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Biotech now employs 58,000 in NC, new report shows

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A new study says the biotechnology industry employs 58,000 people in North Carolina, giving it the third-largest life sciences sector in the country.

The biennial report was released Wednesday by Battelle, the N.C. Biotechnology Center and the N.C. Biosciences Organization.

The industry generates $59 billion in economic activity across the state, and grew by 23.5 percent between 2001 and 2010, according to the report.

Jobs in the sector paid an average salary of $78,000 a year, or nearly twice the amount of private sector workers statewide.

"This report shows that North Carolina's commitment to the life sciences has proven to be a great way for us to create quality, high-paying jobs by playing to our strengths of academic excellence, superior workforce training, reasonable costs and unbeatable quality of life," Norris Tolson, NCBiotech's CEO, said in a statement.

Only California and Massachusetts have larger life sciences sectors than North Carolina, according to the Battelle report.

A new report by Jones Lang LaSalle has also ranked the Raleigh-Durham area as the fourth largest life sciences cluster in the country. The rankings are based on life sciences employment, number of companies in a cluster, and the amount of venture capital and National Institutes of Health funding that it receives.

The region ranked first in the percentage of life sciences establishments that have a presence in the Triangle.

The region ranked fourth in life sciences employment, 10th in venture capital funding and 6th in NIH funding.

The three life sciences clusters ranked ahead of the Triangle were Greater Boston, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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About the blogger

Business reporter David Bracken came to the N&O in 2004. He covers commercial and residential real estate. Contact David at 919-829-4548 or e-mail him.