BioForward Wisconsin: New report puts statewide biohealth industry economic impact at $28B

MADISON, Wis. (Oct. 2, 2020) – Today,BioForward Wisconsin, the collective voice of Wisconsin’s robust and comprehensive biohealth cluster representing more than 220 member organizations, shared results of the Wisconsin Biohealth: Industry Landscape and Economic Impact Report which highlights the statewide biohealth industry as a leading economic growth and innovation driver for Wisconsin.

According to the report, prepared by TEConomy Partners, LLC, a global leader in research, analysis and strategy for innovation-based economic development, Wisconsin’s biohealth industry is outperforming most major state industries in terms of job growth and wages. Among the highlights within the third-party report are:

  • Economic Impact: The total state economic impact contribution by the biohealth industry is $28.8 billion in direct, indirect, and induced sources, as well as $1 billion in state and local taxes.
  • Jobs: Wisconsin’s biohealth research organizations, manufacturers, digital health, and distribution companies directly employ more than 46,000 individuals, and has seen 8% job growth since 2015, outpacing the state’s overall job growth of 3%. This employment supports more than 72,000 additional jobs, leading to the full biohealth job impact reaching nearly 119,000 jobs throughout the State of Wisconsin.
  • Wages: The high-quality jobs generated across the biohealth industry pay more than $87,000 on average (79% above overall industry average in Wisconsin) reflecting the high value-adding activities and skilled workforce deployed across scientific research and development, manufacturing, sales, distribution, and other key roles.
  • Funding: Wisconsin-based institutions and organizations received almost $500 million in National Institutes of Health funding in 2019 (an increase of 22% since 2015). Additionally, venture capital and angel investments in Wisconsin’s biohealth industries totaled $517 million during the 2015-19 period, which was invested into 104 state companies. Also, Wisconsin biohealth companies received a combined 131 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards totaling $71 million between 2015-2019.
  • COVID-19 Response: The report specifically emphasizes the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic stating, “To meet the increasing demand for testing, treatment, and prevention of the novel coronavirus, several Wisconsin biohealth companies have pivoted their activity to focus on the virus. Whether increasing production of supplies to boost testing capacity within the state, developing vaccines and therapeutics to prevent and treat viral infection, or providing R&D or manufacturing support to other companies, Wisconsin’s biohealth industry has worked to provide key resources in the fight against this deadly pandemic.”

“More than just mere numbers in a report, this insight highlights the state’s vibrant and dynamic biohealth industry as a crucial impact to Wisconsin’s economic growth,” said BioForward Wisconsin CEO Lisa Johnson. “The billions in economic impact for our state combined with the thousands of high-paying jobs play a significant role in our state’s economy. As importantly, individuals and organizations in this industry are essential to the treatment of, and solution to, the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our research institutions and companies have been among the most successful in the country at discovering and commercializing innovation in medical technology for decades. There’s a reason for that: imagination and true partnerships,” Johnson continued. “Our efforts and success have been strengthening since 1987, but our constellation has really shone during the COVID-19 crisis.”

The report’s authors also noted that the state’s biohealth industry is “delivering innovative, life-saving and quality-of-life treatments to society and its role as a steady economic growth driver, generating high-quality jobs and sizable economic impacts for local communities, states and nations.”

The report was funded by BioForward Wisconsin and industry partners Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Madison Gas and Electric.