Bioinnovation has been a key driver of US economic development, with notable examples of success in California's Bay Area and the Boston/Cambridge nexus in Massachusetts. Over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created through start-up companies and the large multinational anchor companies that attract ancillary support services, including venture capital. Today, many other jurisdictions—both in the United States and abroad—are seeking to replicate this productive ecosystem to support their own economic growth.
It is thus timely to ask: How have these regions become so successful in this space? What factors contribute to their dominant strategic position? What lessons can be applied to help other regions grow their bioinnovation assets? Noting the mutual benefits that pharma companies, academia and government obtain from these successful precedents, we identify the necessary foundations for a strong biotech ecosystem and explore a potential strategy blueprint using Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania as a case study.
While pharma and biotech firms must focus on shareholder return, there is often a paucity of internal assets to leverage this goal. So this, too, requires an effort to engage with other stakeholders through pre-competitive collaborations with AMCs that provide access to potential new pipeline assets. Finally, for governments, bioinnovation carries a multiplier effect by adding to the tax base and creating jobs through innovation-friendly urban infrastructure. The evidence shows that an interactive matrix supporting innovation has become mandatory for top-line growth in sectors vital to 21st century competitiveness.