national leader in the life science industry and home to a cohesive community that unites biotechnology, medical device and diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, research institutions and holds significant financial strength.

The new model of the life science industry and evolving landscape present opportunities to link scientists, entrepreneurs, funding, programs, and policy makers in creating solutions and policies that will grow and sustain the innovation infrastructure; launching new companies and creating jobs that have significant impact to human health globally.

Pennsylvania Life Sciences Industry Economic Impact Report

Key Findings

Life Sciences in Pennsylvania

Business Oriented: The number of establishments in Pennsylvania doing business in life sciences has increased significantly during the five years ending in 2020: There were 3,009 life sciences establishments in Pennsylvania during 2020, which represents an increase of nearly 17 percent from 2015. Pennsylvania’s life sciences industry is leading much of the rest of the U.S. in terms of research and development, as is evident through increased federal research grants, patent applications, new business formation, and entrepreneurship.

Significant Growth: Pennsylvania’s life sciences ecosystem has made a sizable contribution to the growth and resilience of the Commonwealth’s economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of establishments in Pennsylvania doing business in life sciences has increased significantly during the five years ending in 2020. Between 2015 and 2020, Pennsylvania experienced employment growth by more than 20 percent, which is a higher rate of growth than the U.S. average for the life sciences industry.

Research Excellence

Funding: In 2021, Pennsylvania received over $2 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which was one of the single largest sources of funds received by Pennsylvania’s researchers during the year, exceeding the totals for state and local government and institutional sources of funds.

Patented Contributions: Pennsylvania was a top contributor to innovation, boasting recipients of 20,564 patents from 2016 to 2020, among the top 5 states nationally.

Academic Contributions

Acclaimed Universities: Pennsylvania is home to two of the top-100 research universities globally in terms of life sciences and medicine research, according to the 2021 Shanghai Index. In addition, Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the U.S. in terms of statewide academic spending on research and development.

Producing the Next Generation of Experts: In 2020, institutions in the state awarded a total of 559 doctoral degrees in the life sciences discipline. Pennsylvania ranks as fourth in doctoral degree awards.

Over a five-year period—from 2016 to 2020—the number of degrees (i.e., Bachelor’s degree or higher) awarded in the life sciences discipline increased by 24 percent from 2.3 million degrees to 2.9 million degrees. When compared to identified peer states, Pennsylvania consistently produces the third-largest
number of degrees in the life sciences field.

Attracting Capital

A Need for Investment: Following the slowdown of total venture capital investment during the pandemic in 2020, the level of venture capital investment in Pennsylvania life sciences companies hit a multiyear high in 2021. In 2019, Pennsylvania had the third-highest venture capital funding out of all states, securing more than $1 billion in funding, only behind U.S. leaders California and Massachusetts. Venture capital funding decreased to $671 million in 2020, before rebounding strongly in 2021 with a total of $1.08 billion in funding.

Economic Contribution

Job Provider: The life sciences industry directly employed more than 100,000 in Pennsylvania during 2020. When considering the indirect and induced contributions of the industry, the industry is estimated to be responsible for supporting an additional 230,000 jobs.

Generating Output: The industry generated a total (direct and indirect) state economic output of $105.6 billion, comprised of a direct economic impact of $61.9 billion and indirect economic impact of $43.7 billion.

Commonwealth Support

Well Developed Support: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers several supportive incentive programs across various industries which are often utilized by companies in the Life Sciences industry.