Washington state’s life science industry is on the rebound, according to the annual Economic Impact Report released recently by Life Science Washington, an independent, nonprofit trade association that aims to spur life science industry’s economy, innovation, and job creation by uniting more than 500 innovators, investors, organizations, and research institutions.

“After several years of lackluster growth for the life science industry in Washington, we’re excited to have cultivated such strong progress across the state,” said Leslie Alexandre, president and CEO of Life Science Washington. “Building a life science company takes years, but we are now seeing many of our young, research-oriented companies thriving and expanding by adding manufacturing and commercial operations.”

Leslie Alexandre, President and CEO of Life Science Washington. (Photo Courtesy Life Science Washington)

The organization cited several reasons for the turnaround, such as a hiring upswing at companies that, after years of research, are now scaling up product development and adding early-stage manufacturing. A wave of rapidly growing start-ups, as well as the convergence of life science and computing, have also contributed to a stronger industry, according to Life Science Washington.

Here are highlights from the report:

  • 13 percent — Increase in life science employment in the state from 2014 to 2017. According to the report, this represents the strongest employment growth for the industry in a decade;
  • $22.7 billion — Total economic activity the life science industry contributed to Washington state’s economy in 2017;
  • $11.5 billion — Value-added activity the life science industry contributed to Washington state’s gross domestic product;
  • 1,144 — Current number of life science organizations in Washington state;
  • 110 — Current number of Washington state cities with life science organizations;
  • 35,914 —Number of individuals employed in life science jobs in 2017;
  • $11.5 billion — Number of life science industry transactions — such as Initial Public Offerings, mergers & acquisitions, and venture equity investments — in Washington state in 2018;
  • 2 percent — Increase in medical device industry employment in Washington state between 2015 and 2017;
  • 8 — Number of Eastside cities with 10 or more life science companies: Bellevue (78); Bothell (61); Issaquah (10); Kirkland (35); Mercer Island (14); Redmond (58); Renton (13); and Woodinville (13).

The complete report is available online here.