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Move Over California – Boston Is Now the World’s No.1 Biotech Hub

Posted on May 2018

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​​Biotech is booming in Boston. Massachusetts is now the number one biotech hub in the world, overtaking closest rival California. As a recent MassBio report[1] makes clear, biotech industry jobs have grown 28% in the last 10 years – and not by chance. The Boston metropolitan area, including Cambridge, Worcester and Waltham, has been doing all it can to attract the best talent, and venture funders have spoken with their wallets.

So what is the secret of Boston’s success, and should you consider becoming part of it?

The growth of biotech in Boston

BioPharma industry jobs have been growing steadily for more than a decade, with a 4.8% increase in 2016 alone. Massachusetts has more employees classified as Biotechnology and Research than any other state, with 34,366 workers in this category in 2016, an increase of 40% compared to 2007. In 2016, venture capitalists poured $2.9bn into Massachusetts biopharma companies.[2]

Although the biopharma manufacturing sector has lost more than 20,700 jobs since 2007 (6.5%), Boston has bucked this trend with 12.3% growth in the same period. The state’s largest employers in the sector are Sanofi Genzyme (5,000 employees in 2017), Shire (3,040), Biogen (2,443), Novartis (2,333) and Pfizer (2,200). For the sector’s 66,414 biopharma employees, the average annual wage is $138,768.[3]

In-demand skills in the sector

With five out of the top six National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded hospitals, Massachusetts has plenty of opportunity for groundbreaking research and treatment development. The area has the highest per-capita funding in the United States. The most in-demand skill sets are Regulatory Affairs and Clinical Operations, especially at project manager level.

Oncology is the most frequently researched therapeutic area in the state, with 34% of projects attributed to this area. The next most commonly researched areas are neurology (11%), infections (10%), immunology (6%) and sensory organs (5%).[4] For professionals looking to help develop technologies and treatments that have a real potential to make a difference to patients in the near term, this is the place to be.

It’s a candidate’s market in Boston

In Boston, there are more open roles than active candidates in the biotech sector, meaning that qualified candidates have a very high chance of being able to secure a promising position on attractive terms. While rival biotech centre San Francisco offers plenty of sunshine, Boston boasts a lower cost of living and a booming cultural scene.

In fact, Boston has recently been rated the third best place to seek employment in the US in a survey of 50 metropolitan areas compared for the number of job postings, employment market favorability, cost of living compared to salary, work-life balance, job security and opportunities for advancement.[5]

Boston is home to almost 1,000 biotech companies,[6] with the headquarters of pharma giants such as Biogen, Shire and Takeda sitting alongside a large number of promising smaller companies and startups. CNBC Disruptor 50 companies Moderna Therapeutics and Gingko Bioworks are also based in the region.[7]

This diverse range of companies means candidates can take their pick of working environment. The region’s ‘innovation hub’ status refers to the strength of R&D taking place in the area, with start-ups presenting some of the most exciting opportunities for R&D candidates.

Finding your feet in the nation’s innovation hub

Relocation to Boston offers a huge range of opportunity for skilled professionals, but it always takes time to settle into a new neighborhood. To make the process as smooth as possible, EPM Scientific will not only match the very best candidates with the most exciting firms – we also produce a series of relocation guides for both clients and candidates moving to the Boston area.

If you’re thinking of moving to Massachusetts, why not come and talk to us? We’d be happy to share our guides with you and talk about how we could help with your next move. Email to get started!











EPM Scientific is a leading specialist recruitment agency for the Life Sciences industry. We were founded in 2012 to give companies and candidates peace of mind that the recruitment process is in experts hands. Today, we provide contingency, retained search and project-based contract recruitment from our global hubs in London, Berlin, Switzerland, New York and Chicago.

We pride ourselves in keeping our professional network up-to-date with any changes that will shape the future of work or affect the hiring process. Visit our website to discover more invaluable insights, including exclusive research, salary guides and market trends.

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