Medical Devices

Boston, San Diego, San Francisco (all the usual suspects) top “life sciences clusters” list

Usual suspectsAnchored by some of the most prolific universities for research (Harvard, MIT), some of the top National Institutes of Health-funded hospitals (Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) and industry giants like Boston Scientific Corp. and Genzyme, the Greater Boston Area is apparently the top spot for life sciences in the U.S.

No surprise here, but the Jones Lang LaSalle once again named Boston the top cluster for life sciences. The 2012 edition of the financial and professional services firm’s annual Life Sciences Cluster Report (PDF) ranked cities based on the percentage of their workforce employed in the life sciences, the percentages of their establishments devoted to life sciences and the venture capital and NIH funding their life sciences communities brought in.

The report is an interesting read, but the list itself isn’t terribly exciting; the cities in the top 10 remain unchanged from last year, a testament to their firmly rooted life sciences communities. Four other usual suspects — San Diego, San Francisco, Research Triangle Park and Philadelphia — rounded out the top five.

Big movers within the top 10 from last year included New York/New Jersey, which slipped from No. 2 on last year’s list to No. 7 on this year’s, and scored low in percentages of its businesses and residences that are life sciences establishments and employees. Roche, for one, closed a plant in New Jersey and Dendreon also sold a plant. On the other hand, lots of M&A buzz in San Diego (including Ardea’s sale to AstraZeneca and Amylin’s sale to Bristol-Myers Squibb) helped push it into the No. 2 slot.


Here’s the complete top 10 list for 2012:

  1. Boston
  2. San Diego
  3. San Francisco/Bay Area
  4. Raleigh-Durham
  5. Philadelphia
  6. Maryland/D.C./Arlington
  7. New Jersey/New York City
  8. L.A./Orange County
  9. Twin Cities
  10. Seattle

Most interesting about this report are the cities that landed just outside of the top 10 — the emerging clusters like Westchester/New Haven, Chicago and Seattle, where new incubators, research parks and initiatives are giving life to growing, innovative research and startup communities. Later today I’ll be highlighting some of the activity in these fast-growing startup cities.

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