The US life sciences industry and the real estate that it occupies have ridden a wave of momentum into this year that has positioned various industry hubs—including Philadelphia—for continued growth, according to a new report from CBRE.
Numerous indicators point to robust expansion for the life sciences industry, including the 86 percent increase in venture-capital funding for US life sciences companies to $15.8 billion for the year ended in September from the previous year. Additionally, life sciences lab space under construction in the industry’s five largest US markets expanded by 101 percent last year to six million square feet.
That momentum has several markets rising in CBRE’s ranking of the top established and emerging life sciences hubs.
In Philadelphia, for example, funding surged in 2018 to its highest level since 2007, which will have a significant impact on local life sciences employment. Much of that momentum exists in Downtown Philadelphia, including the recently completed 3675 Market Street, which is anchored by the region’s first location of the Cambridge Innovation Center. Other success stories were expansions by Spark Therapeutics at Brandywine’s Schuylkill Yardsdevelopment and WuXi AppTec at the Navy Yard.
“Philadelphia is undoubtedly one of the nation’s key clusters fueling the life sciences revolution,” says Ian Anderson, CBRE Director of Research and Analysis and primary author of the report. “At the same time, the region has been lagging some of the exponential growth witnessed in hubs like Cambridge. Nonetheless, 2018 was a year of huge progress that should translate into accelerating future growth.”
CBRE’s report focuses on the human life-sciences industry, which encompasses manufacturing, testing and research-and-development work in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
CBRE analyzed and ranked the top established life sciences hubs by weighing four main criteria for each market: number of scientists in key industry categories, industry funding for local life sciences companies, size and long-term growth of their life sciences workforce, and their inventory of industry lab space.